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What are some of the problems faced during Scrum implementation – effective use of the daily Scrum meeting ? – Part 1

One of the most integral part of going in for a Scrum approach is about having a Daily Scrum meeting, where the team members discuss, very briefly, what they have done since the last meeting, what they are planning for the day, and are there any impediments to their work. Done effectively, and with a team that is convinced about the idea of a Daily Scrum, it can be an effective way of ensuring that the team feels totally responsible, and can handle the work throughout the cycle.
However, not everything is as hunky-dory as it sounds, and there can be many problems during this process of a daily Scrum. Here are some of the problems:
– The ScrumMaster (or other senior members) can approach the Daily Scrum as a status meeting, and quickly get the status from everybody instead of them doing this quick explanation to the group as a group activity, and this is very different from what the Daily Scrum is all about. It is not a classical status meeting, instead a means for the group to self-organize.
– Senior members of the team (read this to mean the prima donnas and senior developers / testers) find it hard to see the effectiveness of attending a 15 minute meeting and listening to stuff that is not relevant to them. You would consider it difficult to comprehent that senior members do not feel a sense of ownership, but many of them can be very hard to convince about the benefits and can be very insular in their thinking
– The ScrumMaster can start to feel responsible for running the meeting, and this can quickly become a status meeting; one way to avoid is to pass the ScrumMaster hat among people in rotation, but even here, many of the team members feel that it is not their responsibility
– In the traditional Waterfall and other methods, the role of Development / Testing Leads was much more significant, and it is hard to them to really understand the concept of a team that steps up with a higher sense of ownership. Any issue, any problem or tension is enough to get them to start getting involved in the Daily Scrum in a question-answer mode
– One of the bigger problems that I have seen is where developers follow a model where they can work intensely for a couple of days, and then cool down some. This is something that they find very uncomfortable to adapt to in the Scrum model, since they are loath to go before a group on one of the cool days and report very little activity. This feeling can only go away after some time has passed and they are in the Daily Scrum on an ongoing basis
– Getting team members to step up and take ownership can be real difficult. People are conditioned to want to defend themselves at the slightest hint that there is an issue, and part of defending themselves is by blaming somebody else. This can quickly turn a Daily Scrum meeting ugly, and also lower the feeling of ownership.

More points in the next post.

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