The latest version of the Scrum Guide states “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 creates focus and improves self-management.“
Depending on how one interprets that second quote, taking minutes from the standup might seem to be an acceptable technique. Certainly if someone outside of the team has imposed this requirement that would be a “bad” thing, but what if the team has decided to do so for themselves?
Let’s take a look at some reasons why someone might want to have minutes produced from daily standups.
- We discuss so much that we need to ensure that none of the actions or decisions get lost. This smells fishy as how much could possibly be covered in under fifteen minutes which would be forgotten over the course of a single day? This might be caused by a team taking longer than the recommended duration or going too far down a rabbit hole regarding a single topic which might have been better taken offline with a smaller group. Now if one team member is concerned that they might forget something of importance, they could certainly take some personal notes, but producing minutes is overkill.
- Some of our team members aren’t able to attend the daily standups. If this is a chronic situation, then the team might want to discuss the timing of the standup as well as confirming that it is deemed to be of value to the team as a whole. But if once in a while someone is unable to attend, then a better approach would be for that person to follow up with one of their fellow team members afterwards to get up to speed.
- Someone outside of the team wants to understand what’s going on. Great! The team should welcome an outsider who is genuinely interested in the team’s work and should invite them to participate as an observer at the event, or, if they are unable to do so, point them to the key information radiators and artifacts (e.g. burndown charts, work board) used to support the discussion at the daily standups.
- We need to hold the team accountable for their work. And you feel that producing minutes from the event is going to create accountability if there is no follow through on what was discussed at the daily standup? Sounds like some serious coaching is needed with the stakeholders who are feeling this way.
- We need something to confirm what needs to be updated in our work board after the standup is done. Really? If the team truly embraces the pillar of transparency, then their work board should always reflect the current state of the work and their work flow and shouldn’t need to be retroactively brought up-to-date.
I’m not against documenting outcomes from the standup where it will be of value to the team. For example, if a particular work item is blocked and the team feels there is value in updating the work item details with their plan of attack, more power to them. But these should be informal, minimally sufficient annotations that could be made by someone during the standup itself.
Anything beyond this is a form of waste at best and an invitation for micro-management from stakeholders outside of the team at worst.
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