A daily standup story: Everyone talking at the same time!
Updated: Nov 2, 2021
A recently formed scrum team was demonstrating this behaviour during their daily standup: multiple people started to talk at the same time, leading to parallel conversations within the team, so they were not having a shared understanding of a plan for getting closer to the sprint goal.
They seemed neither comfortable nor aligned about decisions made by the team. Therefore, they avoided having a single conversation to make a common decision.
The pursued behavioural goal was that the team would be coming up with a common plan during the daily standup and also execute the plan agreed.
I talked to the team and we examined what was happening during the meeting, its theoretical purpose and what value they wanted to get out of it. Once we were all aligned, we discussed what options were available to achieve what they intended. It was their first experience working in scrum, they asked me for advice and allowed me to suggest two improvements:
First we introduced a talking token during the daily stand-up, so it would allow the team to have only one conversation and help them focus on what is important to say, mostly trying to make a decision about the daily plan. The second option was to read the sprint board top down, making them discuss one item at a time.
Unfortunately, even if they were coming up with a common plan until the next day, they were not yet executing it. So I changed my strategy, not focusing on the daily standup, but instead on team collaboration during the work day.
What other reasons could explain their behaviour? What other options were available?