“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein
Every software is a collaborative effort of skill and people. The daily stand-up is a practice where teams share progress and the whole team can visualize the trajectory of the project ahead.
Here are a few practices teams should follow to make the meeting more meaningful.
Remain Standing, Avoid Chairs
Sounds like a gimmick, right? This is a necessity rather than formality. Being standing keeps the team focused and reduces rambling. Don't get comfortable and don't allow others as well. Daily Standup meetings are called that for a reason — so, stand up! If everyone sits and becomes too relaxed, the meeting may run overtime, and team members might start getting distracted.
“By too much sitting still, the body becomes unhealthy soon the mind.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Want to eliminate sitters? Remove all chairs from the meeting room.
The discomfort of standing for long periods is also intended to keep the meetings short.
Three Simple Questions
Answer the following three simple questions:
- What did you accomplish since the last meeting?
- What are you working on until the next meeting?
- What is getting in your way or keeping you from doing your job?
That’s all. Nothing more or less.
Talk Less, Be Informative
Be as to-the-point as possible. Be on track and speak what team needs to know.
Don't make stand-up a place of technical discussion.
Take less time and give others the opportunity to say something and make the stand-up short in duration.
“The smarter you get, the less you speak.” — Old Arabic proverb
Sometimes team members are so focused on their turn to talk, they don’t listen to what their counterparts are saying. Imagine in one stand-up a QA specialist clearly stated the impediments — a server she needed wasn’t working; there were problems with some development tool licensing — that prevented her from completing that day’s tasks. When he finished, each person proceeded to answer the questions and the meeting seems adjourned.
Team Over Person
During stand-up, a team member should give updates to the team members instead of the scrum master, or the agile coach, or a member of the team.
The scrum team should share each other’s progress during the meeting. There is no superior role or high command.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” — Michael Jordan
Scrum stand-up is for the team and by the team.
Keep It Short
Don’t make scrum meetings long, ideally between 10 and 15 minutes. Long meetings are boring and unproductive.
“ Keep it small and keep it going.” — Jason Aldean
A scrum stand-up should act like a boost-up meeting instead of a lengthy show-off meeting.
If you hold your Daily Standup meetings every day, try not to skip a day (unless there is an emergency or issue). Missing a meeting may throw your team out of the routine and derail the Scrum process, which may end up hurting the project being worked on.
Routines are great for teams who are working within a structured Agile methodology because sticking to the process leads to the ideal outcome for your product or project. If meetings are held at a different time each day or week, it will throw off the whole team.
Raise a Blocker, Skip the Solution
Don’t try to find a solution during the stand-up meeting. If you have an idea, set up another meeting later.
“ The problem contains the solution.” — Michael Bierut
Often, when a blocker issue has been raised, people start to discuss the possible solution and get distracted from other people’s updates. So, during the stand-up, inform the team about the blocker and skip the solution for now.
Be on Time
Stand-ups should be on time, not a minute early or a minute late. Build a culture of being on time before the stand-up.
“Punctuality is the thief of time.“ — Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Doesn’t matter if some are missing but make sure you start the meeting and end the meeting on time.
Be Gentle and Kind
This is a part of human nature, we all like to say it loud when we’ve accomplished something and that’s not bad at all. Appreciating accomplishments is a must to keep the momentum of the team.
But you should make sure to use it to raise the momentum of the other members too, not to demotivate them. If anyone is overstating their accomplishments, it’s the duty of the team to moderate it and advise them to communicate concisely, what it is, as it is.
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.” — Saint Francis de Sales
Try turning accomplishments into a team achievement and do not forget to appreciate the endeavors during the stand-up.
Stick to the Team
Stand-up meetings are for the team to get an update, if you are to invite anyone else, try to arrange a separate meeting while clearly defining the purpose of the meeting and having a proper agenda of the discussion points.
Sometimes, there can be instances where your delivery head, managing director, or internal people (but external to the team) might jump in but as the scrum team, it is necessary to make sure the scrum master is heading the meeting during the 10 to 15 minutes of daily stand-up.
Avoid Repeating the Same Impediments Over and Over Again
Well, the same everyday issues boil down to the duties of the scrum master. The scrum master should be responsible for resolving the issue.
In the case where they have tried every possible way and if it’s a blocker that’s going to stay for a while, it’s again the duty of the scrum masters to initiate an action to resolve the issue.
Researching the blocking issue, identifying the responsible parties, having discussions, and listing to the possible actions and duration for resolving are included in the duties of the scrum master.
They should communicate the solutions to the team with the available options, while taking the initiative to select and execute the best action with the opinion of the scum team.
If nothing’s going to work in favor of resolving it, it is better to communicate during the stand-up meeting, remove it from the sprint backlog until it is resolved with the consent of the whole team.
Don’t Forget Your Remote Mates
Even though Standups are short meetings, team members working remotely can still bring valuable input even though they aren’t in the same room. It can be time-consuming to set up a voice or video call, so using a digital workspace to involve remote workers is the best option for this type of meeting.
Thanks for reading! I hope this will help you and your team.