Daily Scrum Meeting Mistakes to Avoid

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Apr 14, 2022
Updated on
Mar 16, 2023
Table of Content

Daily scrum meetings are an excellent way to track a project process. These meetings promote collaboration and accountability among the team members. But, daily scrum meetings can be a waste of time - unproductive meetings altogether waste about $37 billion every year. In this article, we are going to discuss the common scrum meeting mistakes to avoid - regarding both the planning and facilitation of daily scrum meetings. Read on to know how to avoid these mistakes and reap the benefits of daily standup meetings.

Daily Scrum Meeting mistakes to avoid

There are 3 common pitfalls that will make a teams daily scrum meeting ineffective and a waste of time:

1) Including problem-solving in daily scrum meetings

Sure, it sounds like it might be helpful to start addressing issues at the daily scrum, but the project manager should ensure that daily scrum meetings don’t get off track. Standups promote transparency and accountability within the team– they are not the place to problem solve or point fingers. 

Discussing each member’s obstacles during the daily standup meeting makes it lengthy. Therefore, project managers must cut out any irrelevant discussions going on during the daily standups.

Note that you only have a limited amount of time for the daily scrum. Therefore, write down these issues and plan another meeting if need be. Limit each member to only answering the three questions we mentioned earlier. As the project manager, or scrum master, you must ensure that team members do not wander off the agenda, while simultaneously ensuring that everyone gets to speak at the daily standup.

2) Skipping daily scrums

Attending the daily scrum should be mandatory for everyone. You should not reschedule or skip daily scrums no matter how busy your schedule is. Skipping these meetings could derail project delivery as well as quality.

You shouldn’t be missing these meetings, and you shouldn’t be allowing any of your team members to miss the daily scrum either. When working with remote teams, arrange video conferencing so they can also attend.

Make it easy for your team to remember and attend daily scrum meetings by staying consistent. For instance, hold the meetings at the same time, preferably in the morning. In addition, refrain from switching the venue of the daily scrums. This way, your team finds it easy to remember and attend the daily scrum.

3) Lack of a solid daily scrum agenda

It is important to establish a daily standup agenda. You only have a few minutes to ensure that all of your team members have given updates on their progress, and know what they’re working on for the day. A solid agenda eliminates the chances of irrelevant discussions at the meeting.

An effective daily scrum focuses on the three questions; what did you do yesterday? What are you working on today? What are some of the impediments blocking your progress?

While you want to ensure you mention any impediments to progress, refrain from discussing these blockers at the meeting. The Daily scrum is not a discussion meeting, but rather a progress update meeting. You can always follow up on the blockers later on with the individual team members. Lack of a solid daily scrum agenda risks misalignment at the meeting.

The above are just a few of the major daily scrum mistakes you want to avoid. You’re also going to want to keep an eye on team members who are too embarrassed or shy to raise blockers. 

You should also note the recurring obstacles delaying your project delivery. As the project manager, you should offer to help your team to get around these obstacles.

If need be, you can always plan a discussion meeting to address these issues as a team. One more tip– avoid micromanaging your team, which could suffocate them. Instead, allow your team to work independently and track the progress towards completion.

Why are Daily Scrum Important?

Daily scrum meetings enhance collaboration between team members for speedy project delivery. These are some of the benefits of running daily scrums:

  • They are an excellent way to measure project progress.
  • Instill self-discipline and motivation in team members.
  • Allows transparency, and hold employees accountable.
  • Project managers can identify recurring obstacles and find a way to end them.
  • Daily scrums cut the need for the weekly lengthy discussion meetings.
  • Re-evaluate project priorities. This is critical given the changing nature of the agile environment.

Daily scrums are an effective way to check the progress and identify arising issues. Do not let the above 3 daily scrum mistakes come in the way of your sprint's completion! Another way to increase the effectiveness of your daily scrum meeting is to plan for the meeting. The planning meeting takes place before the team has started work and aligns the team about using scrum. The team maps out what the scrum process will look like and how the team will act. So let's discuss what to avoid during Scrum planning meetings.

Scrum Planning Meetings mistakes to avoid

What Are Scrum Planning Meetings?

Scrum planning meetings are incredibly focused and intended to be as effective as possible without extraneous conversations or tangents. Every session will have a clear goal that the members need to achieve — such as assessing the previous sprint or structuring the next one.

All in all, an Scrum planning meeting has two particular features that distinguish it from a regular meeting:

  • They are fixated on delivering value
  • They are stringently time-boxed

3 Most Common Mistakes In Scrum Planning Meetings

Scrum planning meetings aim to help teams minimize waste and maximize their efficiency to provide value to the customers. This customer-centric approach allows teams to make informed choices during the development process — decisions that consistently and continually bring value to the stakeholders.

Still, even if you are a participant of a seasoned scrum team, there are pitfalls to overcome and procedures to fine-tune. Also, there are several mistakes to avoid in a sprint planning meeting to ensure successful projects.

Here are some unproductive Scrum planning meeting mistakes that teams make:

1) Not On The Same Page As Stakeholders

Do you involve stakeholders in the decision-making process? Well, you should, as it allows you to clarify your customers' wants and needs, helping you determine the best course of action.

Assuming that you are on the same page as your stakeholders is a common mistake in a scrum planning meeting. This is because your stakeholders might not have a similar experience with the agile approach, agile tools, or the planning methods your team leverages.

Also, committing to unrealistic goals can hinder the process as the planning phase can be entirely different from what it looks like in the initial stages.

It is essential to involve all your stakeholders in the planning process to get the desired outcomes and ensure timely deliverables that live up to your stakeholders' expectations. Also, ensure that everyone understands that expectations can evolve during the process depending on the new information gathered from customer responses, failures, and successes.

2) Using Flat And Bland Product Maps

A flat product backlog is boring and bland. It lacks the functionality and detail required to comprehend the complete story of the product backlog.

Additionally, when you have several items/tasks at hand, things become complex and overwhelming to structure in a meaningful way. As a result, it all becomes less clear as to what items are the most critical and more challenging to make sure that your decisions align with the ultimate goal of the specific project.

This can impact the efficiency and outcomes of your project, as planning out the roadmap without context will affect your ability to gauge the customer journey with clarity.

So make sure you use user stories to plan and structure the backlog from the end customer's standpoint.

3) Not Allowing The Plan To Breathe, Live, And Adapt

Preventing your plan from breathing, living, and adapting accordingly is another common Scrum planning meeting mistake that can affect results.

Agile practices are iterative, which means that your Scrum planning should leave room for modifications. Your plan needs to grow and adjust as you advance with each product roadmap or sprint.

You may lack the necessary information to get the complete picture at the start of a sprint. Spending days or hours trying to sort out the ideal plan wastes your time that your team could have better spent solving problems and learning other things.

You might need to adjust your plan after roadblocks come up in a regular stand-up or perhaps learn about customer concerns that entirely demand you to change your direction and path. Iterations are inevitable, so a rigid process will not allow you to plan effectively.

Flexibility in the plan will help you keep up with the incoming information, and Scrum planning is not promised. Instead, it is a sketch that lets you achieve your objective and vary your circumstances and goals.

Additional Mistakes In Daily Scrum Planning 

Here are some other common daily scrum mistakes that companies make:

  • Substandard communication networks. In an Scrum planning meeting, leveraging substandard channels of communication is one of the critical reasons why blunders happen, i.e., when team members aren't collaborating frequently
  • Not incorporating customer response. As customers are the central point of any project, failure to incorporate their feedback can lead to you missing out on necessary functionalities and features of the product that your customers need
  • Adopting cutting-edge tools and techniques. While change is inevitable in this competitive landscape, if you fail to integrate the latest project management techniques and tools, then you may be left far behind your competitors 

Why Are Scrum Planning Meetings Important?

Scrum planning meetings provide an excellent opportunity for team-wide collaboration and establish the responsibility of each team member for the next sprint. However, it is challenging to identify what each member is working on from a personal standpoint. And, more importantly, why.

Here are some other reasons why embracing scrum planning meetings is crucial:

  • Task prioritization
  • A better understanding of the product
  • Skillset improvement
  • Provides a reference point to measure velocity

Scrum planning meetings are becoming popular worldwide as they can be pretty advantageous. However, it is challenging to bag more business-critical projects if you do not adopt the agile framework properly. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the scrum planning meeting manifesto principles and best practices to avoid common mistakes in the process. While it is difficult to anticipate the future, poor planning can result in low success rates, so ensure you keep these points in mind!

Wrapping Up

Scrum is vital to the success of any agile team. You should look to manage that success by ensuring that your scrum process is as finely-tuned as possible and <a href="https://www.toptal.com/project-managers/scrum-master/common-scrum-master-mistakes" rel="nofollow">clear of mistakes</a>. This includes planning for your scrum meeting thoroughly as well as facilitating the meeting in a way that will be effective for the team. The team will only be as good as the work you put into the scrum process, so invest in the whole process and it will pay dividend!

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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