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In the daily scrum ceremony developers are daily required to answer questions about the time they need to finish each task. F.e. Developer A said that they will do 4 tasks, and the estimation for each is 3 days. Every morning the product owner will ask:

  1. is the estimation still valid? are we on track?
  2. if the estimation is no longer valid, what happened and how much more time do you need?

This feels like micromanagement to me. Are these daily questions valid for an agile environment? If not, how should the development team communicate changes in estimation(e.g. just update the ticket/task) and how should this be managed by the product owner?

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    Heres what the scrum guide has to say: 'The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, as long as their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next day of work.' What do the rest of the developers think, does this contribute anything to them? Nov 28, 2023 at 11:54
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    The daily is for inspecting progress toward the sprint goal and do any adjustments needed to the work so that you stay on track. You planned a sprint, but that doesn't mean the plan is perfect. The PO is asking if you are still on track. That's fine. Does it sound like an annoying "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?". Perhaps. Try to get to the root of why this bothers you. Are you threatened by the question? Annoyed that you feel micromanaged? You find it silly? Maybe you can add more details on that and what you need help with. Right now the answer is "yes, it's a valid question".
    – Bogdan
    Nov 28, 2023 at 12:36
  • Nice comment @Bogdan. I think it bothers me because I regard it as a tool to pressurize the team and not assist it. What do you think now? Nov 28, 2023 at 13:42
  • Is this the only instance of the PO micromanaging? Or does this behavior extend to other activities and interactions with the team? If this is an isolated thing, then maybe the PO is asking if things are on track, and they only know how to do that by asking if the estimations still holds. If that's the case, maybe within the team you can find better ways to relay that information. If this is a general thing, then issues will run deeper than trying to figure out if that's a valid question during the daily.
    – Bogdan
    Nov 28, 2023 at 19:12

3 Answers 3

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In the daily scrum ceremony developers are daily required to answer questions about the time they need to finish each task.

No. No. Nononono. NO! Who told you this? That has nothing to do with Scrum, unless you count the fact it uses english words to describe it.

In the daily Scrum, developers are to communicate and plan the tasks they will do this day to work towards the sprint goal. A basic requirement for this is to know if any new tasks came up, for example if someone finished coding, this is good to know so someone can plan for doing the code review today. Or testing or whatever you do after coding is done. But if there are no new tasks come up from yesterdays work, whether it is because the task is finished or the task needs other help, then there is no need to talk about it.

A product owner is not your boss. You do not owe them any status updates unless the team's sprint goal is in jeopardy, or you are at sprint review. They are not your boss you do not report status to them daily. That is not Scrum!

The only reason the product owner is in the daily is so they can answer questions neccessary for a productive day for the developers.

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Estimating during the Daily Scrum not only looks like micromanagement, but it's wasteful.

Although I would discourage teams from estimating and instead focus on creating units of work that represent the smallest deliverable valuable change. From there, flow metrics like cycle time and throughput can be used to forecast and plan. However, some teams do prefer estimating work. For these teams, once planning is done, the estimates are irrelevant and can be discarded.

In the context of Scrum, the Daily Scrum should focus on the next step or steps needed to achieve the Sprint Goal. This would include identifying if achieving the Sprint Goal is at risk and, if it is, bringing up these risks to the Product Owner and Scrum Master to adapt the plan. Otherwise, the Developers can identify potential impediments and plan their day.

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The questions about the time they need to finish each task should be asked to all developers and in the Backlog Grooming meeting. When you plan the sprint, then it means you already provided the deadline for the tasks you included in the sprint and it is "the end of the sprint". As far as I see, you are not implementing Scrum, so the "daily"s you mention are not in the scope of the Scrum ceremonies.

When it comes to your "micromanagement" concern, actually Scrum is for dealing with tasks on a micro scale so that you can act fast to change decisions on the way. On the other hand, in Scrum, nobody is a "manager". In that sense, developers, Scrum Masters and Product Owners inform each other about the status to decide on how to act as a team, which is not "micromanagement" if you ask me, but if you see it as "micromanagement", at least it is "micromanagement" by the team itself, not by a manager per se.

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