Is your Daily Scrum getting repetitive or monotonous? Have you had any feedback that the format is stale, or have you noticed team members not paying as much attention as you would like them to? Here are some of our favorite ideas for spicing things up a bit, ideas that you can implement, either as one-offs, or on a regular basis to keep participants involved.
A Minute of Fun Can Ensure Your Participants Start Get Engaged
The minute of fun works in a simple way, setting the tone in the right direction. This could be any light-hearted ritual to start off the Scrum, such as a joke, a rhyme, a trivia question or any other quick idea. This immediately has the team having fun, paying attention and in a good mood, just where you want them to be at the start of play.
An idea to augment this could be getting the whole team involved, rotating the person leading the daily ‘minute of fun’, responsible for choosing the activity, telling the joke, or making sure it happens every day.
Want People to Get Involved? Get Creative With the Order of Speakers
Getting your team involved in orchestrating the Scrum makes it easier to get the entire team participating. Often, you’ll find it’s only the facilitator, the Scrum Master who is speaking throughout the meetings, and you’re not even sure if the rest of the team are paying full attention. I love the idea of popcorn scrums, where each person decides who is the next person to speak – sort of like passing the mic. This forces team members to pay a bit more attention, because at any point it could be their turn to speak and weigh in.
Try Throwing out the Rules
If you’re still struggling with getting team members to open up about their real feelings about the Sprint, here’s an idea that works well for the retrospective especially. Agree with your team to host what I like to call a ‘Vegas-style’ retrospective, in line with the well-known expression, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
In this Scrum meeting, or in the retrospective, everything stays inside the meeting. No one takes notes, no-one takes minutes, and nothing can be repeated outside of the team and these four walls. No additional invites, and no one shares the output of the meeting. This can really help to boost participants into feeling that they are in a safe, shared space, and has the added benefit of helping participants feel like more of a team.
Use Engagement Cards to Stay on Track
Props can be a smart way to make your scrum unique, and keep it on track, which is especially important because a common reason for a stale or boring Scrum is that it’s getting too deep into the weeds. One technique which I love is taken from soccer: give each participant a yellow and red card that they can use at any time during the meeting. You can even use multi-colored stickies directed at a webcam. If another team member gets off track, someone can hold up a yellow card to warn them that the Scrum is not as valuable as it should be. If two or more people hold up a yellow card, the red card is in play – giving the speaker 60 seconds to wrap it up. Your team knows that they can play the cards at any time which helps keep them focused and on-topic.
A Truly Mobile Meeting
One of the best things about the Daily Scrum is that it can go anywhere. And yet, oftentimes Scrum teams meet in the same place, even sitting around the same meeting table. Take advantage of how portable this meeting can be, there’s a reason it’s called the Daily Stand-up after all! Get your team members engaged and interested by going for a walk, heading outside, changing location, or even going to get a coffee or an ice cream. Added benefit – if your team knows you might start moving, they’re much more likely to arrive on time!
Give some of these ideas a try over the next few weeks, and let me know which work well for your specific teams. Have any other ideas for making the Daily Scrum unique, getting out of bad habits and encouraging your team members to get involved? Share them on the community group.
About the author:
Giora Morein is an Agile Transformation consultant and Certified Scrum Trainer. He brings over 15 years of Agile coaching and executive consulting experience to the table – building, coaching and training high-performing Fortune 1000 teams. His diverse success stories include Merrill Lynch and Cessna Aircraft, as well as Nike, Blizzard Entertainment and GE Healthcare.