Daily Scrum: The Fourth Question

Let’s face it – Daily Scrum happens to be boring meeting sometimes. In the long run it may turn out to be tiresome routine, even for a team that understands its importance.

To make our meetings at SoftwareMill more interesting, we have implemented the idea of The Fourth Question, which I want to share here.

What is the question today?

Basically, apart from the usual three questions (Done yesterday. Plan for today. Blockers.) each member of the team answers additional one. What is the Fourth Question? Well, that is a good question 🙂

The question is announced by the ScrumMaster, who is free to come up with any question they like. This may be something connected with the project or personal.

Each day the question is different. Since in our team the person that leads the meetings changes every week, each member of the team has their chance to ask questions.

Examples

Here is a list of various questions that appeared on our Daily Scrums:

  • How are you feeling today?
  • Which day is the most effective day for you?
  • How useful this meeting is for you?
  • What have you learned recently?
  • What is your favorite shortcut in our IDE?
  • What should we do with people coming late for Scrum?
  • What did you have for breakfast?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What board game did you play recently?
  • What gadget have you bought or received recently?
  • What sport did you practise recently? (And when it was? ;))
  • Ideas to spend time with a child in winter.

Since we are a remote team, we have also asked each other questions like:

  • What type of the office chair have you got?
  • What have you got on your desk that is not connected with your work?
  • Do you listen to the music when you work?
  • How are you making notes?

(Authors: The Whole Team)

Areas of application

This technique

  • is useful for coaching
  • stimulates knowledge sharing
  • will help team members to get to know each other
  • will definitely introduce some fun and diversity 🙂

Guidelines

Of course having one more question might lead to the longer meetings, but with a little bit of discipline it is still possible to keep 15 minutes limit (If this gets difficult you can always ask “What can we do to keep the limit?” ;)).

It is a good practice to announce the question some time before the Daily Scrum. People will then come with the answers ready.

We favor simple questions that can be answered in one sentence.

Give it a try

If you like this idea, do not hesitate and introduce it on your next Daily Scrum meeting. Let me know how it worked in your team and what were your questions.

Have fun with the Fourth Question!

-Paweł

PS See also Łukasz’s post about this idea.

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