Daily Scrum Meeting: What? Why? How Long?

This is the fourth blog post in the "How Much Time Should Each Scrum Practice and Meeting Take" series. This posting focuses on the daily scrum.

The daily scrum is a critical, daily inspect-and-adapt activity. The purpose of the daily scrum is to help a self-organizing team better manage the flow of its work during a sprint to get the job done. The daily scrum allows the development team members to share with each other the big picture of what is happening so that they can collectively understand how much to work on, which items to start working on, and how to best organize the work among the team members in order to meet the sprint goal.

How long should the daily scrum meeting last?

How much time teams should budget for the daily scrum meeting

A common approach to a daily scrum (although not the only approach) is for each member of the development team to address the following three daily scrum questions:

  1. What did I accomplish since the last daily scrum?
  2. What do I plan to work on by the next daily scrum?
  3. What are the obstacles or impediments that are preventing me from making progress?

The rule is that daily scrum meetings should be timeboxed to be no more than 15 minutes. Here is how I think about this rule. Development teams are typically between five to nine people. Each development team member should need no more than 90 seconds to address the three questions listed above. So, if you had a team of nine people, each of whom took 90 seconds to cover the questions, combined with some overhead of getting the meeting started and transitioning from person to person, you would end up with a meeting duration of about 15 minutes.

To emphasize that 15 minutes should be thought of as a timeboxed limit, I have seen experienced Scrum teams of eight or nine people complete their daily scrum in seven to eight minutes.

If you want to read more about the daily scrum, please have a look at Chapter 2 and Chapter 20 the Essential Scrum book.

The previous post in this series is: "How Long Should Teams Spend in Sprint Planning?"

The next post in this series is: "How Long Should the Sprint Review Last?"