The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Killing Agile (13/?)

Sadly, […] a terribly stupid catastrophe occurred. […] it is the story of that terrible stupid catastrophe and some of its consequences. 

It is also the story of a book, a book called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Killing Agile, not an Agile book, never published on Agile website, and until the terrible catastrophe occurred, never seen or heard of by any Agile team members.

Nevertheless, a wholly remarkable book. […]

It begins with a meeting, three questions and a contradiction

I guess I can assume that, at this stage of our journey to try to survive The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Killing Agile, we all are familiar with the Scrum Guide.

When talking about the Development Team, it reads as follows.

“Individual Development Team members may have specialized skills and areas of focus, but accountability belongs to the Development Team as a whole.”

What’s more, the concept of collaboration is mentioned pretty often along the guide.

For this reason, I don’t really understand why, when it comes to the daily meeting and the three famous questions, individualism supplants collaboration.

To understand what I mean, please pay attention to the subject of those three questions (bold blue type is mine).

“The structure of the [daily] meeting is set by the Development Team and can be conducted in different ways if it focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal. Some Development Teams will use questions, some will be more discussion based. Here is an example of what might be used:
• What did I do yesterday that helped the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
• What will I do today to help the Development Team meet the Sprint Goal?
• Do I see any impediment that prevents me or the Development Team from meeting the Sprint Goal?”

Even if I know that those sentences are just “an example of what might be used”, nowadays their adoption is so widespread, across organizations of every size and type, that they can be considered almost a standard.

So, my point is, if collaboration within the team is so important and the Sprint Goal really serves as a beacon that guides the team to develop the top priority, why are the authors of the guide somehow directing the focus on individual team members?

It’s not surprising, then, that, right after their turn to speak, most people usually stop paying attention to what their colleagues are saying, and tend to disconnect from the daily meeting.

Wouldn’t be better to re-frame those questions in such a way that everybody is engaged in the conversation?

In order to do that, I would definitely prefer the focus to be on the Sprint Goal, on the tasks to be finished and on the collaboration between the team members.

In other words, I would rather opt for the following two questions.

“Having the Sprint Goal in mind, what does this task need to be completed?”

“Having the Sprint Goal in mind, what can we do, as a team, to move this task to done as soon as possible?”

What do you think? Wouldn’t it make more sense?

But I’m curious now.
What about you?
Do you like the “standard” questions?
Do you have any other tips to hold a more effective daily meeting?

List of references

(Sadly) real working life.

Adams, Douglas. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  London: Del Rey Books,1995 (first published 1979).

Schwaber, Ken; Sutherland, Jeff. The Scrum Guide™. The Definitive Guide to Scrum: The Rules of the Game. November 2017

Fake review from The Fake Boston Globe

Seconds before the lab is demolished to make way for a new galactic device…

… a SW tester begins a journey through Scrum framework aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Killing Agile (“A speck is about the most massively useful thing a software hitchhiker can have”) and a lab full of fellow team members…

Thanks for reading this article.
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Ralph Fisher
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I find the Daily Scrum increasingly less appealing, mostly because a mature, self-organising and transparent team is constantly communicating. Hence the team and the Scrum Master is always aware of impediments, and the team is aware of the condition of the Sprint.

There are two caveats to what I’ve written above:
1. I have a Panglossian view of Scrum;
2. A geographically dispersed team may need the Daily Scrum to connect.

Dana V. Baldwin
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Dana V. Baldwin

Yes! Love it.