One of the aspects of scrum that is often poorly executed despite its simple nature is the daily stand up meeting.
The daily stand up meeting is a brief stand up meeting designed so team members can provide progress updates to the team in a quick, efficient manner. Here is the basic format:
- Daily, 10-15 minute status meeting – keep it short and sweet
- Same place and time every day – encourages routine and rhythm
- Standing up – encourages people to keep it succinct
- The meeting is usually facilitated by Scrum Master, but in practice it can and should be facilitated by any team member
- It is not a meeting to report progress to the scrum master – people should report progress to the team.
- Chickens and pigs allowed (Guests are welcome to observe but if you’re not invested in the outcome, then please stay silent)
Focus on these three questions
– What did you do yesterday?
– What do you plan to do today?
– Do you have any blockers or impediments
Focus on progress
- Scrum master should share a burn-down chart/burn-up chart/ kanban board so team has visibility of progress
- Focus individual updates on progress against stories (e.g. I am about half way through this story, there is about this much left to do). Going into too much detail about how you are implementing it will bloat the scrum meeting. By all means raise problems and explain why a task is taking longer, but keep the focus on the progress.
- Take discussions off-line if you feel a need to discuss a technical implementation, environment problems, release strategies etc. Be realistic! You can't resolve all these things during the scrum meeting. Identify the need to discuss the issue and then get together and discuss it after the scrum.
- Move cards on the board – this gives the feeling of progress and associated positive mood
- If possible, each team member should move the cards they are working on, this gives them sense of ownership on their stories
- The scrum meeting is not the place for:
- technical implementation discussions
- in depth environment discussions
- release planning discussions
- Don’t make a habit of interrupting others. Everyone deserves an opportunity to provide their update without being interrupted.
- Don't treat the stand up as the only time of the day when you can raise issues or talk to your team mates
- No mobile phones! Let’s face it, no-one is that important that they cant put the blackberry on silent for 15 minutes
- The whole point of the stand-up meeting is to provide a quick, efficient progress update
- Discussions can happen outside of the stand-up meeting.
- It is not the only time of the day when you are allowed to talk to your fellow team members
- Straying off topic wastes time for others in the meeting who may not be interested in the issue you are discussing in depth.
Chill out!The stand-up meeting shouldn't be a battle and it doesn't need to be a strict regime of following the scrum rules to the letter of the law BUT you will find that being disciplined about the above "Dos & Don'ts" will keep your meeting under 15 minutes and will probably allow you plenty of time to ask occasional environment/ release/ implementation questions without wasting other people's time.
If you have issues with too many people talking at the same time in the stand up, you can use a ball or some other object to pass around in the scrum meeting. Only the person holding the token can provide an update. This ensures 1 voice at a time and has the added benefit of increasing people's consciousness that they are under the spotlight, thus encouraging more succinct, less chatty, updates. Some teams pass the ball around in a circle but passing randomly increases people's attention levels (I could be next!). The best stand up meetings I’ve been in have had fun speaking tokens (a toy monkey, a foam pig), and are thrown/ flung/ hurled in a random order. The worst, most boring stand ups I’ve attended have been where every participant provides an update in turn … zzzzzzzzz.