Scrum Meeting Questions

28 April 2009 by Stuart Cam

Part of the attraction of using the Scrum framework for developing software is its ability to generate rapid feedback (not all news is good, but we won't go there today!).

On a recent project we held daily stand-up meetings every morning at 9:15am where each member of the team would answer the following questions:

1. What have you done since yesterday?
First of all the Product Owner needs to have defined what done really means. For this project it meant coded, unit tested, peer reviewed and integrated into the main development line without breaking the build. It is of course possible to extend coverage way beyond writing code and incorporate such things as documentation and regression testing. Adding items into the definition of done will have a negative impact on the team's velocity, which for a disruptive product with first-to-market desires was of paramount importance. Ken Schwaber and Scott Hanselman talk about done in this podcast. Ken also deliberates on the subject of done in his Google Tech Talk Video.

2. What are you planning to do by today?
This is a firm commitment to the team about your intentions for the day. In our team we knew exactly who was working on what and when they'd anticipate finishing. This was extremely useful for coordinating work and avoiding lengthy sessions with our source control system trying to merge files because two people made parallel modifications to shared resources.

3. Do you have any problems preventing you from accomplishing your goal?
Sometimes the problems are technical, at which point another team member often indicates willingness to help. The important thing to note is that all sideline discussions must take place after the stand-up. I've seen several meetings disintegrate into design discussions because the Scrum Master didn't enforce enough control over the conversation. More often than not the problems are non-technical in nature; waiting on external parties, interrupted work streams, unforeseen events and a whole bunch of other stuff just makes things difficult! This is a cue for the Scrum Master to take note and remove said obstacles!

Although strictly not part of the 'official' stand-up meeting questions we also felt it useful to add:

4. Do you want to share anything useful with the team?
A short (1-2 minutes) opportunity for the developer to talk about some insight they may have gained or some exciting code they have written. These were often rather animated mini-presentations which gave the developer an opportunity to vent some ego and share valuable knowledge with other developers. They had an overall positive effect on the mood of the whole team which lasted throughout the day. Just be careful not to start design discussions during the meeting with this one!

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Categories: Agile | Scrum | Management

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