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Daily Scrum: Improving Outcomes and Tackling Problems Head-On

Optimize your daily Scrum sessions with Motion AI. Learn how to streamline communication, enhance task allocation, and boost project adaptability.

Motion Blog
at Motion
Sep 28, 2023
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While many companies are rambling through daily Scrums and claiming to be Agile, only a third of their workers say their leaders apply  Agile ways of working.

Applying the Agile methodology isn’t just about 15-minute daily meetings.

It’s about improving your organization’s overall agility. That way, you can respond to real-time market changes for sustainable, flexible growth.

To improve agility, you need to make your daily Scrums count. Teams should leave knowing exactly what to focus on and what they’re expected to deliver.

But that’s not limited to daily Scrums. All meetings should run on time and lead to productive outcomes.

Read on for your guide to daily Scrums, what they should look like, and how you can overcome inefficiency problems in all your meetings.

What’s a daily Scrum?

Daily Scrums are essential in the Agile project management methodology and Scrum framework.

Agile is a project management philosophy that focuses on flexibility, collaboration, and customer-centricity. Scrum is a specific way to implement the Agile philosophy. It has clear roles, activities, and tools that implement Agile.

Daily Scrums are one of these activities. They’re short, structured daily team meetings that are often referred to as “Scrum daily stand-ups.” The Scrum team stands in a circle and discusses what they're working on and what needs to be done to keep the project moving forward.

Daily Scrums aim to make everyone aware of what’s going on, problems that have arisen, and changes that need to occur.

This improves project visibility and team communication, increasing flexibility and facilitating better task management.

These meetings are time-boxed, typically lasting only 15 minutes, which ensures focus and efficiency.

What should a daily Scrum look like?

Your daily 15-minute Scrum meeting should be a brief event that includes the entire team. Team members give status updates and discuss project tasks for the day.

Daily scrum format and process guidelines

‎Who attends a daily Scrum?

Daily Scrum ceremonies should include everyone in the Scrum team, including the Scrum Master, developers, execution teams, and product owners. There’s no limit to who can be involved. Anyone with relevant insights can attend.

The Scrum Master leads the meeting. They invite people to give updates and make sure the meeting doesn't overrun.

What’s the format?

Teams usually stand up during daily Scrums, hence the name “daily stand-up meeting.” Each meeting should fit roughly into a 15-minute time slot structured around each person’s updates.

Each team member takes turns updating the team on yesterday’s progress, today’s plan, and any blockers they’re experiencing. Each person usually speaks for no more than two minutes.

What’s the goal of a daily Scrum?

Daily Scrums are designed to ensure everyone knows what’s going on and what needs to be done.

These meetings should highlight problems affecting the Sprint’s progress and any new actions toward the Sprint goal. A Sprint in Scrum is a one to four-week period during which a specific selected portion of the project’s deliverables is produced.

Signs of effective daily Scrums: the benefits you should be seeing

Daily Scrum meetings are essential for Scrum teams. This daily event serves as a platform for continuous collaboration towards common goals. Daily Scrums enable quick decision-making and facilitate smooth change management while identifying blockers.

If your daily Scrums are working effectively, they should look like this:

Better team synergy

Daily Scrums nurture unity so that everyone’s on board about how to reach Sprint goals.

You create a shared sense of purpose, responsibility, and accountability by uniting everyone toward common goals.

In productive daily Scrums, the Scrum Master fosters open, purposeful communication to bring the team together.

As a result, you’ll see higher productivity levels, smoother workflows, and quicker problem-solving. Plus, team members understand each other's roles better and feel less stressed by changes and revisions.

Swift issue resolving

Daily Scrums are a proactive way of identifying and resolving challenges that prevent you from meeting Sprint goals. In each 15-minute event, team members actively pinpoint issues. That way, the team can address issues quickly so that minor problems don’t snowball.

This preemptive approach reduces downtime and delays caused by unchecked issues. This keeps the project momentum going so team members don’t feel stuck.

Clear progress overview

Successful project management demands transparency. Daily Scrums are designed to provide a clear overview of project progress and task status.

Effective daily stand-ups include transparent updates on the overall project and individual status. That way, everyone is informed, and task dependencies can be altered to reflect scope changes.

Not only does this promote accountability and clarity, but it also aligns all team members with the project’s direction. This enables team members to coordinate better and allocate time and resources efficiently.

Adaptable operations

Adaptability is crucial for teams to keep up with changing priorities and goals. Daily Scrum meetings are ideal for facilitating continuous flexibility.

Daily Scrums should approach current issues with a solutions-centered focus to encourage adaptability. Team members must be forthcoming on how scope changes affect their workload, requesting assistance to adapt to new requirements.

By providing a regular space to discuss problems and changes, your team can respond quickly. This increases resilience to unforeseen issues and changes, leads to better project continuity, and helps teams stick to deadlines.

Flexible development

Agile methodology promotes flexibility toward evolving project requirements. As goals or needs change, teams can better accommodate developments to reflect these new requirements.

Teams should frequently reassess tasks and priorities to get the most value from daily Scrums.

By doing this, teams stay aligned with stakeholders’ needs and visions while delivering high-value outputs relevant to scope changes.

But what about your other meetings? 5 Common meeting issues and how to solve them

For development teams, Scrum daily meetings identify impediments to development and project blockers.

But what about alternative formats such as client meetings, inter-team interactions, and board meetings?

This section offers solutions to the five most common meeting issues, regardless of whether you're using an Agile development framework.

1. Constant conflicts? Try AI-powered scheduling

Persistent scheduling clashes can create chaos in a team's workflow. It can be challenging and time-consuming to manage individual availability. This is especially problematic when handling multiple team commitments and changing priorities.

This can manifest as team members missing essential meetings and working overtime to compensate. Lower meeting attendance can lead to critical team members missing relevant updates. In turn, you might see delays in task completion or incorrect work being carried out.

Take Mark, a QA tester. He missed an important blocker mentioned in a daily Scrum that he couldn’t attend due to a scheduling conflict with another project meeting.

Instead of managing schedules manually, try an intelligent scheduling tool like Motion.

An AI scheduling tool will automatically coordinate and prioritize meetings to suit all attendees. It’ll reshuffle tasks to accommodate urgent meetings while aligning task competition with priorities.

The result? Mark never misses a daily Scrum and has time for all his meetings. He no longer experiences schedule clashes and can be safe knowing that tasks will rearrange themselves if meetings do accidentally overrun.

2. Time zone issues? Coordinate remote teams automatically

Globally distributed teams often need better coordination across time zones. This makes it hard to run effective meetings with all relevant stakeholders present.

This can lead to non-attendance or staff members attending meetings out of hours. If key team members don’t attend meetings, they may miss critical insights and updates. Those attending meetings at inconvenient times may feel overworked.

Take Sara, a remote developer from Australia. Sara often misses the monthly stakeholder feedback call in the US, leading to delays in addressing her blockers.

To address this challenge, try using meeting booking software to accommodate time zones. This eradicates human error in time zone calculation and helps you select times that best suit all attendees.

For example, Motion’s Meeting Assistant allows attendees to request preferred availability. It also automatically detects time zones and coordinates accordingly.

That way, timings suit everyone, so there's less chance that participants miss important meetings.

Now, Sara no longer misses her monthly stakeholder feedback calls. All meetings are automatically scheduled to better fit her Australian time zones. This enables her to address any issues immediately, preventing project delays.

3. Meetings overrunning? Implement time management practices

If meetings constantly run over the allotted time, you’ll see impacts on overall efficiency. Meetings eat into task completion time or overlap with other scheduled events. This can result in a desperate panic to reschedule other commitments and delays in getting work done.

Imagine you’re a small design team of 10 people. Your weekly hour-long catch-up meetings constantly take twice as long as expected. Your team consistently loses more than 40 hours of task execution time over a month.

To prevent this issue, try some of these time management practices to keep your meetings brief and on task:

  • Nail down pre-meeting preparation: Establish expectations around meeting preparation. Set an agenda, update team members, and outline exactly what information they need to bring to focus on the key meeting topics.
  • Limit attendees: It can be tempting to bring in everyone with an opinion. While all insights can be valuable, lots of viewpoints can lead to long meetings. Instead, limit the number of participants and create a way for team members to pass their ideas along to attendees before the meeting.
  • Implement the “Parking Lot” method: Whenever a participant brings up something that’s off-topic, add it to your “parking lot.” This could be a shared document or whiteboard space where you record important points or ideas for later discussion.
  • Try an automatic note-taker: An automated transcription service can speed up note-taking. That way, you can capture all important points without meeting delays due to someone taking minutes.

Let’s reconsider the design team. By employing these solutions, they managed to keep their weekly catch-ups to an hour, restoring the 40 lost hours. Plus, by limiting attendees to the three most relevant members, the team gained 28 extra task execution hours.

4. Not solving problems? Focus on data-driven insights

Meetings should resolve issues swiftly and effectively. If you’re not finding solutions, you’ll experience delays, recurring issues, and a lack of clarity around the viability of potential fixes.

Picture Michelle, a marketer. She needs to create a brand presence across various platforms. Despite multiple meetings with the team, she still has no idea why there’s such low engagement.

Instead of relying on bias and opinion, utilize data-driven insights. Use analytics to highlight positive patterns, key opportunities, and potential bottlenecks. This will give you a clearer idea of viable solutions so you can focus your efforts on evidence-based ideas.

By analyzing social media analytics, Michelle can identify which campaigns have the highest level of engagement. That way, she can better understand the brand voice that appeals to the target audience.

5. Struggling with actionable follow-up? Automate task allocation

While your meetings might go swimmingly, important action items fall by the wayside if you don’t have efficient task follow-up.

You need transparent task allocation processes to ensure all tasks discussed in the meeting are distributed quickly and correctly. Otherwise, team members won’t be clear on their work, you’ll experience delays, and important tasks will be missed.

Take James, a software developer. Following a client meeting, James had to wait two days for his manager to assign him the correct tasks. This led to significant delays in development.

You can solve this issue by automating task management.

‎Tools like Motion use AI to optimize task distribution based on predetermined criteria, such as workload, availability, and priority. That way, tasks can be created during the meeting and allocated to the right person immediately and automatically.

Back to James. Since his manager implemented Motion, James knows exactly what to do after each meeting so that he can get straight to work without hesitation.

Amplify all your meetings with Motion

While daily Scrums are neat, time-slotted solutions, not all meetings are the same.

If your meetings are chaotic, unnecessarily long, and unproductive, it can feel like you're constantly throwing the basketball against the backboard.

Slam dunk all your meetings with Motion.

Picture it: a prioritized agenda, flexible AI project management, and automated scheduling improvements. You won’t even need 15 minutes to get your team in order.

Try Motion for free now and propel yourself into the big leagues.

Motion Blog
Written by Motion Blog