Daily Status Meeting Disfunction

There are many ways that the daily status meeting for self-organizing teams can be done incorrectly. One of the most common, particularly early in a team’s adoption of Agile, is that people report to the Process Facilitator. Why is this bad?

The daily status meeting is meant to be an opportunity for the team members to report to the team on their progress and obstacles. If the team members are reporting to the Process Facilitator (or the Product Owner, or the project manager or the executive who just happens to join the meeting) then those people are going to change what they report and how they feel about the meeting. It will no longer be as open, nor as useful to the other team members.

Although this might seem like a subtle point, it is actually quite critical to the overall effectiveness of the team. A team which is seeking approval from leadership or management will not be nearly as focused on success as the appearance of success. There will be a tendency to report work done even if it isn’t really, to minimize obstacles and impediments, and to look for assignment of work from the manager/Process Facilitator/team lead.

In order to overcome this disfunction, the Process Facilitator may have to make some changes to the meeting: make it closed to observers, start the meeting every day by encouraging people to report to their teammates, move the meeting to be around the task board for the iteration. It may even be necessary for the Process Facilitator to do odd things like standing behind the person who is currently reporting so that that person does not look at the Process Facilitator.

More details about the Daily Scrum from the Scrum methodology.

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