Two Guys Arguing

Stand up sit down fight fight fight

Posted in software development by benjaminplee on 01.23.10

Prompted by a question from my good friend Kevin Berridge about agile team stand-up meetings, I quickly came up with a long list of do’s and don’ts but nothing substantial.  Nothing immediately profound.  Any quick google search can give you tips, tricks and pitfalls.  I wanted something more.  To try and ignite my thoughts I began writing down words that came to mind when I thought about a good daily standup meeting …

Wordle: daily stand up meetings

When daily standups go well, the team has a clear understanding of how they go to where they are today, where they are trying to go, and the route they are going to follow.

When daily standups go bad, individuals get frustrated, time is wasted, problems reoccur, and the meeting ends up being a means to justify paychecks and appease management.

Whether you focus your meeting on what each individual did yesterday/is doing today/is blocked by or on how the story board changed from yesterday, the real goal should be focusing the team toward a common short term goal, and making any impediments very visible. The meeting should be for the team, by the team and to the team.

Often I see standups where everyone ends up telling the PM/Scrum Master/Team Lead what they worked on yesterday and an excuse about not yet knowing what they were going to do today.  Have the team talk to the team.  If what you are sharing doesn’t have value to the rest of the team, don’t share it right now.  If a detailed discussion starts between on some members of the team, wait until the standup is over.  If the meeting stops providing value at 5 minutes, stop the meeting.  If the meeting is going past 10-15 minutes, stop and have the team decide if it should continue or be broken up in favor of smaller discussions.

Daily standups are great way to get everyone on the same page, re-focus the team on the highest priority items, and lay out a quick plan of attack.  Like time-outs in the middle of a big game, they need to help bring everyone together and formulate a short term plan to victory.  Especially when King James shows up.

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