I was at a recent networking event where a question arose whether or not the development team should cancel the daily scrum on sprint planning day. After all, sprint planning happens at the beginning of the sprint when the sprint goal and what can be delivered in the increment have not established. So why have the Daily Scrum that day? Let’s examine this further.
What does the Scrum Guide say?
The Scrum Guide does not give any direction or advice specifically on this scenario, however, it does mention some notable facts on the two events.
- The Daily Scrum is held every day of the Sprint and is held at the same time and place each day to reduce complexity. The Scrum Master ensures that the Development Team has the meeting, but the Development Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum. The Development Team uses the Daily Scrum to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal
- Sprint Planning answers what can be delivered in the Increment, how the chosen work will get done, and what is the sprint goal.
Since the Development Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum, isn’t the decision to cancel the Daily Scrum up to the development team?
One might see that the decision to cancel the should be the discretion of the self-organizing, autonomous development team. Ultimately, this is true, but the Scrum Guide says that it’s a requirement of the framework. A Scrum Master might see this fact and let the team cancel the Daily Scrum. However this leads to setting precedents about scrum events being allowed to be cancelled and other forms of dysfunction. A good Scrum Master will coach the team to try different ways to make the Daily Scrum most effective on Sprint Planning Day.
Choosing the same time and place for the Daily Scrum is essential
I think that this fact is key. Choosing the same place on all sprint days to huddle up and refocus for an event exclusively for the Development Team ensures progress toward a successful sprint. For example, a time one hour after sprint planning starts can create discussion of how planning is progressing thus far, and if any changes need to be suggested to the product owner. Maybe some technical details can be decided like creating a branch in source control, or documenting the sprint goals in an electronic tool can be decided. Choosing a space away from the planning space can allow the Development Team an area for them to focus, and allow the Product Owner and other stakeholders to make key decisions for the upcoming sprint.Remember that the Daily Scrum creates the plan for the next 24 hours, and it is not necessarily held in the beginning of the day. So a Development Team might decide that the middle of the day is effective for the time, which might coincide with the time in between the “what” and “how” phases of Sprint Planning (if that’s how the Sprint Planning meeting is structured). The first or last part of the day can be effective to look at some previous metrics or decide on capacity, which are effective Sprint Planning needs.
If the Development Team cancels the Daily Scrum on Sprint Planning day, they are just hurting themselves.
It’s that simple. There are many reasons why the scrum framework requires the Daily Scrum every day including Sprint Planning day. Yes, it is another meeting (a constant complaint from many development teams I have been a member and also coached), but The Scrum Guide also has this to say about the Daily Scrum
Daily Scrums improve communications, eliminate other meetings, identify impediments to development for removal, highlight and promote quick decision-making, and improve the Development Team’s level of knowledge. This is a key inspect and adapt meeting. The main advice I would give is don’t cancel it. Instead, try every option possible and take every opportunity to empower yourself to come together and, at the very least, show gratitude to each other that you work with some awesome people.
The main advice I would give is don’t cancel it. Instead, try every option possible and take every opportunity to empower yourself to come together and, at the very least, show gratitude to each other that you work with some awesome people.