Daily Stand ups: Why is it Important?

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As organizations look for ways to compete in today’s global economy, they are turning to Agile practices and methodologies as a way to innovate and get ahead of the competition. In my experience, One of the practices that literally “stands out” among the crowd is the adoption of a daily stand-up meeting. Version One’s 2010 State of Agile Survey polled more than 4,700 participants from 91 different countries and found that 83 percent of respondents indicated they hold daily stand-up meetings.

The process of daily stand ups (Daily Scrum Meeting) is as follows

Goal:

  • Keep team coordinated and up-to-date with each other
  • Surface “blocks” or problems daily
  • Everyone stands in a circle, facing each other
  • Lasts 15 minutes or less.
  • Recommended:
  • Team and SM only (no others)

If any others are attending they can be observers, so that they do not take away the focus of the meeting

1. Everyone reports 3 things

  • What did I do since the last meeting
  • What will I do by the next meet
  • What are my “blocks” or problems

2. No discussion until after meeting ends

3. After the meeting, Scrum Master helps remove the blocks and help find solutions to the problems ( That means team resolves blocks or impediments)

Importance of Daily Stand ups and tips:

  1. The first principle of the Agile Manifesto states “We value individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” A healthy team is one that has a high degree of interaction and knowledge sharing. The daily stand-up promotes this principle creating a forum for everyone on the team to listen and share.
  2. This isn’t status update or reporting up to your manager. Sharing with your peers on the team and listening promotes a self-managed team culture.Get crisp and to the point. The Every day during stand-up, each team member answering the above three simple questions should be focused on what needs to be shared. The questions provide an opportunity to share progress, to set direction and focus, and to share anything blocking progress. Team members should get habituated to the discipline answering these questions rather than getting away or wasting too much time in telling too much information.
  3. Timeliness is very important. Please ensure Daily stand ups meetings go no more than 15 minutes or less. One thing I hear ore commonly is, teams get to the resolution mode of discussion and start discussing about the blocks. The daily stand ups are not meant to discuss the problems they are meant only to report the blocks. Any resolution of the blocks has to be done after the meeting ends.
  4. Teams realize the importance of making work visible; transparency improves the nature of the relationship between the team and the rest of the organization, resulting in higher levels of trust and collaboration.
  5. The Daily Scrum should be held at the same location and the same time every day, ideally in the team space in front of the team’s big visible task board. Please do not do it un official spaces like cafeteria etc. this will remove the focus and seriousness of the Daily Stand up meeting.
  6. The team has an effective ScrumMaster or leader who empowers them to make decisions and helps creating openness, trust.
  7. If your Daily Scrums aren’t working, review the rules: are you really doing a Daily Scrum? If not, why not? If you modify the basic rules of Scrum, you risk accommodating dysfunction. The basic rules are surprisingly well thought out and internally consistent. So as a first step, I would ‘do it by the book’ and see if that helps.

Read Martin Fowler’s collection of patterns for the daily stand up, which provide ideas and patterns for further improvement.

 

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