Daily SCRUMs – The Fourth question

Scrum is one of the most widely used software developement methodology especially in agile environment. It is an iterative, incremental and adaptive process for managing SDLC.

Please refer to following link for understanding basics of Scrum


In Scrum environment, developement cycles are timeboxed in “Sprints”. Typically, a sprint lasts for 30 days. Goals for each sprint are well defined and agreed upon by all the stackholders including development team and management before the start of sprint.

The Scrum meeting
Each day during the sprint, a project status meeting is arranged. This is called a scrum. The scrum has specific guidelines:
The meeting starts precisely on time with team-decided punishments for tardiness.The meeting is timeboxed at 15 minutes regardless of the team’s size All attendees should stand The meeting should happen at the same location and same time every day I do not see much value in point#3 above. I believe attendees shall sit in a comfortable settings, if not for anything else at least for comfort.During the meeting, each team member answers three questions:What have you done since yesterday? What are you planning to do by tomorrow? Do you have any problems preventing you from accomplishing your goal? (It is the role of the ScrumMaster to remember these impediments.) I have found asking a fourth question in addition for three mentioned above very useful. I would also ask:4. Did you have any problems or impediments yesterday which prevented or slowed down your progress?I have observed especially in fast paced agile environment, developers sometimes try to solve problems by themselves not realizing the impact on the schedule. In some cases, they do not seek help either because they are fearful, feel embarrasment or do not have patience to explain problems to others. Fourth question can force them to open up more and seek intervention as needed. However, as a scrum master you shall encourage open communication. I have generally told team members to seek scrum master’s help, if they get stuck on an issue for more than 45 mins. As a scrum master, you shall maintain a list of such issues and proactively look for signs for their reoccurence. If you see it coming, imploy neccessary preventive measures. It is always easy to manage “Known Unknown” risks, since you know about those and have a strategy in place to manage those, if they occur. However, just by asking one additional question, I have been able to manage “Unknown Unknown” risks more effectively. You may not be able to prevent it from happening for the first time but definitely can prevent a reoccurence.Please do let me your thoughts..praises and brickbats are all welcome…