The Power of Daily

“Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project”

Agile Principle

Perhaps the most important meeting from all the Scrum meetings and not limited to Scrum is the “Daily”. Short, focused and energetic. This is everything you need to start your day and focus on what matters most.

Some call the Daily to be updates meeting, other call it status meeting, I would say synchronization meeting, because the main goal of the Daily is to synchronize/coordinate with your team members in order to achieve your Sprint Goal. You answer the three questions (What have I achieved yesterday? What am I planning for today? Any impediments?) or go around the board and check for relevant updates/impediments.

Here are some simple, but strong reasons to use the Daily:

  • You achieve TRANSPARENCY which leads to TRUST and AUTONOMY
  • You CONNECT people together and improve COLLABORATION
  • You get things DONE

Each Daily looks different for each Team, depending on people’s personalities, business-design/technical challenges, team maturity levels, Agile knowledge, etc.

Here are some typologies of Daily that I identified over time while working with different teams and attending ‘thousands’ of Dailies:

Funeral Daily

You may find this in a team where people do not collaborate well with each other, they are either a newly formed team, or partially new team, a team formed of people working more individually rather than in a team. In this situation you miss the synchronization and the Daily becomes a status meeting, as everybody is sharing his/her updates disregarding the need for interaction. Each one is looking into achieving her/his individual goal, but not the Team’s goal.

Many teams go through this phase, some skip it, other spend longer time, but ideally this should be just a short stage in a team’s transformation towards a high performing team.

All GOOD, but BAD

Sounds confusing, just wait to see the Daily. You recognize this syndrome from the positive feeling in the meeting, everything going smoothly, however in the end the Sprint Goal is not achieved. Nobody brings any impediment, nevertheless the team does not deliver. Somehow the impediments are being communicated after the Daily and not captured into the next Daily. You may be surprised to see a bottleneck on the Board and even more surprised that nobody speaks about it.

Some may say – you need a Scrum Master to tell you have a bottleneck on the board, I may say – your team members need to bring the bottleneck to light proactively and correct each other. The Scrum Master has to be there to observe this transformation happening and support the Team towards making this step.

Rookies Daily

This is a typical Daily for people adopting new ways of working like Scrum. The beginning is always diverse and confusing until they reach a structure and understand the WHY. In this Daily you may find the storytellers who love describing their thoughts and approaches, the problem solvers who try to find solutions in a 15 minutes meeting, or the supermen who see no impediments. It is normal to have this, as we are different people with different personalities, and it takes time and experimentation to bring separate people to push in the same direction. This is another important stage in a team’s transformation.

Energizer Daily

Meet the successful Daily that reaches its goal. Synchronization happens usually with high intensity, people interact/ connect with each other in a true conversation. This gives people energy and a sense that helps them to stay focused. It is very simple. People who see this magic happening appreciate Daily so much, they take it to other projects wherever it makes true sense to use it.

The first three typologies (Funeral Daily, All GOOD but BAD and Rookies Daily) are typical stages in the teams’ transformation towards a high-performing team. Any team could go through these stages, however without learning from these stances we cannot improve and evolve. Ideally it is the Energizer Daily the goal for each Scrum Team.

There is one thing that can help teams move faster to the Energizer and that is the 4th question in the Daily: How do you feel? With this simple question you ideally achieve a collective emotional understanding, empathy and trust. While checking in with your feelings, people get closer to each other, become more open and this increases collaboration.

Daily is such a great meeting that you can use it in every environment, it does not matter if it is Agile or not. It could be used anywhere you have a team and get value out of sharing updates/impediments to help people to better coordinate.

Being a mother of 2 I personally even use Dailies at home:

  • What did you do today at school?
  • What do you plan for tomorrow?
  • Do you have any impediments at school?

You might do it already but did not realize it so far.

Daily could do so much damage if people do not understand its goal and perform it wrongly on a daily basis, 240 days a year, wasting time of each participant. At the same time, Dailies done right bring an incredible amount of value to the team and are instrumental towards forming a high performing team.

Stay safe, be well!

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