We have several Scrum teams across the different products in the company. One of the controversial topics (controversial among the Scrum Masters because there were no clear answers and the topic would become hot when discussed) across the Scrum Masters was about whether notes should be taken in the Daily Scrum meeting. There were a lot of points for and a lot of points against this concept, and here are some of them:
Why takes notes ?
– The biggest advantage was about recording what happened in the minute, not for recording for later verification of what team members said, but to ensure this gave another way in which progress could be monitored.
– When somebody was on leave, it was useful to have such daily notes so that these notes could be referred to the person who was on leave. Given that each team member could take 21 leaves per year, there were often such cases where people were on leave and needed to refer to such notes.
– Some of the impediments that are mentioned in the meeting can be complex, and need to be captured for the Scrum Master to be able to take action on resolving them after the Daily Scrum. Getting a list of such impediments also helps in tracking the list of such impediments over a period of time, data which can be mined by the Scrum Master and others to determine what kind of impediments are being reported by the team.
Why not takes ?
– The most common thought among the members of the Scrum team is that the Daily Scrum meeting is for them, and whoever needs to be in the meeting is already present, so why generate notes ?
– Taking notes is taking trouble-some for whoever is given the responsibility of taking notes, and doing that on a Daily basis is painful.
– The Scrum teams were worried about managers trying to get status reports from the Daily Scrum meeting, and hence would see this need for note-taking as an indirect way of getting to the status meeting concept.
– About people being absent, it was felt that with notes being taken, the impulse to be present in the meeting could be reduced, and Scrum team members would not make the effort to be there in the Daily meeting. In fact, this concern was expressed more by the Scrum team and not by the managers of the team, since they felt the maximum advantage of being there in a short Daily meeting where they learnt about the progress being made by other members of the team.
– There were also fears about the notes being used as a way of tracking whether people had done what they had committed to do, which was a big concern for many team members.
In summary, if one were to overall look at the sentiments of the scrum team, they were not in favor of notes being taken in the meeting. Even the managers of these teams (the organizational managers of the people who were part of the Scrum teams) were also not too much in favor of taking notes. But, some Scrum Masters saw a lot of value in taking notes, hence the unresolved discussion.