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Scrum: Forcing the Daily Scrum meeting to end in 15 minutes

The Daily Scrum meeting is an important meeting for those who are part of a Scrum team. The Daily Scrum meeting is the meeting where each team members learns from the other team members about their tasks and their progress; with the 3 stated objectives of the Daily Scrum meeting being:
– What has the person done since the last Daily Scrum meeting
– What will the person do till the next Daily Scrum meeting
– Are there are any impediments that are blocking the person from proceeding
Now, for a well running team, the meeting works pretty efficiently. People are there at the meeting on time, give their updates, state any impediments that they have not managed to solve, and make the meeting a short affair. Most teams want to end the meeting within 15 minutes, that being enough time for a team of 6-9 people to provide their brief updates and not feel that they are wasting their time attending longer meetings on a daily basis. If it is taking more than 15 minutes, then the team should be looking at what is going wrong and the meeting time extended. It may be that people are not ready for the Daily Scrum and are taking more time to give their updates, or there are discussions happening in the Daily Scrum (which not only causes frustration to the people who are not actually involved in the topic being discussed, but has the potential to make these Daily Scrums as long extended meetings). Hence, when the meeting gets lengthy, it is a good practice for the team and the Scrum Master to evaluate what needs to be done to reduce the length of the meeting.
However, there needs to be an effort made to understand what is causing the meeting time to get extended. I have known teams (and their Scrum Masters) who have pushed for reducing the time of the meeting to be less than 15 minutes, without really giving the team the time to have a discussion about what are the reasons for the meeting to get extended. As soon as somebody starts taking more time, the Scrum Master and other team members start pointing out that the meeting is getting lengthy, and push for getting team members who are taking more time to be brief.
However, this kind of push based approach is not real effective. The Daily Scrum, as the name suggests, is not a one time meeting that you can push and get done once; this is a meeting which is for the team and is supposed to be run by the team. You need the team to actually evaluate the reasons why the meeting is longer than you would like, and work out the solutions that would be required to fix this, and then see whether these solutions are working. That approach makes for a more sustained process of ensuring that the team is getting mature, and also helps the team to get a good understanding of why the Daily Scrum meeting should be brief, and yet be valuable.

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