Where to Look During the Daily Scrum

Photo by Adrian Scottow

Photo by Adrian Scottow

I was talking to a developer friend of mine recently, and I realized something about the Daily Scrum: agile coaches and team members look at different things during the event. 

My friend mentioned that he makes eye contact with team members, particularly new ones, as they give their updates to boost their confidence and encourage them.  Of course team members look at one another during the Daily Scrum!  The Development Team is sharing information and planning its work for the day, and making eye contact with your peers shows that you’re engaged and interested in them.  It seemed so obvious as he said it.

As an agile coach, I observe the Daily Scrum and note how information is being shared within the team; I pay attention to the body language of the team members and the level of information being provided. Is there something not being said?  Are team members engaged? Does the team understand how they will complete the sprint goal?

Since I am not on the Development Team, I generally do not speak during the Daily Scrum. If a team member looks at me while giving his update, I look at the ground. By looking at the ground, I gently encourage that team member to look somewhere else–hopefully at his fellow team members.  This works well in stopping team members from looking at me during the Daily Scrum, but it does not teach them where they should look or how to behave during the event!

According to the Scrum Guide, “the Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team to synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours” and “the Scrum Master ensures that the Development Team has the meeting, but the Development Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum.”  Agile coaches might teach the Development Team how to conduct the Daily Scrum, and the teaching generally happens outside of the event itself.  Development Team members teach one another how to behave in the Daily Scrum during the event

So Development Team members, please look at your teammates during the Daily Scrum.  It is your opportunity to teach one another how to use the Daily Scrum well.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.