What happens when a Scrum team doesn’t achieve the goals of the Daily Scrum? Other than getting the stink eye from the Scrum Master, it leads to a poor plan for the day, which can lead to bigger problems (like not achieving the Sprint Goal).

The Anti-Goals

  1. Not checking progress toward the Sprint Goal
  2. Not creating a plan for today
  3. Ignoring impediments
  4. Not making daily forecasts
  5. Not creating healthy peer pressure
  6. Working on too many things at once
  7. Not focusing

In case you missed it, these anti-goals are based on the goals of the Daily Scrum.

Not Checking Progress Toward the Sprint Goal

This is like filling a cup with water while wearing a blindfold. When a team doesn’t inspect the progress they have made and figure how much they have left to do, they have no idea if they’ll complete the Sprint Goal. Teams that struggle with this rarely ask, “When will we be done with [insert Sprint Goal or PBI here]?”

Not Creating a Plan for Today

Without a plan for the day, team members don’t know how they will work together to accomplish the Sprint Goal. Things will feel chaotic, and people will likely feel frustrated.

This usually happens when teams spend too much time problem solving, although it can also happen when team members dive too far into the details of the tasks they are working on. So instead of talking about what piece of the Sprint Goal they will work on and whom they will work with, they talk about what files they will create or update. This usually spurs at least one other team member to disagree and add their two cents. The digression continuous until someone says that they should talk about it after the Daily Scrum.

Ignoring Impediments

When team members know something is slowing them down but do not address it, they hurt the team’s productivity and also put the Sprint Goal in jeopardy.

Not Making Daily Forecasts

Without team members saying what they will do and when they expect to be done, there will be nothing for which they can hold themselves accountable. This can be indicative of a team that does not trust each other enough to be vulnerable with each other.

Not Creating Healthy Peer Pressure

A team member said he would get something done by today’s Daily Scrum, but he’s still not done. He doesn’t give an explanation, and no one on the team asks why there was a delay or offers help. This frequently happens on teams that are not comfortable with healthy conflict. It is also a direct result of a team not making daily commitments.

Working on Too Many Things at Once

Working on too many things at once results in nothing quickly getting done. This is particularly apparent when teams have a bad habit of starting work on every single Product Backlog item on day one of a Sprint and do not finish anything until the last couple days of the Sprint. Not only is this risky, but the context switching results in lost productivity.

Not Focusing

Pop-tarts. The new CEO. That PBI for next Sprint. Squirrels.

What do all of these things have in common? They have nothing to do with accomplishing the goal for the current Sprint.

Daily Scrums that suffer from a lack of focus are quickly derailed by unrelated topics and from diving too far into the details of tasks. Problem solving is the norm rather than identifying problems and deciding who will solve them after the Daily Scrum is over.