Scrum Rules: As a Team Member I Attend the Daily Scrum Meetings In-Person

August 3, 2020
4 minute read

The Daily Scrum meeting supports the Scrum value of Openness and the principle of self-organizing teams. This rule of Scrum also aligns with the Agile Manifesto principle “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.”

In-person attendance of all Scrum Team members allows for the fullest level of openness among Team Members. If even one team member attempts to attend this meeting by any other means, either by phone or even video conferencing, efficiency and effectiveness of the openness and self-organization becomes compromised. Compromised self-organization yields compromised collective ownership. The successful delivery of the Sprint Goal requires full commitment on the part of the whole team. Lack of in-person participation increases the likelihood that the team will fail to deliver on its Goal because the openness and self-organization will lack effectiveness.

Getting to the Daily Scrum in-person requires that the team members be located close to each other geographically. If they are not, or if even one team member is not, then funds will need to be allocated to bringing team members into a closer geographic region. Although this may sound expensive, the cost is small compared to the overall benefits of having team members working closely together.

If team members are already geographically close, but still not attending meetings in-person, it may simply be a matter of not having an appropriate meeting space. The ideal situation is for the team to have its own dedicated team room. However, even a good conference room can serve the purpose. Depending on the organization, this may be harder or easier to obtain. If no space is available, then again budget becomes a factor… and again the cost is small compared to the benefit.

Even if the team members are close geographically and there is an available space, the team members may not be attending in-person because they are not placing a high enough value on the meeting. Clearly explaining that attendance is mandatory is a start, but explaining the negative consequences of not attending can make a big difference. Some individual team members may have personal reasons for not attending in-person. These can be a bit harder to overcome, but again, the Scrum Master should work with the individuals to find ways to help them with their attendance.

With the Daily Scrum being a very short meeting, some team members may be missing the meeting simply by being late. This can often be solved by simply changing the time of day for the meeting so that it is easier to get to. Additionally, it may be worthwhile to block off 45 minutes for the meeting with the intention that 15 minutes on either side are simply for ensuring on-time participation.

Finally, some in-person attendance is far better than none. It may be hard to solve the underlying problems preventing in-person attendance in a short time so finding temporary and occasional solutions is still worth while. For example, rotating childcare support among team members can work from time-to-time.

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Bruce Power
Capital One
Equitable Life of Canada
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