Tips on Knowing if Your Daily Scrum Sucks

Below are some tell-tale signs that your daily Scrum sucks.

  1. The team members stand at attention and salute the Scrum Master.
  2. There is an infestation of clucking chickens.
  3. You have a hard time hearing everyone over the loud yawning.
  4. There’s lots of very descriptive, helpful answers to “what did you do since the last meeting?” like “stuff”, “things”, or even better…”nothing”.
  5. The team members who did nothing since the last meeting happen to be the “rock stars” pre-Scrum…oh, and they never, never, ever, ever have anything standing in their way.
  6. Every meeting reminds you of the movie “Groundhog Day”.
  7. The first 5 minutes is spent waiting for the projector to warm up.
  8. You get to meet a new member of the team almost everyday, while never having a chance to say goodbye to the dearly departed.
  9. Most’s answers to “what are you going to do today”,  are “get sign-off”.
  10. Big Brother is there to make sure the team is “on track”.
  11. Most meetings consist of discussing episodes of “Fringe”.
  12. The meetings are typically very lonely, as you are the only one that shows up.
  13. Bullies are allowed to…well…bully.
  14. Everyone has their laptops open IMing each other about “how stupid this meeting is”, while the Scrum Master or Product Owner is assigning tasks.
  15. You get to hear intriguing, long presentations about each and every detail on things like how to install and set up subversion, or maybe even if you’re lucky you may hear why Lisp is the best programming language in the world!

While many of these are a bit tongue-in-cheek, they actually represent the many dysfunctional daily Scrums I’ve attended.  And yes, I’ve been guilty of participating in the dysfunction.

So, let’s hear from you guys!  What kind of signs have YOU seen that your daily Scrum sucks?

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About Andre Simones
I am a founding partner of One80 Services that specializes in agile training, small business and startup guidance, and custom development. My goal is plain and simple. To see others succeed. I want to teach you how stop doing the things that aren't working and give you tools that will empower you to succeed on your own.

3 Responses to Tips on Knowing if Your Daily Scrum Sucks

  1. Scrum Sucks says:

    There is no replacement for good management, and it certainly isn’t this retarded thing called scrum. The fact is that scrum fails to grasp basic human nature. As you become more experienced, do you want to have more freedom and responsibility in your job? Of course. You certainly don’t want to be treated like a clock-punching manufacturing turd.

    I’ve been subjected to scrum at multiple companies and the same thing always happens. The best people leave or are allowed to ignore its idiotic mandates… the daily meetings that micro-managers love because it makes them feel like they’re on top of things, having the PO change decisions on a whim, etc.

    In fact, I think if you have bad management, scrum will make things WORSE, not better. Do you want to build the wrong thing? Or do you want to build the wrong thing and make everybody miserable at the same time?

    • leanagileguy says:

      I certainly appreciate your honesty. And, you are correct, nothing replaces good management. However, good management/leadership is a very rare commodity.

      I have observed that human nature in companies is nothing like human nature in families, social gatherings, or even start-ups. I have yet to meet one person who would want to do things in their own company (or in anything for that matter) the way it’s done in corporate America. I would never, ever compartmentalize people/skills in such small boxes that it takes an army of people to complete even the smallest task. And when I say “complete” I mean get it out late with poor quality.

      So, why would reasonable, rational people allow this madness to happen? Well, the optimist in me says that is the result of people with good intentions trying to do the right thing. But, the problem is that building software is hard. And, the art is very young. So, of course people will make mistakes. Now, we have decades of doing things one way that never has really worked that now have to be fixed.

      I feel bad for your experiences with Scrum. I’ve heard of these, and, as an agile coach in the past, I’ve been pressured to implement Scrum as a way to oppress and micro-manage. I didn’t last very long in that situation.

      A “good” scrum implementation will be a wonderful experience only if you have people who want to be a part of a cross-functional team who trust and respect one another. You also need a spirit of self reflection, and a desire to always improve and serve the customer. You also have to have leadership that is there for support. If you hate being a part of a cross functional team, and just want to be left alone to code (or whatever) heads down, then any agile or lean methodology will be sheer torture. If you have a strong team with micro managers, then it will be sheer torture. If you have both…ouch, I feel bad for everyone there.

      Scrum is a simple, lightweight framework that is frequently misused. And yes, I completely agree that with bad management things will be worse if the reason the are bringing in Scrum is to “kick the team in gear” and micro manage. However, my guess is that that is rare. From my observations at other companies, I believe that most of the time management is honestly trying to make things better.

  2. Jordan says:

    The problem with Scrum and daily scrums is:

    1) Organizations that are doing fine do not need to change anything

    2) Organizations that are failing want a quick fix. So they choose scrum

    3) Now they are doing a bunch of quick fixes, calling it progress, doing Cargo Cult Scrum, and making people miserable

    That’s what I see in the field. Failed organizations choose scrum because they are failing, and then they fail harder with scrum but pretend they are on a path to salvation.

    Jordan

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