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8 Scrum Meeting Mistakes to Avoid

8 Scrum Meeting Mistakes to Avoid
The Siliconreview
20 January, 2021

Scrum meetings are one of the most effective activities in an organization that encourage the team members to self-organize, improve continuously, and learn through experience. It also helps to better employees' morale, increase the ability to manage change, and complete complex projects.

What are the scrum meetings?

Scrum meetings are a short stand-up meeting held on office premises before commencing the daily office tasks. During the meetings, members share the tasks to be done throughout the day and discuss how to do it right. While having a fairly simple concept, daily stand-ups are also a fast and efficient way to recognize what has been done, what needs to be done, and how. Unlike a regular status meet, the agile gathering focuses on commitment from each team member.

It is time-boxed for a certain period, not exceeding 15 minutes. Such agile meetings help the team synchronize their activities and plan for the next 24 hours.

How are meetings in scrum held?

As an expert that wrote these best resume service reviews and many other reviews on other companies online said: “The main idea of these agile scrum meetings is to keep them short and sweet. As a rule, such meetings are only attended by the members of a particular team. However, other office members are allowed to attend as well, but their participation is completely non-verbal. While they can listen in to the members, they aren't allowed to express their thoughts.” 

To avoid complexity, the daily meets are held in the same place and at the same time every day. 

During the daily scrum meeting, the following elements are discussed by the members:

  • Previous work that is complete
  • Today's work to be done
  • Any obstacle in a particular task or the workplace

By mapping out their past work, members synchronize the tasks to be done for the day. The scrum master (Head of the scrum) has the responsibility to resolve the prevailing obstacles as quickly as possible.

Here are some of the ways in which a company can implement an effective scrum

  • Members must strive to make the meet funnier and more engaging. 
  • Using a board to visualize project tasks and progress can better create engagement among the members. 
  • Conducting the meeting while standing helps in keeping it short. 
  • The meet could be ineffective if the members wait for latecomers to join. 
  • The meet should start every day at the same time.

Generally, the practice of a daily conference is exercised only by big companies, but small companies are quickly catching up. Such quick meets help companies recognize their strengths and weaknesses and quickly align deficiencies to overcome them. However, fast-moving technology can leave startups and small organizations behind. Therefore, entrepreneurs should conduct a review before operating a business company to get help in various business aspects. It can help upcoming companies in the forms of all legal, financial, HR, and technological aspects. Learning about all relevant information is a must to succeed in the modern business world and, as such, it is wise to invest in such a review

How can one use the meetings in agile methodology? 

While discussing the daily scrum meeting agenda, the scrum master and other members keep the meet short. To wrap up the conference within the given time frame, the meet must be short and concise. This is why such meets are usually conducted while all the members are standing.

Without effective meetings, the employees and other members cannot perform adequately. Having the knowledge to run effective business meetings can help run an agile meeting as well.

Rather than waiting for the scrum master to conduct the meet formally, the members show their active participation. They mention their progress, plan for the day, and existing issues turn by turn. Immediately after the conference is over, the members move on to their routine tasks. 

The daily stand-up is like a warm-up to the members for the day. It prepares every individual to complete their role with higher commitment.

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Top 8 scrum meetings mistakes to avoid

The agile scrum meets tend to go off track very quickly if the objectives are not clear and well communicated to the participants. To keep the goal intact, some of the scrum meetings best practices are: 

  • Define clear objectives
  • Always start and end on time
  • Prepare daily scrum meeting agenda
  • Use of boards to visualize the progress
  • Start sprint and stand-ups
  • Continuous improvement

While the rules of daily stand-ups are widely verbalized, team members may, on occasion, make several mistakes during their daily scrums, intentionally or by accident. It is crucial to avoid such mistakes to increase the efficiency of meetings in the scrum.

  • Ignoring the time limit of agile scrum meetings

The rule of scrum meets specifies the need to be executed within 15 minutes, keeping the meet short and informative. However, some members can get carried away while describing their task at hand and get the meeting to go over the time limit. The only three questions that members must answer while attending a scrum meet are: 

  • What have you been doing since the last meet? 
  • What are your plans today? 
  • What factors are hampering your progress? 

Talking about anything else except for the questions mentioned above can get the conference to last longer than is allocated. Members also run the risk of having a shorter time in which to complete the task due to the meet running too long. 

Every member present in the meet must acknowledge that the daily meets last no more than 15 minutes. Members must discuss only the topics specified beforehand in the shortest time possible and go about their routine tasks immediately. 

  • Being focused only on the scrum master 

One of the key factors in an agile scrum meet is the development of self-directed teams. When a team member takes the lead and starts directing the meet, it can become a problem. Such assemblies implement the laissez-faire style of leadership. Hence, all the members should be busy working on the scrum of scrums meeting agenda as they meet commences instead of relying solely on the scrum master. 

It can be confusing for the team members to know who starts the daily scrum. However, if they pivot their focus on the scrum master waiting for them to lead, the conference's purpose is dissipated. A scrum master's role is to facilitate the members and develop a working environment free from any obstacles, not to lead the team.

A good agile team doesn't work under command; rather, it is self-organized. The scrum master is only a servant leader, and the teams work together, learning from their own mistakes. So, the team needs to work together rather than being focused on who starts the daily scrum.

  • Trying to manage the team

Good management is mandatory to assure that every task, basic and large, is executed perfectly. But if the same is exercised, it might lose its productivity. 

Daily scrums are not for managing the team and its members. Scrum events are allocated a short time and hence cannot involve such managerial activities. The members are expected to communicate their progress and plan their activities. But if the members are kept busy with managing the team, a scrum's objectives might go unfulfilled.

As the purpose of scrum is to promote self-management, the members should practice self-organization themselves. Only then can the team attain the optimum practice of daily scrum.

  • Using the meeting for planning

Planning is not a part of the daily scrums and can deteriorate daily stand-ups' objectives when used wrong. 

If the group members use the assembly for planning their daily activities, the gathering can go longer than the estimated period, which defeats the idea of having an agile meeting

The process and objective of daily stand-ups are made clear to every member in the beginning. The members must be prepared ahead of time to state their status as part of their daily scrum meeting agenda and not steer off course. 

  • Asking the wrong questions

Asking each other questions is casual, and even mandatory, in status meetings. However, in the daily stand-ups, employees are not expected to ask irrelevant questions to each other. Asking the wrong questions only increases the scrum time without yielding anything productive.

The protocols are stated loud and clear in the very beginning. Other than the three questions that have been mentioned before, any other question is regarded to be irrelevant and a waste of time.

As daily time allocation for scrums is only 15 minutes, time is of the essence. Wasting the team's time by asking unnecessary questions can delay the execution of daily tasks. To respect each other’s time, individuals must avoid asking questions that are out of topic.

  • Having technical discussions

For any project, there are technical aspects that should be discussed thoroughly and precisely with the team. Without the technical guys, almost no project can move towards its success.

The team comprises of many members from various distinct fields. And while the technical guys have discussions, other personnel will have to listen meaninglessly. It will elongate the assembly and cost unproductive time for the non-technical members.

After the daily scrum, the related members can discuss the technical aspects at their ease. The meeting should discuss only such matters that are understandable and relevant to all members. Discussing the technical aspects will not prove to be any fruitful in the daily scrum.

  • Not having the meeting at the place of work

As a rule, scrums are conducted daily before every team member starts on their individual daily tasks. As such, they ought to be held at the place of work so that the members can participate easily and move to their table as soon as it is over. 

If they are conducted outside the office premises, many problems can arise, such as:

  • Unpunctual members: The members can show up late for the scrums and sometimes avoid it altogether as well.
  • Passive participation: Even if the members participate in daily stand-ups, their participation is likely to be passive.
  • Demotivated members: The members can feel demotivated towards their work and participation in the daily stand-up, as they have to spend additional effort on scrums.
  • Reduced performance: Without having the solid backup of a good team, members may feel out of place, or their performance may be hampered. 

Scrum meetings are meant to be held at the office. If they are not held at the workplace, it can hurt the team. 

  • Holding ineffective daily scrums

Effective scrum meet can significantly increase the overall performance and productivity of a team. However, ineffective scrums, on the other hand, can do more bad than good. 

Most companies understand the importance of internal communication to turn the organization into a well-oiled machine. There are several ways in which scrums can turn ineffective, such as: 

  • The scrum master becomes the decision-maker for the team. 
  • Not removing the barriers that affect one's daily tasks.
  • Not having the scrums daily. 
  • Trying to solve problems of individual team members. 

With effective daily scrums, the company can enjoy higher productivity with lower costs. Team members must strive to make the scrums effective by following the structure and protocols strictly.

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The daily stand-up is pivotal from several different aspects. Before commencing any daily work, it is necessary to keep track of the previous progress and create a plan for upcoming tasks. The stand-up meeting facilitates open(face-to-face) communication, collaboration, and transparency into the project. The discussion-based meetings are also equally effective and provide insights into the latest scenario in the scrum team.

The stand-up meet is equally beneficial for both the company and its employees. Given that the company follows scrum meeting best practices, it helps the employees to build trust among members, improve work efficiency, encourages personal planning, and facilitates self-management. All companies can benefit from implementing the best practices and avoiding mistakes that hamper progress.