Post 3 — Standing up the Daily Standups

Tips for the Best Scrum Ceremonies Ever!

We’re standing for this meeting?

What Is a Daily Stand Up?

The daily stand-up is a meeting which occurs every day for a very short duration (usually 15 minutes) and is primarily used for team members to discuss the progress of the current sprint and to help each other remove any impediments that are slowing down the delivery.

· Daily stand ups are time boxed (15 minute) ceremonies which happen every day in an Agile Team

· This usually happens at the same time, for the same amount of time, and preferably at the same place

· This ceremony is primarily for the development team. The Scrum Master and Product Owner are involved as facilitator and spectator, respectively. Other stakeholders can also join as spectators.

· This is the place where the team discloses both progress and impediments during a sprint

Here are some tips to help your standups hum along:

# 1: Share the progress, not the status!

The daily stand up is not a status update meeting, rather more of a daily planning/communication forum that ideally happens at the start of the day. In a distributed agile environment, it is held during an overlap time to make sure both onshore & offshore teams join on a bridge and/or an online sharing tool. Here all team members communicate on their task progress on planned versus real state. Ideally, the daily stand up should give insight on the overall progress of the stories committed in that sprint.

# 2: Show the Showstopper but don’t try to solve it at stand up!

If you miss showing the showstopper during the daily stand up call, then you probably miss an opportunity to discuss these roadblocks with the scrum team for that day and it may keep all issues and dependencies invisible to other stakeholders. This usually happens when team members are reluctant to discuss known issues and so it is important that the standup be deemed a “safe place” to discuss any and all impediments to a sprint.

# 3: Be Brief, Specific and Precise!

Many newer team members don’t have enough experience to be efficient on the daily stand up call. The Scrum Master should drive the first few daily stand up calls to make sure that the team follows the rules necessary to communicate their current task progress and any roadblocks in a timely manner. Team members should be very precise while stating their progress over the task and should be gently reminded that this is not the time for storytelling. The idea is to be very specific:

· Stories / Tasks completed since the last meeting

· Stories / Tasks planned till next meeting

· Anything blocking progress or slowing you down for that day

Use parking lot items for anything beyond the above points and defer longer discussions for after the daily stand up call.

# 4: The three questions to answer (briefly :))

1. “What have I accomplished since our last meeting?”

2. “What do I plan to accomplish until our next meeting?”

3. “What (if anything) are the obstacles/ blockers that may impede my ability to deliver these accomplishments?”

#5. Track and review story burn-down vs. task burn-down at the end of each standup. Remember, credit toward velocity is only applied for stories completed and velocity is what is used to measure the team’s ability to get the MVP done by the release date within the release plan. This will keep the team on track to deliver!

Bringing it all together:

The daily stand up is an integral ceremony in the scrum framework that opens the communication lines between team members and stakeholders, creates transparency and keeps the sprint moving forward.

Stay tuned for my upcoming posts for tips about on the Sprint Review and Retrospective.

Robin Morgan is a LeapFrog Systems Agile Player / Coach with over 15 years of experience leading successful teams and projects.

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