Scrum English: Daily Meetings vol. 1

In some of the previous newsletters, we discussed the tenses and compared them against each other in order to better understand how to use them in different contexts. This time around, we are pinpointing those parts of the English language which we need to pay attention to in order to be precise, concise, and correct.

According to the definition, as described in the Scrum Guide:

The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.

The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team. To reduce complexity, it is held at the same time and place every working day of the Sprint. The Daily Scrum [improves] communications, [identifies] impediments, [promotes] quick decision-making, and consequently [eliminates] the need for other meetings.

During the daily scrum, the participants discuss three important topics by answering the following questions:

  • What have I done so far? What did I do yesterday?
  • Do I have any impediments and what am I working on at this moment?
  • What am I going to do today?

These slightly changed questions (for the sake of this newsletter) are the basis of these meetings. At the same time, we can see three different sets of tenses that we need to use in these meetings:

  • Present Perfect Simple and Continuous; Past Simple and Continuous;
  • Present Simple and Present Continuous;
  • Future Simple and other variants.

This question sheds light on what we have done until that one specific daily Scrum meeting. That means that we need to talk about not only one day, but in the previous period, as well.
For example, if this meeting happens somewhere in the middle of a sprint, we will talk about everything we have done from the beginning of the sprint (or from some point in it) until this meeting. It is important to remember that we will not mention specific dates, because the Present Perfect Simple is not used with specific times. Additionally, we can use the Present Perfect Continuous if we are still working on a task. Here are some examples:

Dušan: Hi, team! So far, I have done some integration tests.
Pana: My turn, ok. I have been analyzing several new features in the last couple of days.

However, if we are talking about the period between two daily meetings (the last 24 hours), we will not use this tense, but instead, we will move to Past Simple.

However, if we want to talk about a specific day or a specific context during which something was done, we cannot use the Present Perfect tense, as we need to switch to the Past Simple or Continuous tense:

Perica: So, yesterday I finished the testing on different environments.
Mile: When it comes to me, I was helping Ilija with one difficult task.

As you can see, when we provide a specific time or a time frame or simply a specific context, we need to switch to using either the Past Simple tense or the Past Continuous tense.

Still unsure about which tense to use? Here are some exercises to practice this difference:

Next week, we will be focusing on the second half of the tenses needed to present our case during daily meetings — namely, present and future tenses.

Until next week,

Take care!

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