Who is required to attend the Daily Scrum?
Who attends the Daily Scrum?
Only the developers on a Scrum Team are required to attend the daily Scrum.
The Scrum Guide only mentions five types of participants on a Scrum project. Of these roles and Scrum accountabilities:
- Only Scrum Developers are required to attend the Daily Scrum
- The Product Owner is not required to attend the Daily Scrum
- The Scrum Master is not required to attend the Daily Scrum
- The stakeholders are not required to attend the Daily Scrum
- The customers are not required to attend the Daily Scrum
Purpose of the Daily Scrum
The Scrum Guide makes it very clear that the Daily Scrum is a time for the developers to inspect their progress and adapt their plan to ensure they meet their development goals before the end of the Sprint.
“The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team… The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, as long as their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal.”
The 2020 Scrum Guide, page 9
Should the Scrum Master attend the Daily Scrum?
The Scrum Guide doesn’t explicitly restrict anyone from attending the Daily Scrum.
If the developers are struggling to get the most out of the Daily Scrum, they may choose to invite the Scrum Master to attend. This might allow the Scrum Master to coach them on techniques to get the most out of the Daily Scrum.
However, while the Scrum Master may attend the Daily Scrum, they should not be an active participant.
Attendance vs participation
The Daily Scrum is a short, 15 minute discussion to address development issues and build an actionable plan for the day. The Scrum Master has no role in telling developers how they should plan their work or address development-related problems. The Scrum Master may attend the Daily Scrum. They should not drive the Daily Scrum. That’s the job of the developers.
Should the Product Owner attend the Daily Scrum?
Many teams ask the Product Owner (PO) to attend the Daily Scrum. There is nothing in the Scrum Guide that forbids this.
Sometimes Scrum Developers like to have the Product Owner attend the Daily Scrum so they can quickly answer questions when Product Backlog clarification is required.
Asking the Scrum Product Owner to attend the Daily Scrum is both understandable and allowed, but it is certainly not required.
If the Product Owner does attend, they should not actively participate in the Daily Scrum. They should only be there to support the activities of the developers.
Drawbacks to Product Owner attendance
Some Scrum teams eschew the idea of having the Product Owner attend the Daily Scrum.
During the Daily Scrum, developers must be allowed to speak freely and honestly about blockers, impediments and progress.
On some teams, the Product Owner is tightly aligned with management and stakeholders, which can intimidate developers and impact their ability to be open and honest.
If the developers don’t feel the attendance of the Product Owner is productive, then it is their decision as to whether the PO should attend the Daily Scrum or not.
When is the Scrum Master required to attend the Daily Scrum?
Only developers are required to attend the Daily Scrum.
A ‘developer’ are defined in the Scrum Guide as any members of the Scrum Team who is actively building features and working to complete Product Backlog items.
There is nothing in the Scrum Guide that stipulates that a Scrum Master or a Product Owner can’t do development.
In small companies and budget-strapped startups, it’s not unusual for the same person to be responsible for all three Scrum accountabilities and act as a Scrum Master, Product Owner and developer at the same time.
“If the Product Owner or Scrum Master are actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers.”
The 2020 Scrum Guide, page 9
If the Scrum Master or Product Owner are actively working on Product Backlog items, they are expected to both attend and participate in the Daily Scrum. However, their participation is only in the context of a developer, and their participation should only pertain to the development work they have done.
Daily Scrum participation
More meaningful than who should attend the Daily Scrum is a discussion on who should participate in the Daily Scrum.
Only the people on the Scrum Team who are doing active development on Product Backlog items are expected to participate in the Daily Scrum.
Others can attend the Daily Scrum if the developers are agreeable to it. Those in attendance can also passively participate by answering questions and engaging if the developers engage them first.
So long as the Scrum developers drive the Daily Scrum and use it to inspect their progress and adapt their Sprint plan to ensure the Sprint Goal stays in focus, the techniques, tools and the people they invite to attend is purely up to them.