Scrum English: Daily Meetings vol. 2

With past events covered in the previous newsletter, we are now onto the second part of this agile approach to tenses (pun intended) where we are about to cover the present.

As previously mentioned, 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.

Today, we are covering the second part of the scrum daily meetings — talking about the present.

This question is easy to answer and we only need to use two tenses:

  • Present Continuous; and
  • Present Simple.

We use the Present Continuous Tense to talk about an action that is in the process of happening at the moment of speaking or around the moment of speaking. The second usage is the one that is tightly connected to the Daily Scrum ceremony. Just imagine — you are in a conference room discussing these questions with your team (meaning, you are not working on anything project-related at that very moment), but you are still using this tense. Why? Because, even though you took a break to attend this meeting, it doesn’t mean that your work has been completed. It only means that it has been put on hold until you finish the meeting. For example:

  • Bojan: OK, and as for the current moment, I am working on the second part of the newly-discussed feature. No impediments on my end.
  • Dušan: As for me, today I am testing the first part of Bojan’s feature and waiting for him to finish the second part as well. I have no impediments, either.

On the other hand, the Present Simple Tense is not as equally present as its Continuous counterpart, but it is still possible to use it. The target context and usage are pretty much the same, but the difference lies in the form and type of the verb (Continuous is used only for actions, while Simple is used for both actions and states):

  • Marko: Today I am in the shadow mode where I am watching what Ana is testing and analyzing the results. Oh, and I don’t have any impediments.
  • Ana: Yep, today I have a student who is monitoring my work and I hope that I can help him. I have one impediment which I would like to discuss after the daily meeting with our designers.

Still in two minds about when to use Present Simple and when Present Continuous? Well, click on the following links to find the exercises that will help you understand the difference better:

In some of the exercises above, you will find cases that show how these two tenses can be used when we talk about the future, as well. However, the focus on the future is a new subject that deserves a newsletter of its own.

Till next week,

Take care!

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