The notebook

Conducting dailes day after day might become routine & non-effective. And when it comes to online dailies, well, there will be some additional challenges for a young Scrum jedi :)

In the first part of this article (available here) we talked about general issues you might face conducting daily scrums with your team. And in this piece I would like to focus on online challenges for your dailes and ways to overcome them.

Theory intro

For those who are new to Scrum, here is a very short theory intro.

Daily Scrum is a part of the Scrum framework.
Its purposes are:

  • to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal;
  • adapt the Sprint backlog accordingly considering the current progress and the time left.

The whole Scrum team gathers on a daily basis to check how we are approaching the Sprint goal: what is going as planned, what we have left to do and whether there are any obstacles. The Sprint goal is the most important metric for this meeting, so it is to be voiced every time and action points are to be worked out according to the Sprint goal.

Doing Daily Scrum online you might try out these 2 common techniques:

  • Round Robin — each team member one by one shares the progress and plans for today. (The spinning wheel works really great here, turning the choice of the next speaker into a fun game).
  • Walking the Board — a great advantage of conducting dailies online, you might share the screen and discuss the tickets on the board (starting from the right ones that are closest to delivery and moving to the left).

Choose the one that works best for your team or mix them up to diversify your dailies.

Challenges conducting Daily Scrum online

We will look into the following tricky points:

  • No video on calls;
  • Some team members stay silent;
  • Facilitator is talking too much;
  • Forgetting/being late to the call;
  • Routine, lack of engagement & team spirit.

No video on calls

I guess, a lot of teams face the problem of not facing each other :)

How to deal with it?

  • First of all, show by your own example how important and engaging it is to see each other's faces during online stand-ups.
  • Notify everyone in advance that video is expected until it becomes a habit for your team.
  • As a midterm decision, think about announcing specific days for dailies with videos -> thus it would be easier for everyone to accept video on calls.

Some team members stay silent

This is a very important issue. On your dailies you as a facilitator need to create opportunities for voluntary engagement of all team members, not just those who like talking and sharing.
Meaning that team members need to understand why it is interesting and important for them to participate.

How to achieve this?

  • Provide team members with opportunities to contribute to make sure that everyone has a chance to speak (and speaks);
  • Share tasks with your team members: e.g., taking notes, moving cards on the board thus engaging them in the process which could be step 1 for sharing.

Facilitator is talking too much

What should we do? :)
The answer is quite simple — as a facilitator try not talking at all (if you cease to glue the conversation in most cases the team members will do that by themselves);
Another interesting idea would be to share a facilitator responsibility with teammates (choose a new one to lead the Daily Scrum every week) -> thus making it more usual for other team members to talk and contribute to the meeting.

Forgetting/being late to the call

And my personal favourite: «I cannot find a link to Zoom call».

How to deal with it?

  • Insure you have incentives and deterrents for beginning the daily standup on time, some examples are:
    • Pushups online for the latest coming;
    • The latest coming provides a compliment to the first one coming and others.

Routine, lack of engagement & team spirit

A real issue of most online meetings, including of course, Daily Scrum.

How to deal with it?

Use different techniques:

  • Change questions (replace standar “What have you done yesterday?” and “What do you plan on doing today?” with new ones, some examples are in the first part of the article here);
  • Add a short 4th question to turn team members on, e.g. what did you have for breakfast today?
  • Create your own daily standup tradition (start or finish with a joke, for example)
  • Add some dynamics to your Standup questions, instead of “What did you do yesterday?” -> “What did you do to change the world yesterday?”

Speaking of different techniques and ideas to cheer up the daily -> spinning wheel to announce the next speaker might be of great use to add a gaming point to the event.

The Spinning wheel
Daily Scrum conducted with the Timbo retrospective tool.

Well, I hope those points and ideas would be useful for you and your team! Have a great sprint!

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