Managing outsiders in the daily standup

Daily Stand Up Outsiders

Do you often get outsiders to your daily stand up?

I have worked with scrum teams where ‘outsiders’ like to attend and see whats going on. Sometimes they are just silent observers who just like to see whats going on, but do you ever get visitors who start to contribute, butt in, even disrupt the meeting?

If you are a scrum master, how do you deal with these scenarios, what if the visitor is a senior manager or the CEO? Should you tell them to be quiet?

Dealing with Outsiders

Often you might find that these visitors are not familiar with scrum, or specifically the format of the daily stand up. You obviously don’t want to be rude, or make the visitor feel uncomfortable. I mean it should feel nice that the CEO is taking an interest in what you are doing and you would not want to ruin any goodwill that they currently have.

My advise would be to before the meeting starts and you have visitors; start by reminding everyone about the scheduled part of the meeting, and then any questions or feedback can occur after.

Start with something like “Welcome to the daily stand up, we will start with the scheduled part of the meeting with the daily update. Then after if any of the observers have any questions these can be addressed after”.

I think its a good way to start the meeting and set the ‘ground rules’ for the next 15 minutes.

You might actually find that most of the questions will be answered during the meeting, and any other questions can be directed to the development team, product owner or scrum master. Anyone who is not impacted can leave and move on with their day.

Impact on the Meeting

One last thing to consider is the impact that visitors might have on the meeting. If the CEO or a direct manager attend the stand up, the team might not be as forth coming or open as with issues.

If you notice that the feel of the meeting has changed due to frequent outsiders, then you probably need to speak to them privately and ask that they reduce their visits.

And the end of the day, its a team meeting. The benefit is for the team. During the meeting, everyone needs to be comfortable and there needs to be complete transparency in order to have an effective scrum team.

As a scrum master, its your job to facilitate the meeting, making sure it runs smoothly and managing the fine line with making the meeting effective for the team and managing participation from people outside the team.

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