September 28, 2020


News for Agilists

Did you rename Low-Level Planning (a.k.a LLP) daily meeting as Daily Scrum? | by Vikas Agarwal | Serious Scrum | Jul, 2020

LLP is a Low-Level Weekly Plan (explained in detail in the next section) created by the Development Team to meet their weekly goals of software development. It is usually followed in the waterfall project execution methodology. And anyone transitioning to Scrum, after doing LLP for years, will realize the challenges in adjusting to the Daily Scrum.

LLP (Low-Level Plan) is the weekly plan of activities. Each team member creates it to achieve each of their weekly goals.

The information flow goes like HLP → MLP → LLP.

MLP (Mid-Level Plan) derives LLP. MLP, in turn, is the detailed plan based on HLP (High-Level Plan). The project manager creates the HLP during the project planning phase. The project manager owns both the artifacts — MLP and HLP.

MLP looks like:

The team discusses LLP in a recurring daily LLP meeting. The meeting duration varies from 15 min to 30 min, depending on project complexity and team size.

Only a few of the best teams can complete LLP in the time-box.

For the meeting, the team creates the LLP board either on a physical whiteboard or on an excel sheet.

The LLP Board has a pre-determined format, and should have the following columns:

  1. Name: It is the name of the team member.
  2. Smiley: It is the mood of the team member. The project manager asks each team member how they are feeling today. And updates the board with 🙂 (good), 🙁 (bad) or :-|(neutral)
  3. Tracking: It depicts the aheadness/behindness to the plan. The team members write “+n” (hours ahead of the plan), “-n” (hours behind the plan), “0” (on-track).
  4. M, T, W, T, F: These are five columns named Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Each day has the list of activities that the individual team member will perform during that day. Each team member must plan their entire week. They must write a list of specific tasks that they will do each day. It should also contain the estimate of hours that each task will take.
  5. Weekly goal: Each team member writes the weekly goal that he/she is targeting to achieve during that week.

The LLP Board also has a separate section. This section has themes such as Announcements, Recognition, Issues, Dependencies, Risks, etc.

On top of the LLP board, the team will write the Team slogan and the Team name. The team chants (instead shouts) the Team Slogan every day and self-motivates them. One of the examples of Team Slogan could be:-

The famous song “Who let the dogs out…” gets converted to team slogan like “Who gets the project complete, We We We !!!

The project manager controls the LLP meeting. The project manager questions the status and later updates the MLP and HLP to bring them up to date. This information also feeds into preparing the weekly status report.

Cancel it, right? Some teams rename the LLP meeting to the Daily Scrum call. They communicate to the team that “Now we will call LLP as Daily Scrum.”

Now we will call LLP as Daily Scrum!

They think that change should be slow. The team must not cut down on delivery during transformation.

Some of the other actions that the teams are:

  1. Rename LLP meeting to Daily Scrum meeting.
  2. The weekly goals of all individual team members created the composite goal statement. This composite statement is called the Sprint Goal.
  3. Each team member answers the three questions — What did they do yesterday? What will they do today?, and Are there any impediments?
  4. They retain the “tracking.” The Project Manager turned Scrum Master use it to update the MLP and HLP. He/She also prepares the weekly status report using this input.
  5. They retain the smiley to promote empathy.
  6. They keep recognitions, slogans, etc. to create self-motivation.

The Daily Scrum Call is another LLP meeting with a different name. The team does not feel much change, but they are happy that they have started their Agile journey. They believe that they have implemented Scrum only by following the mechanics. (Read my another article on Scrum mechanics — Have you understood Scrum? Or have you understood Scrum?).

Let us look at how Daily Scrum differs from LLP: —

The LLP meeting focuses on individual team members’ goals. Whereas the Daily Scrum helps the team focus on one Sprint Goal. The Scrum team sets the Sprint Goal during the Sprint Planning meeting. The Development team works to achieve the Sprint Goal. In the LLP, individual weekly targets (or goals) are set and owned by individual team members and not the team.

The LLP meeting focuses on individual team members’ status. The Daily Scrum focuses on the progress of the Development Team towards the Sprint Goal.

The LLP meeting tracks progress against estimates (ahead, on-track, or behind). Whereas, in the Daily Scrum Call, the team tracks the progress towards the Sprint Goal.

The LLP meeting is a team member-centric meeting. Each member of the team tells their status in a round-robin fashion. The Daily Scrum helps the team focus on the tasks that lead to the Sprint Goal.

The project manager runs the LLP meeting and controls it. The Daily Scrum provides an opportunity for the Development team to inspect and adapt their progress towards the Sprint Goal.

The LLP status acts as an input to update MLP and HLP. The project manager updates and reports the status to the stakeholders. During the Daily Scrum, the Development Team may update the Sprint Backlog. The Sprint Backlog provides transparency to stakeholders on the team’s progress.

“The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute time-boxed event for the Development Team. The Daily Scrum is held every day of the Sprint. At it, the Development Team plans work for the next 24 hours. This optimizes team collaboration and performance by inspecting the work since the last Daily Scrum and forecasting upcoming Sprint work.” — The Scrum Guide, 2017

“Now we will call the LLP meeting as Daily Scrum”. This statement may prove to be a roadblock in the adoption of Scrum Framework. The team may still follow the LLP behavior with only the name changed to Daily Scrum. They may get a false sense of achievement that they have implemented the Scrum framework. To be successful, the team must know the purpose behind each Scrum event.

Renaming the LLP meetings to the Daily Scrum is one of the anti-patterns. There are many such anti-patterns which block the Scrum adoption. In one of my previous articles, I had discussed another anti-pattern on the Definition of Done. These anti-patterns usually create a false impression of Scrum Framework implementation. To succeed, the teams must try to identify and avoid using these anti-patterns.

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