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Scrum: The presence of the Product Owner in the Daily Scrum

For those who have been following this blog, you would have noted that this is not the first time that the question of the Product Owner attending the Daily Scrum has come up. There is no definite answer to this one, and the literature that talks about the imperatives that need to be followed in Scrum also does not prescribe whether the Product Owner needs to attend or not. There are many variables that can be a factor in whether the Product Owner should attend or not, but this post is not about that question. It takes the case where the Product Owner does attend the Daily Scrum, and asks whether is any benefit of the same. If you have an opinion on this query, or follow what you feel is a best practise, then please provide your answers in the comments. Of course, if the Product Owner is located in a geographically different location from the Scrum team or there are other logistical reasons, then it would be difficult for the Product Owner to attend the Daily Scrum.
So what happens when the Product Owner does attend the Daily Scrum meeting ? The Daily Scrum meeting is a meeting geared towards the team members providing an update on their done tasks, their upcoming tasks, and any blockages to the team. It is not meant as a status meeting, and it is not expected that the Product Owner will really play an active part in that meeting, and this needs to be cleared with the Product Owner. Else, what will happen is that you will have a situation where the Product Owner could hear of an impediment that the PO feels can be resolved quickly, and tries to provide a quick answer to that one. This however, will make this a discussion, and there is a pretty good chance that the Daily Scrum meeting will instead turn into a discussion meeting, lasting far longer than the 15 minutes that the meeting should last (I have heard of teams that do use the Daily Scrum as a slightly longer meeting which resolve quick issues and take a longer time period, but this is not really recommended); issue discussion and resolution should happen in a subsequent meeting which would need to be attended to only by relevant people rather than all the Scrum team members.
However, if the Product Owner attends the Daily Scrum on a regular basis and learns about the impediments that the team faces, there is a good chance that the Product Owner will also figure out those impediments that have arisen because of communication problems or because of a different level of understanding when the Product Owner was explaining the tasks and User stories to the team. Impediments that arise because the team has some amount of confusion regarding a particular functionality need to be understood and clarified quickly, since they can affect the productivity of the Scrum team. As a result, the Product Owner would also have a bit of time to prepare for answering these queries immediately after the Daily Scrum meeting, and help to resolve matters quickly. Further, such queries, if forming a regular pattern, would mean that the Product Owner should be able to figure out some improvements that could happen in the task planning and estimation meeting.

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