Coordination/Collaboration, Not Formal Task-Tracking
While the Scrum Guide used to refer to the stand-up as a commitment meeting, it currently says:
The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours.
The purpose of the daily Scrum is not to hold people accountable or to perform a status pull. Rather, it is intended to provide a forum for members of the Development Team to coordinate the current day's increment. The notorious "three questions" are simply guidelines; the format of how the information is presented is not strictly prescribed by the framework.
When done properly, the stand-up helps the team to collaborate effectively. The information shared during the daily scrum informs one's teammates about:
- What work is ready to be pulled into another team member's queue.
- What resources are required from other team members to perform a task.
- Impediments that the team needs to swarm over or route around.
Formal Task-Level Tracking is a Project Smell
Because the goals for the stand-up are coordination and collaboration, it is expected that the team members will informally track the pieces of the day's increment that impact them. Turning daily task-tracking into a formal ceremony serves no purpose other than micromanagement.
It should be clearly evident on a day-to-day basis whether user stories and tasks are progressing or blocked. If the volume of daily work-in-progress is such that detailed formal tracking becomes necessary, that is generally a "project smell" that indicates a process problem with the team's Scrum implementation.
Common problems that can cause this smell include, but are not limited to:
- Treating the daily scrum as a status pull.
- A team that has over-committed the volume of stories accepted into the Sprint.
- A team that doesn't enforce sensible work-in-progress (WIP) limits.
- A team that assigns tasks to individuals, rather than treating user stories as a collaborative process with collective ownership.
- A process that values fine-grained task tracking over story-level "done" or "not done" status.
- A process that is too task-focused, rather than focused on achieving a defined Sprint Goal.
There can certainly be other reasons as well. The important thing is to clearly identify why the team (or more likely the stakeholders) need or expect this level of tracking or status reporting. That's the real problem to be solved, and is most likely a communications or transparency problem within the current Scrum implementation.