The daily stand up

Source: adding a little pragmatism

The standup up is about checking in with the team to show progress, discuss the way forward and resolve blocking or delaying issues. According to the State of Agile survey by VersionOne the daily stand-up is the most used Agile practice at the moment.

 

 

First off the concept of a standup meeting is older than Agile, but it has regained a lot of attention it the last decade. This is a good thing if used properly. And I know a lot has been said on this already, but learning is in the repetition and I’ll not cover it entirely but just a few points. A good full blown post by Jason Yip can be found here and one that focusses on anti-patters can be found on fishbowl.

The standard rules can be found all over the web so I will not recap them here.

When and how long

I know a lot of companies try and set the time early in the morning for the sake of “starting the day fresh”. One could interpret this that people coming in early are just waiting for the stand up to start the day, I hope that is not the case…

So please drop that excuse and let the team decide on the time to have the standup so they can take travel time and social conditions into account, yes that implies it can change. An example timeframe would be to have them plan it between 08u00 and 12u00, but the specific time should be chosen by the team. By the way the hidden agenda for setting it at 09u00 is usually to make sure everyone is in the office before that time or to have all team leads report to management about the status before 10u00. What this does is just adding to traffic jams (#betrafic).

One of the best timings I’ve experienced is right before lunch, issues and longer discussions were taken offline during lunch.

And for long lasting discussions there are several practical ways to indicate this to the team, examples are the 2 hand rule or the saying “take it offline”.

Where and frequency

Hold it at the same time and place every day, this is the only way to get the team to hold the standup without needing someone to gather the troops. What happens often is that one or two people are “enforcing” the standup on the rest of the team, guess what happens when those people are not in the office? If possible have an “automated start caller” this can be as easy as setting an alarm clock/radio in the workspace, but I’m sure there are other wonderful ideas to accomplish that.

A business “relatable” goal

It should be a just in time planning moment for the team to check progress towards a common goal,for this there is a need for short / mid or long term goals. Preferably closer to today of course and formulated in verifiable benefits. When that goal is clear for all involved,people can self-manage their work towards that goal instead of just focusing on the individual tasks.

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Brett Verlinden, one of our experts, regularly blogs at adding a little pragmatism.

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