Improving your Daily Scrum with Acceptance Criteria

Let’s treat Scrum Events like Product Backlog Items. A good PBI has a clear Outcome, Who it is for, and Acceptance Criteria. 

DAILY SCRUM 

Outcome: To ensure progress toward the single objective of the Sprint, the Sprint Goal. 

Who is it for?: The Developers. Everyone else is an observer.

Acceptance Criteria:

  • Are we focused on progress toward the Sprint Goal daily?
  • Are we focused on collective ownership of progress? (Focus on the WORK to meet goal)
  • Did we avoid solutioning the work?

Collective Ownership, quick take: The three questions are no longer recommended for conducting Daily Scrums. Instead, focus on the work itself. 

Outcome: Think of the Daily Scrum like GPS Navigation on your phone. You won’t even know if you are on course if you never use it. And, if you turn off the sound and put your phone face down, you are in the same boat. 

The Daily Scrum isn’t about the work you got done yesterday. The Daily Scrum is about knowing if you will get to your destination on time or at all. 

Who is it for?: The Developers. Everyone else is an observer. This includes you, Scrum Master. 

During the 15 minutes of the Daily Scrum, the only people who should be initiating conversation are the Developers. 

Acceptance Criteria- The Scrum Guide

The Scrum Guide is clear: “The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, as long as their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next day of work.” 

This guidance makes creating good acceptance criteria for the Daily Scrum straightforward. 

Acceptance Criteria: Are we focused on progress toward the Sprint Goal daily?

  • This ties directly to the outcome of the Daily Scrum. It also prevents the status report trap we see so often in bad Daily Scrums
  • The other thing it does is help to remind the team to discuss the Sprint Goal daily, avoiding the “we do our Daily Scrums on Tuesdays and Thursdays” trap. 

Acceptance Criteria: Are we focused on collective ownership of progress?

  • It prevents the tea from falling into the individual work trap. Sprint Goals are about value, not getting work done. If your Database person completes all their work while no one else completes it, the Sprint Goal won’t be met. 
  • The added bonus is that this leads to better backlog refinement before the Sprint starts. 

Acceptance Criteria: Did we avoid solutioning the work?

  • It’s only a 15-minute maximum time box; we are not trying to solve all the problems during the Daily Scrum. Instead, we are working to identify what needs to be done to meet the Sprint Goal. That may be “we need to fix the build server, who needs to be in that conversation?” 
  • If a solution will take more than 30 seconds, shift the conversation to “Who needs to be in the longer conversation?” After the Daily Scrum, the team can split up to work on Product Backlog Items or meet to deal with any challenges the team faces to meet the Sprint Goal. 

Make Daily Scrum better by treating them like a Product Backlog Item.

This has been a 🦍 Gorilla Coach 🦍 Scrumdementals moment. Have a nice day.

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