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How to handle the external stakeholders when they get involved in the Daily Scrum meetings and start taking it over

In the previous couple of posts (Role of Chickens in Scrum, Definition of external stakeholders), we talked about what the external stakeholders are, their responsibilities, and their stakes in the entire product development process. However, it is also true that the Scrum process does get affected when the external stakeholders (especially more senior people) get involved with the Scrum process on a regular process, to the extent that they start interfering with the Daily Scrum meeting (the principal execution and tracking mechanism of the Scrum process). This may be with the best of intentions (from their side), seeking to provide some morale support / pep talk to a group that is not delivering on features, or is stuck with dependencies, or other such problems. However, interfering with the Daily Scrum meeting is not the right way to go, and only serves to adversely affect the morale of the team, and reduce their belief in themselves as a empowered team that can (with the help of the ScrumMaster) work out what the problems are that are affecting the team, and resolve them.
It is not so easy to stop a talking chicken from talking during the Daily Scrum, given that many of them are going to be influential stakeholders with a strong advice, and senior. Being blunt may not be the correct way of going ahead and preventing them from talking, instead other ways need to be used so that they get the message loud and clear, and yet understandable. Here are some of the methods that can be used to ensure that this interference comes to an end:
– Condition the external stakeholders through training (thus ensuring that the training is not restricted to only the Scrum team) to understand the concepts of Scrum training
– Ensure that the chickens understand all the rules during the start of the project, and that you will strictly enforce the rules during the course of the project (even if that means explaining to the chickens that they are not allowed to speak during the Daily Scrum)
– Ensure that the chickens get a different forum to explain and discuss their grievances or concerns, and that they are able to see progress made (even if that progress means the Product Owner explaining that the Product Owner is fine with the rate of progress)
– Make sure that the Scrum team and some of the external stakeholders (such as the senior managers) get a chance to interact during the start of the project and come to a common agreement about the rules to be followed, which would also give the chickens a forum to get status and convey concerns
– Make sure that you follow the rules consistently and prevent the chickens (external stakeholders) from having any kind of influence during the course of the Scrum meeting
– If you feel that the rule is being violated a lot, and you have the authority, then remove those chickens from the meeting and ensure that they do not get a chance to attend the meeting again
– Take action immediately, when you see people start to interfering, else it will increase a lot

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