Scrum Anti-Pattern: Daily Stand Up As A Status Report

Scrum Anti-Patterns: The Daily Stand Up

In my last post, I presented a story about anti-patterns. I would like to dive a bit deeper into some of the anti-patterns we see in Scrum and start with the daily stand up. Anti-patterns have a way of making teams work less effectively and the daily stand up is a practice most susceptible to anti-patterns. This is especially true for organizations first being introduced to Scrum. One anti-pattern I would like to address is:

  • The daily stand up as a status report

The Daily Stand Up As A Status Report

When I first started Scrum, the daily stand up looked a lot like a status report. I transitioned from Project Manager to Scrum Master and still had the “command and control” mindset. Not that all Project Managers suffer from this mindset, but a majority of them do and I was not an exception. I would use the daily stand up to get status updates to make sure the project plan was being worked.

It looked a lot like this. Each person takes a turn to speak. Answers three questions like: What they did yesterday? What they plan on doing today? And if there are any impediments? Each of them monotone. Each of them reporting to me. Each of them dying a little inside and wishing they called in sick.

This anti-pattern is so common that most teams think it’s actually normal. It makes sense too. In the past, everyone sat in project status meetings and waited for the Project Manager, or some other authority figure, to dull out tasks and track what everyone was doing. There’s an expectation that the project manager is in control of the project and team members are supposed to follow the bouncing red ball and do as they’re told. Command and control project management produces no shared commitment and communication stays on the back burner.

Once our Agile coach identified this I had to think deeply about how to change this anti-pattern. How to get communication flowing and each team member excited about the project. I started by insisting others drive the keyboard to our electronic scrum board. I positioned myself to the back of the room, outside the circle of the delivery team and waited for the team to begin the meeting themselves. At first it was an uncomfortable silence. I did my best to let it linger and my patience prevailed. Eventually the team took over of the meeting. Each team member began asking more valuable questions. They stopped reporting to me and began discussing the project with each other. The difference was like night and day; the team was engaged with their work again and fervorous conversation flowed. There were times when we went over the prescribed time-box and discussions got too far into the weeds. We got better with time. The anti-pattern forgotten forever.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on anti-patterns or the ones you’ve recently spotted. If you’d like to have a discussion, leave a comment below or contact me. Feel free to connect with me on social media as well!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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Jeremy is an IT Professional with the State of Nevada. Previously, he was a mental health counselor and a Navy Veteran. He holds a bachelors degree in Psychology and Information Systems and is currently working on his Masters in Information Systems at the University of Nevada - Reno. Follow him on Twitter.

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