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Scrum: No distractions during the Daily Scrum meeting – you know what I am talking about ..

Most of us consider ourselves fully capable of doing multi-tasking, especially when it comes to meetings. When it comes to a meeting, a number of people see the meeting as a time where they can pay some attention, as well as get other stuff done. Doing email is one of the most common items that is done in a meeting. Now if this was a meeting where you are called just as a contributor and not really as a key stakeholder of the meeting, then this might be true to some extent, but even then, people working on their laptops or on their phones during a meeting can irritate other people and lead to the impression that they do not consider the meeting important enough. Some meetings have a standing rule that the folks in the meeting are to remain focused on the meeting and not use gadgets such as their laptop or phones unless it is an emergency.
This gets even more important when you consider the case of the Daily Scrum meeting. The Daily Scrum meeting is the meeting set for a specific point in the day, typically earlier in the day where the team provide an update of what work they have completed, and what work is pending to be completed. This update is what tells other members of the team about the status of tasks, including tasks on which they have a dependency (for example, a developer may be making changes to a database table that another developer needs to send data to, and the second task has a dependency on the first one). The Daily Scrum meeting is expected to be a quick meeting, lasting around 15 minutes or less, with many teams making this meeting in a location without chairs so that everybody gets their updates done quickly.
In such a scenario, if you see a team member not paying full attention and spending time on a gadget (using a laptop would be less likely, but checking emails or replying to an email on the smartphone is something that can be done easily), it can quickly start problems within the meeting. For one, given the dependencies that exist in many tasks, the person may not pick up the update quickly enough or may want the update to be repeated. Just this fact about the update can be irritating to other team members, or can inspire other team members to also start doing the same thing. But how do you stop something like this from happening ?
What you need to do is to get the team to set the ground rules for this rather than having the Scrum Master trying to set the rules for this one. In most cases, you will find that there will be a consensus developing among the team to ensure that the Daily Scrum meeting happens quickly with no interruptions, and it is rare to find a team that will say that it does not matter whether people can use their gadgets during a meeting or not.

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