A new operations admin joined the organization and presented himself in the leads channel. He expressed his interest in learning about the teams and their processes, and requested to be included in each team's recurring meetings to observe and take notes, stating that he would be a "fly on the wall".

As we have agile scrum teams, we have recurring meetings such as dailies and retrospectives. However, we are concerned about the impact of including a stranger in these meetings on the team's group interaction and psychological safety. We want team members to feel safe to elevate their opinions during meetings. Is this a good practice to have someone who the team does not know at all to join their daily meetings and observe them? also, what about the retrospectives? aren't these meetings supposed to be private for the dev team only?

Any recommendation or feedback here would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

  • What is the 'operations admin/manager' in your organization? What is his job?
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 8:53
  • 1
    The Daily Scrum is for the Developers. That doesn't mean you can't have others there, but the whole Scrum Team needs to make a collective decision about whether having outsiders present would inhibit the short term planning the event is supposed to facilitate. It shouldn't, but circumstances, teams, and company cultures vary.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 23:13
  • This is a good question @JanDoggen. I don't know since he is a new employee in the company and just joined. He said he needed to work on documenting processes so I guess that is what he does? Commented May 26, 2023 at 23:01
  • 1
    For acceptance by the team, it would be good then if he explained what he is going to do with the observations and the notes. Ask in a meeting.
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented May 27, 2023 at 14:14

4 Answers 4


What does the team think?

The concern about the impact on group interaction and safety, especially in the context of a Sprint Retrospective, is especially valid. However, the desire to learn more about the teams and their processes is also valid if the person will be working with the teams. If the teams are truly self-organizing and self-managing, then they would be able to make the decisions about if the new person should be an observer to some or all their events and what other ways may exist to meet the new person and have them learn about what the team is doing.


In principle, the daily meeting is a public meeting where anyone who is interested can listen in. Active participation in the meeting should though be limited to the members of the Scrum Team, to avoid that the purpose of the meeting (collaboration and alignment within the Scrum Team) gets lost and the meeting becomes a management update.
This does not preclude that the Scrum Team, collectively, can allow an outsider to (occasionally?) participate actively in the meeting, but that must be a team decision of the Scrum Team.

The retrospective is a different matter. As in that meeting often more sensitive topics can be brought to the table, I consider that a closed-door meeting with no outsiders allowed unless they are expressly invited and their presence is made known to the participants beforehand.


I don't think there is a single answer to this because so much depends on the circumstances.

Discussing the plan with the team is important and if you do decide to proceed it is worth laying out some ground rules. For example you could ask the operations admin to remain silent during the meeting but at the end they would get a chance to ask questions.

A lot will depend on the maturity and confidence of the team. I can think of some teams that would happily have the CEO join one of their meetings but other teams that would be uncomfortable with anyone from outside joining in.


I think my answer is YES.
Below is my reason as my experience.

  • We always focus to make high value for customer. So, in some situation that we need to support from other in daily scrum.

Just my example, when my team was new in Scrum framework then we have trouble in daily scrum to keep time-box.
At that time, we find solution to optimize daily scrum time or maybe find the way how to implement daily scrum. We found that our company has experience member who already implement Scrum for long time.
We decide to invite him to join daily scrum meeting and observe meeting. Finally, he feedback and suggest to Scrum team how to improve.

Go back to your situation, I consider that you and your team are not clear what target of joining daily scrum meeting of new operations admin. And, what's good for your team.
I think almost people feel scare when have someone who join meeting and we do not know why he stay in meeting.
But when we have clear information then we will easy to accept and earn more value.

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