Daily Standup – Patterns

I am a huge fan of Jason Yip’s Agile articles. This is a very through article on the patterns for Daily standup meetings.

Here is a link to the full article – It’s Not Just Standing up

My quick summary and sections that I loved:

– Patterns for a good stand up:

+ Standup where the work happens (In front of the story board)
+ Same place and same time every day
+ Everybody updates the storyboard to the correct places in the workflow
+ Start the 15 minute timer after the storyboard is updated
+ Start discussing right to left with people or top to bottom on work effort describing what is happening with each of the work items, and others chiming in if they can help resolve obstacles. The article does suggest alternative options like “last person starts first” etc.
+ The product owner is recording the raised obstacles on the improvement board.
+ The Scrum master interrupts longer discussions on a particular problem and suggest that they should take it offline.
+ Once all the cards are covered ask if anyone else has anything else to share.
+ End in a high note.

– What does stand ups accomplish:

+ Share Understanding of goals
+ Coordinate efforts
+ Share Problems and improvements
+ Identify as a team.

– Who attends?

+ This was interesting to me, my standups have typically been for the team, Jason suggested it is All hands
+ Work Items Attend – People are too Focused on the Runners, not the Baton. That is, everyone is busy but not necessarily progressing work items.

– What do we talk about?

+ To avoid story telling and Problem solving focus on the three questions:

* 1.What did I accomplish yesterday?
* 2.What will I do today?
* 3.What obstacles are impeding my progress?

+ I loved Jonathan Rasmussen’s 3 questions:

* What you did to change the world yesterday?
* How you are going to crush it today?
* How you are going to blast through any obstacles unfortunate enough to be standing in your way?

– Improvement Board

+ This is something I want to add to my standups. I do parking lots for things that need more discussion, Improvement boards will add a lot of value. Please check this section of the article for the sample board.
+ Improvement board includes Obstacles raised in the stand-up are not removed or otherwise addressed in a timely fashion.
+ The simple act of writing an issue down and therefore explicitly acknowledging it is a very reliable way to reduce drawn out conversations.

– What order do we talk in?

+ Last Arrival speaks first – This is a fun way to add punctuality to the standup
+ Round robin
+ Pass the token – adding a football makes it fun and randomizes the order.
+ Take a card
+ Walk the board

– Where and when do we standup?

+ Meet where the work happens, not in a meeting room. If you have a story board meet in front of it.
+ Same Place, Same time – Don’t wait on stragglers.
+ Stand-up to start the day – The focus and awareness is wasted if you start late in the day

– How do we keep energy levels up?

+ Huddle: The stand-up should be more of a Huddle than a meeting. If it’s difficult to hear, bring everyone closer. Beyond allowing for a more relaxed speaking volume, being physically closer tends to cause participants to be more attentive on their own.
+ Stand up: Have all attendees Stand Up during the meeting. Use standing up to link physical with mental readiness. Physical discomfort will also remind attendees when a meeting is taking too long.
+ Fifteen Minutes or less: This avoids story telling and keeps the teams attention focused.
+ Signal the end – To end the meeting with high energy, signal the end of the meeting when the last person has spoken.

– How do we encourage autonomy?

+ Rotate the facilitator
+ Break eye contact – This will avoid reporting to the leader and make it a conversation to each other.

– How do we know when a stand-up is going poorly?

+ Focused on the runner, not the Baton – People are focused on what they are doing and not on the work effort item (Story).
+ Reporting to the leader
+ People are late
+ Socializing – Standups are not intended for team members to catch up with each other or non project related matter.
+ “I cant remember” – Lack of preparation causes slow pace and low energy. A solution to this problem is focusing on the work items in the story board.
+ Story telling & Problem solving
+ Low energy
+ Obstacles are not raised
+ Obstacles are not removed