6

Is the daily scrum 15-minute meeting mandatory for a successful scrum project? Is it possible to replace it with a one hour meeting once or twice a week?

I am asking this because I am finding it difficult to hold daily 15-minute meetings with my project team since they are doing operational tasks (which are mandatory) outside of the project tasks (which are supplementary), so we agreed to do one hour meetings twice a week.

12

What the Stand-Up Meeting is For

The Stand-Up Meeting (a.k.a. the daily scrum) is designed to accomplish two main things:

  1. Coordinate task dependencies within the team.
  2. Identify process or resource issues (blockers) that need to be addressed outside the stand-up meeting.

Various scrum practices support these objectives. The individual practices are malleable, the actual objectives of the stand-up are not.

Time-Boxing is Essential to Scrum

Scrum is all about time-boxing. Iterations are time-boxed. Stand-ups are time-boxed. Can you fiddle with the size of the time boxes? Sure you can. However, there are always trade-offs in doing so, including increased overhead with shorter time boxes, and a loss of flexibility and turn-around time with longer boxes.

If your team can't spare 15 time-boxed minutes per day, then you have process issues far beyond Scrum. On the other hand, if the 15 minutes per day don't add value to your team's process, then read on!

Introspect the Purpose of Your Meetings

If you find that you aren't really working as a team (e.g. individuals all have non-interdependent tasks) then you really won't gain much benefit from regular stand-up meetings. The daily scrum is for coordinating tasks and making delivery commitments within the team, but if Alice never needs anything from Bob (and vice-versa), while Fred is always working on something entirely irrelevant to the rest of the team, then the value of the stand-up is zero unless you're treating it like a PM status pull.

I've certainly worked in plenty of shops where the "team" is a conglomeration of individuals, rather than a true team within the meaning of the Scrum framework. In such cases, limiting meetings to a few planning meetings and the occasional retrospective might still be valuable, but that will be highly dependent on the nature of the work and the organizational culture.

DevOps is Not Ideal for Scrum

If your team members are performing mostly operational tasks, with some supplementary projects, then Scrum may not be the best fit for your work-flow. Scrum is really designed for projects, especially software development projects, and while it can be adapted to ongoing operations or support, there are better tools available to agile project managers.

Whether your operations tasks are ticket-based or backlog-based, you may find a pull-process like Kanban to be a better framework for your needs. It's a leaky-bucket system: work pours into the bucket, and work-in-progress limits ensure that tasks trickle out of the bucket at a sustainable (and usually predictable) pace.

Conclusion

You can certainly adapt Scrum up to a point, but beyond that point it isn't really Scrum. If you find that the Scrum meetings, practices, and artifacts aren't meeting your objectives, I'd highly recommend looking at alternative agile frameworks and practices.

  • Also to note, it's not mandatory to prolong unnecessarily for 15 mins. Our daily standup for a team of 9 members lasts around 7-10 mins. – IsmailS Sep 6 '12 at 6:56
2

CodeGnome's answer is about perfect... But here's my 2 cents as well:

Is the daily scrum 15mins meeting mandatory for successful scrum project?

For a successful scrum project, yes. You're not doing scrum if you don't have daily scrum meetings.

For a successful project in general, probably not. People have been successfully building software without any of the recommendations in scrum for quite some time.

The real point behind the daily scrum is to ensure constant communication amongst your team members. If they are achieving this without the need for a formal meeting, perhaps, you could forgo it.

I don't really like the idea of your twice a week 1 hour meeting. That seems too long, too ripe for wasting people's time, and too easily turned into a chore for your developers, rather than a tool to help them accomplish their jobs. But who knows, if it works for your team, run with it.

The bottom line is that everyone's practice is going to be different. It should be customized to fit your needs. You can always try for a sprint, and talk about it in your retrospective.

1

There's an old saying: nine women can't make a baby in one month. You can't just substitute the same amount of time in long meetings for the short ones. My guess is that you would be wasting more time in a one hour meeting once or twice a week than you would in 15-minute dailies and that less would get done in these meetings.

There is some subtlety in scrum. One of the purposes of the dailies is to ensure communication. This is very important because you want problems and issues surfaced as soon as possible.

Another purpose of dailies is to ensure operational tempo. It could be argued that in a case where development is a background operation, brief daily meetings are even more important to keep people mindful that there is this background task and they need to keep development pressure on it.

The dailies also keep individuals focused and close off opportunities for procrastination. If I know I'm responsible for something in a daily three days from now, that gives me 2 days to say "I can finish that tomorrow." If I know I'm responsible for something in a daily at the end of today or tomorrow morning, I had better get on it.

0

CodeGnome's answer is very good, and said most of what I had to say.

What I'd like to ask is, how come these operational tasks interrupt daily meetings, but not one-hour weekly ones?

Scrum daily meetings don't have to be full-team (they should be, but they should take place without people if they're unavailable) and don't have to be 15 mins in length. Schedule them daily for the team about 30 mins after their official 'start time' and keep them short.

Focus on the three questions of 'what did you do yesterday', 'what will you do today', 'do you have any impediments' can be gotten through fairly quickly if the majority of the team's time is spent off-project.

Mandate the meetings in the same way you'd mandate the weekly ones, and if people aren't there they miss out on the vital information, this is something you should introspect with the team during your Retrospectives to see how it is working out.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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