Daily Scrums are Lean Communication Gold

Daily Scrums are worth their weight in gold for Program Managers.  There are so many people and managers out there that complain about daily scrums and that they take away from work time.  Those people and managers are so wrong.  Recently, I have been going over Scrum and agile operations to a very large organization’s implementation partner and I asked them:

Tell me where I can get a full status on what is happening on 4 projects in less than an hour?  I get to hear everything from every one on those teams.

daily scrum gold

daily scrum gold

Think about it:

  • In less than 15 minutes (more like 8 minutes) everyone on a project gets to hear what everyone else is doing and communicate any needs or blockers
  • In the balance of the time remaining, as a Scrum Master or manager I get to follow up and see what I can do to unblock my teams from items preventing them from being successful or high performing
  • Then in less than an hour I get to hear how everyone is doing on their projects and how each project is doing
  • Bonus.. unlike status meetings where people sit around listening to projects that have nothing to do with just so a program manager can get a status.  In this hour only the scrum master or program manager has to stand there and people move in and out.

What is more efficient 1 person standing in a room for an hour or 50 people standing in a room for an hour?

So what do you think is more lean?

People say it must be bad to have to come to the daily scrum everyday.  I say no I just relocate my office to the scrum area and get all kinds of feedback on how things are doing.  I love it!

Pointers for getting the most out of daily scrums as a scrum master or program manager:

  • Try to have them in the same area and set up camp
  • Use the same dial in number for all your scrums, so you can leave the phone on the entire time if you like
  • Hold them one after another, as it helps keep the teams focused because they know another group is coming in next
  • Hold them at the same time everyday, don’t move the time around as it just confuses everyone
  • As scrums tend to end before the 15 minutes, use that extra time to:
    • ask questions via messaging tool based on the information you just learned
    • review the next team’s information radiators (burndown chart, scrum boards, etc…)

Happy Scrumming,

Greg Mester

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