Transitioning to the Daily Scrum

I am curious what techniques others have used to help their team transition to the Daily Scrum format, as opposed to just going through a normal status meeting (or worse, the scrum master having to prompt each team member to speak up).

Thankfully, our team has transitioned pretty well.  While we are not following Daily Scrum’s to the letter (i.e. we don’t always stand up; always go in the correct order; or require team members to stick money in the pot if they are a few seconds late), we do keep our discussions short (most cases shorter than 10 or 15 minutes.

Early on in the Scrum transition, one of the team members brought in a soft stress ball to the Daily Scrum.  They ended up volunteering to go first and then tossed the ball to somebody else (who inadvertently all eyes were on so they went next).  Since one of those first meetings, that is what the team has done.  They don’t go in order, or sit in the same place, but when they get the ball, they quickly go over the important information:

  • What did I do yesterday
  • What do I plan on doing today
  • What is getting in the way of me getting my work done (Impediments)

Sometimes the team will go into more discussion right then and there when they think it is warranted, but they will keep it short (if it requires more time, they will parking lot the discussion and continue with it after the meeting concludes).  This is the format the team prefers, and it seems to be working really well – so no reason to change it.

One other transitional issue we had early on, was that most team members would look directly at and provide an update only to me (Scrum Master), rather than addressing the entire team.  First Tip:  I listened and gazed around the room, but avoided long-term eye contact with the person speaking.  They tended to start looking at others for eye contact, which is what I wanted.  Second Tip:  Due to other meetings and conflicts, on some days I was unable to make the Daily Scrum (but I was lucky enough to have another trained Scrum Master on the team to help run things).  I think my “not going” helped the team figure out how to update themselves and not worry about just updating me.  I would then always follow up with a few team members to see if anything critical or Impediments were discussed that I needed to be aware of.  Obviously, I still try to make every Daily Scrum that I can – but if I cannot, I feel it is critical that they still meet and talk to each other (as I am just there to facilitate and provide guidance when needed).

I am curious what other Scrum Masters do to encourage their teams to transition to a Daily Scrum rather than a status meeting?

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