What are 3 Scrum questions?

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What is Scrum? & What are 3 Scrum questions?

Scrum is an empirical process, which relies on different feedback loops. These three questions happen to be at the innermost feedback loop, which is the daily scrum. Every day, every team member answers the Scrum questions.

3 Scrum questions are

  • What did I do yesterday that helped the development team meet the sprint goal?
  • What will I do today to help the development team meet the sprint goal?
  • Did I see any impediment that prevents the development team or me from meeting the sprint goal?

Now, these Scrum questions have been copied from the most recent scrum guide. In the past, teams used these phrases slightly differently.

Let’s have a look at how people phrased Scrum questions a couple of years ago:

  • What have you done since the last scrum?
  • What will you do between now and the next scrum?
  • What got in your way of doing work
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As you can see, they have softened up over time. Today these questions are more oriented towards the team. I want to share a few of my observations when being in the team and outside asking these questions.

Reporting & Scrum questions

See if people are communicating or reporting. Reporting would look like something where team members look away and only talk to the manager. They communicate by saying what they did yesterday and what they are going to do today. Ideally, they should communicate with the team.

They should say I have done this, and today, I am going to do that. They look at the other teammates and say I will need your assistance for this particular thing to close a ticket. If the teammates face difficulty explaining their tasks correctly, they are likely facing problems understanding their task and need assistance to break down their task.

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Another cool thing about these Scrum questions is you can find people's value here.

For example, a developer might say I was supposed to do this quick hack, but instead, I’ve done this nice refactoring, which is a value because this is a person valuing good quality work.

Finally, you can also spot another dysfunction: when people say we’d been in a meeting all day, we didn’t do anything. And that is usually a cue for you to look into how the organization works.

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Okay, let's move on to the next Scrum question, "What will I do today?"

The most important thing in this question, I would say, is looking at whether people are trying to invite others to share their work. A promising sign of people communicating about their work is when people say, okay, I’m doing this task, and probably in a few hours, it will involve that kind of work at which I happen to know that you are very good.

They are pointing at another team member. So they are inviting. They are synchronizing. They’re telling other people what they do, uh, where they will need help and where they will share work. That’s something very, very powerful.

The other thing to listen for is when people have difficulty saying what they will be doing.

It is a clear sign of improper planning.

If the tasks are not correctly defined, it will be tough to pick a task.

In our experience, the most challenging question in scrum is related to impediments.

We have seen teams often omit this question, or they say no impediments. Now, this can mean multiple things. In the best case, the team operates so smoothly that things are just getting solved as the team works.

That’s pretty much it for all three Scrum questions and what you should observe when your team answers these questions.

E.g., in one of our teams, we went through the tickets and saw some 15 tickets were blocking the team. We forwarded them the list and said these are impediments. We don’t have XYZ installed on the server, so you can’t push your code to production.

They said, yes, we know that, and we can fix that. So we’re not saying anything about it. So for this question, it’s more of what’s not said than said matters the most.

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