Why should the Product Owner attend daily Scrum meetings?

By Robert Half on 27 March 2023
Estimated Read Time: 5 minutes

Thoughtfully coordinated scrum attendance has the potential to immensely and positively impact your business. Daily scrums are vital to ensuring your teams work symbiotically and transparently, encouraging higher productivity and overall long-term business success.

The people who usually attend daily scrums are members of the development team, along with a Scrum Master to manoeuvre the scrum. With all these attendees, why should the Product Owner attend daily scrum meetings, you may wonder? Read on to find out.

What is a “scrum”?

Scrum is a project management framework. The word “scrum” is a catchall for different types of meetings held by Scrum teams, who work together to break larger projects into manageable chunks.

A daily scrum, sometimes called a “standup” since it can be held standing up, is a short daily meeting that allows teams to plan and troubleshoot their work for the day. Through teams investing a short portion of their day, typically 10 to 15 minutes, they move ahead with focus, ready to tackle any obstacles that may arise.

There are several benefits of daily scrums — teams are more connected and more engaged, however, the bottom line is arguably what benefits most. Scrums are financially beneficial to organisations because they decrease risk and increase return on investment (ROI) through active participation and adaptation, and increased productivity within teams.

In fact, scrums are so integral to team structure, management, and ethos, that a lot of Singaporean institutions offer official Scrum Master training and certifications.

Related: Network Architect vs System Engineer - what is the difference?

Why should Product Owners attend daily scrums?

According to the Scrum Guide, the daily scrum is a chance for the developers in the team to inspect and adapt. If the Product Owner is actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, the Scrum Guide notes that they participate as Developers.

However, scrum is very adaptable, and there are no hard and fast rules. Yet, there’s an important distinction to make between attending and participating. Even if they do not participate, it is vital for Product Owners to attend daily scrums. Why? Because these daily scrums provide a firm pulse on the day-to-day and any upcoming challenges.

Advantages of Product Owners attending daily scrums

Builds a strong relationship between the Product Owner and development team.

With a Product Owner who is engaged and actively attending daily scrums, over time, the development team will have better communication and openness with the Product Owner

Possible roadblocks can be looked into immediately.

The Product Owner might be able to address any challenges as they foresee them while attending daily scrums.

Development teams don’t have to wait for additional meetings to get answers to questions or concerns from Product Owner.

This makes for a more efficient and engaging work environment by reducing the time a development team has to wait to have questions addressed.

Helps give Product Owners a sense of challenges and goals to prepare for future sprints.

Ideally, Product Owners — who have a wholesome overview of goals and challenges — are able to plan ahead to sufficiently maximise the value of the development team.

Related: What are the different types of Project Management Offices in IT?

Negative impacts of Product Owners skipping daily scrums

We’ve covered why Product Owners should attend daily scrums but what happens in instances where they don’t?

The most important issue is the lack of communication between the Product Owner and the development team. Without it, the development team’s progress stalls — effectively impacting the entire organisation.

From a recruiter’s perspective, Prashanth Krishnappa, Robert Half Singapore Recruiting Manager, who places Product Owners, notes that attending the daily scrum is an effective way to gauge potential candidates and the impact they have on the organisation. “Product Owners who attend daily scrums essentially show long-term thinking, product vision, and excellent communication skills,” explains Prashanth. “Those are things I specifically look out for when I speak to Product Owners in interviews.”

That said, it’s important to note that Product Owners at daily scrums are not overbearing and are attending in an observing or listening capacity first and foremost notes Prashanth. After all, the goal of the daily scrum is not to become a meeting where the Product Owner checks on progress.

Related: Software developer vs software engineer: the difference explained for hiring managers

To conclude, although those newer to the scrum framework tend to overlook the importance of Product Owners attending daily scrums, the benefits of their attendance outweigh any possible disadvantages. As adaptable as the scrum framework is, it is the 15-minute daily scrum that is essential for Product Owners to attend. Of course, Product Owners are busy with hectic schedules, but the 15-minute period is an investment with exponentially high returns.

Looking for Product Owner talent in Singapore? Robert Half can help.

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