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. Here’s what it says about these roles and Scrum accountabilities, and their participation in daily Scrum activities:
Purpose of the daily Scrum
The Scrum guide is very clear that the daily Scrum’s purpose is for developers to inspect their progress and adapt their plan to ensure they meet their development goals before the end of the sprint. From the official 2020 Scrum guide:
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.
Should the Scrum master attend the daily Scrum?
The Scrum guide doesn’t explicitly restrict anyone from attending the daily Scrum.
If developers are struggling to get the most out of the daily Scrum, they can invite the Scrum Master to attend. The Scrum master could then coach them on techniques to get the most out of the daily Scrum.
However, while the Scrum master may attend the daily Scrum, he or she 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’s role is not to tell developers how they should plan their work, or address development-related problems.
The Scrum master may attend the daily Scrum — but 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 to attend the daily Scrum. Nothing in the Scrum guide forbids this.
Sometimes Scrum developers want the product owner attend the daily Scrum so this person can quickly answer questions and provide product backlog clarification.
While it’s both understandable and allowed to ask the Scrum product owner to attend the daily Scrum, it is certainly not required.
If the product owner does attend the daily Scrum, he or she should not actively participate in it. They should only support the activities of the developers.
Drawbacks to oroduct owner attendance
Some Scrum teams eschew the idea to have 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 feel the attendance of the product owner is unproductive, then it is their decision as to whether or not the product owner should attend the daily Scrum.
When is the Scrum master required to attend the daily Scrum?
Only developers are required to attend the daily Scrum.
The official Scrum guide defines a developer as any member of the Scrum team who actively builds features and works to complete product backlog items.
Nothing in the Scrum guide stipulates that a Scrum master or a product owner can’t also 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 at the same time: Scrum master, product owner and developer. Here’s what the official Scrum guide says:
If the Product Owner or Scrum Master are actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers.
If the Scrum master or product owner is actively working on product backlog items, he or she is expected to both attend and participate in the daily Scrum. However, their participation is only in the context of a developer, and should only pertain to the development work they have done.
Daily Scrum participation vs. attendance
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.
Scrum developers drive the daily Scrum 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.