So - I'm a SM - my Product Owner likes to organise refinements in the morning. His logic is that such meetings at the beginning of the day don't collide with a thought process when a developer is in the middle of something during the day. This makes sense for me.

However, such meetings sometimes collide with the Daily Scrum. Not often enough to actually change the daily time (or place), but often enough for me, because many times people tend to forget about this and miss one or another meeting.

I confronted the PO about this, and my argument about reducing the complexity, was deflected with "people>process".

How to tackle this situation?

  • 1
    How does the rest of your team feel about this? – Erik Aug 30 at 12:39
  • I like his logic. That seems very considerate. I'm not sure I understand why that means it has to conflict with the daily scrum. It seems like you could schedule refinements in the morning and work around the scrum time. – Daniel Aug 30 at 14:34
  • 1
    “Confront” doesn’t sound like collaboration. Why can’t either meeting be moved to accommodate the other? In particular, why can’t you move a 15 minutes standup to before or after the PO’s meeting? – Todd A. Jacobs Sep 1 at 17:51

Bring it up in the Retrospective.

While your Product Owner's initial axiom is correct from an Agile standpoint, I would argue that his logic following from it is flawed. Here is how I interpret your situation:

  • There is a problem with the processes/tools.
  • We do not know whether or not there is a problem with the people/interactions. We also do not know if there would be a problem if those interactions changed.

Therefore, meet in the Retrospective to clarify that second point.

From the Agile Manifesto:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools [...] That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

If problem is detrimental to interactions, do address the problem. If addressing the problem would be detrimental to interactions, do not address the problem. If addressing the problem would be irrelevant to interactions, then do address the problem.

After all; there is value to the items on the right. The only time those goals should not be pursued is when doing so would be actively harmful to the goals of the items on the left.

Bring it up in the Retrospective, then react accordingly. This would also be a great place to brainstorm possible solutions, if it is determined to be a problem that should be addressed.

I think you might be tackling this from the wrong point of view. The big elephant in the room is that people "forget" meetings. That is not acceptable. Being at a specified place at a specified time is their job. They get paid for it. If they "forget" to do their job, their disciplinary superior needs to have a stern talk with them. Assuming the meeting they scheduled is inside the normal working hours, it is certainly not the PO's fault if people forget to do their job, nor is it your job to be their minder constantly. The Scrum process expects everyone to have a basic level of professionalism, and being there to actually do Scrum would be a bare minimum that you cannot enforce inside the Scrum framework, but only outside (normally by paying people in exchange for their time and work).

Once everybody actually is on time, and may find it exceptionally hard to do so, it's absolutely fair to talk about the scheduling of meetings in the retrospective. However, it's your job to prepare a platform where people can openly talk. It's whoever has a hard time making it, to step forward and say "hey, I have a problem with this meeting, can we change the scheduling?". Your job is to moderate this exchange, and help bring up a solution, not to speak for people.

Right now, it seems you are the only one uncomfortable with their sloppiness and you are the one trying to find a solution that accommodates it. Don't. Those people can speak for themselves and they will speak up, once you hold them accountable for "forgetting" to do their job properly. Because then their unprofessional behavior will be their problem. And they will want to solve it.

The the daily standup is an important part of Scrum and is not optional and if it isn't happening every single day at a specific time and time boxed to 15 minutes then there is a problem.

I would coach the team based on the Scrum Guide:

The Scrum Master ensures that the Development Team has the meeting, but the Development Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum. The Scrum Master teaches the Development Team to keep the Daily Scrum within the 15-minute time-box.

There may be some work to be done between the SM and PO in terms of trust and influence. I can completely relate and sympathise, its often not easy but if you are not able to coach and influence the PO then I would work on this.

The team will probably be happy with either or, the problem is if you raise this at a retro and the PO overrides you, this is a problem and needs to be sorted before you raise this at a retro.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.