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Scrum: Using the Daily Scrum meeting to start the day

Yet another topic on which there are multiple opinions, including in many of my colleagues who were either the Scrum Masters of teams, or who had team members who were working as a part of the Scrum team, and they themselves were adjusting to the new environment ! There are 2 schools of thought that related to whether the team should have the Daily Scrum meeting as the first thing in the day, and there are advantages and disadvantages in both.
Consider the case of a team that is in the same geographic location, which also includes the Product Owner. There is the common perception that when you have a meeting such as the Daily Scrum where people talk about what they are going to do in the day, there is a tendency to not actually start the work until you have done with the meeting (you could have exceptions to this when you have mature teams, but more often than not, you will have people doing discussions, or catching up with other stuff rather than doing their work). So, it is obvious that you can make the best of the time you have for productive work if you have the meeting the first thing in the morning. However, there are some constraints in such a proposal:
– For something like this to work, you will have to have people who are somewhat disciplined about the time they arrive in the office. This can be tough in organizations that have flexi-time, so it is best to let the team drive such a discussion. Pressure from within a team is far more likely to drive people towards agreeing to an early time where they would be in the office.
– Related to this has been my personal experience. I used to see the QE team members arrive atleast 1-2 hours before the development team members, and setting a common meeting time can be an interesting exercise.
– If the Product Owner or the Scrum Master is a part of multiple such teams, then it is an exercise in logistics to make meetings like these happen.
– The concept that unless the meeting happens, people are not going to start their actual work seems very strange in a lot of people; especially when you consider the middle or senior management. They would rather fix this issue by insisting that even if the meeting is later, people do show up for work on time and start being productive even before the actual Daily Scrum happens.
– Now consider the case of a team which has people located across different time zones. Nowadays, one of the most common such situations is where the Product Owner is based in the United States, while the rest of the development team is located in a different geographical location, whether that be Romania or India. With people in different geographical time zones, getting agreement about the meeting time can be interesting, forget about trying to set it up as the first item in the morning.

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