My name is Alexander, and I am an Agile Coach.While working as an Agile Coach I saw many of the teams and faced many of their problems.One of the most widespread, but hidden problems is having a good Stand Up meeting.
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“…meeting every morning to communicate problems, solutions, and promote team focus.” (XP)
Why the meeting called stand up meetings? Some people are talkative and tend to wander off into Story Telling. Some people want to engage in Problem Solving immediately after hearing a problem. Meetings that take too long tend to have low-energy and participants not directly related to a long discussion will tend to be distracted.ThereforeHave 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. A simple way to encourage this is to simply hold the meeting where there are no chairs.Some people feel really uncomfortable during stand up meetings and this can influence on the information they shareTotally different approach was suggested by Thomas Schranz , founder of Blossom lean tools.That’s why we start by brewing and enjoying tea together. It’s a beautiful ritual which reminds us to slow down and to clear our minds. It connects us to the moment. A day can be full of challenges and distractions, so we want to make time to contemplate about what we do. The tea ritual acts as a buffer between the Stand-Up and whatever comes before it.https://www.blossom.io/blog/2012/09/17/3-tips-for-quick-effective-stand-up-meetings.html
http://fabiopereira.me/blog/2011/02/28/walk-the-wall-stand-up-meeting/There is a proposed format for stand-up meetings which suggests that each team member should provide answers to the following three questions:What did you do yesterday?What will you do today?Are there any impediments in your way?The structure is not as important as the information the answers to the questions provide. If the information is provided in a less structured protocol, it is not important to stick to a checklist. As teams mature, you may find you want to adjust the structure, which is reflective of how this pattern has already evolved.The Yesterday/Today format is a good way to start with, do not get me wrong. I think it’s very important for teams that are not used to communicating daily to start with that format. I just think that we should always look for improvements as opposed to just following a pre-determined format… Recently we have been trying something a little bit different and it turned out to be much more effective, I’ll explain why. Jason Marcotte coined the term as the Walk the Wall Stand-Up Meeting, I quite liked it.Basically the sequence of the stand-up meeting is determined by our Story Wall. Each item on the wall gets discussed taking into account the 3 questions mentioned before.Walking the wall allows more than one team member to talk about something, e.g.: explain what they were working on yesterday. It could be that they were actually pairing on that particular item and have similar things to say about it. It also allows people to talk to each other about a particular item (Story, Task or anything on the wall) that is relevant to the entire team. But…Keep an eye on the quiet members of your team… One of the good things about the Yesterday/Today stand-up is that everyone gets to say something, which empowers and therefore motivates them.
Therefore, there is an importance of having visual boards on the stand up.Most Agile and Lean teams will use a visual management system to expose what is being worked on. For Agile software development, this might be called a “task board”, “story wall”, or “Kanban board”. The workplace has many memory triggers about what is going on.We also don’t want the daily meeting to require a lot of overhead coordinating, finding, and walking to rooms.So, Meet Where the Work Happens, not in a meeting room. If you have a “story wall” or “Kanban board”, meet in front of that.If there are no information radiators, or other people nearby may find the noise of the meeting disruptive, of course the meeting room can be used with projecting electronic board on the screen or even using a laptop with electronic board.
Some people are talkative and tend to wander off into Story Telling. Some people want to engage in Problem Solving immediately after hearing a problem. Meetings that take too long tend to have low energy and participants not directly related to a long discussion will tend to be distracted. Other topics of discussion (e.g., design discussions, gossip, etc.) should be deferred until after the meeting.Use a simple and consistent phrase like “Take It Offline” as a reminder that such discussions should take place outside of the daily stand-up. If the discussion wasSocialising, nothing more is required. If the discussion was Problem Solving, the facilitator (and eventually just the team) should ensure that the right people are nominated or sign up to deal with the issue later.ButThere is a difference between Problem Solving and a clarifying question. Information that is not understood is not useful. The extent upon which clarifying questions are allowed should vary depending on how large the team is and whether it will impact the time of the meeting.Kaizen newspaper.Post raised obstacles to an Improvement Board, or Impediment Board, or Kaizen newspaper. This is a publicly visible whiteboard or chart that identifies raised obstacles and tracks the progress of their resolution. Kaizen newspaper can be updated outside of stand-ups and serves as a more immediate and perhaps less confronting way to initially raise obstacles.Another form: kanban boardAnother form: your invention (check-in, party)
Having a facilitator decide who speaks next is a subtle though definite force against self-organisation. The team should know without intervention who speaks next.People decide themselves - OK, if this works. Good for self-organizing teams. Bad that some people may be forgotten and some chaos can appear.Use a simple predetermined rule like a Round Robin to determine who should go next. It doesn't matter if it is clockwise or counter-clockwise. What does matter is that the team runs the meeting, not the facilitator or manager.Pass the TokenWith simple, predictable ordering mechanisms (e.g., Round Robin), it is very easy for participants to ignore other speakers until it is closer to their turn. There may be a tendency to think of other things rather than pay attention to what others are saying.Introduce an unpredictable ordering mechanism, like tossing a speaking token (e.g., a ball) to determine who should speak next. Having a speaking token also simplifies deciding who speaks first as it will be the person who happens to have retrieved the token (or the first person s/he tosses the token to).Tossing something around introduces a bit of fun to the daily stand-up ritual and thus serves as a good infection mechanism for other observing teams.We used a small juggling ball but almost anything can be used as token. Other teams have used rugby balls or even plush toys.With larger teams, it may become difficult to remember who has already spoken. In those cases, it may be easier to stick to simpler mechanisms.Also, if people drink tea.Have each team member Take a Card to determine which order to speak. Imagine a stack of cards, each of which has a number on it. As each team member comes to the meeting, they can select a card which then tells them what order to speak in.
We want the team to have a sense of ownership of the stand-up.This is difficult if any particular team member is allowed to force a delay or change of location of the stand-up.Have the team agree on and run the daily stand-up at the Same Place, Same Time. Do not wait for stragglers, including architects and managers. The meeting is for the whole team, not for any particular individual. A good practice is not repeating information as latecomers arrive for the meetings. This is disrespectful to everyone else and sends the message that it is OK to be late.To ensure that the meeting time is not skipped, you can use even some out-of-box tricks, if your team sits together and you will not disturb other teams. Imagine playing a motivation song at the same time in the morning, every day.Example: real slim shady, please stand up; stand up for the champion; get up stand up by Bob MarleyWhat to do when people are always late?There are some practices to have fines or punishments, but first let’s understand why the people are late.Does the meeting start right from the beginning of working hours or there is a time slack? "15 mins of slack" before a meeting is not enough. When I come to work, I have to read mail and look at what I have done yesterday in order to know what it was, so I can tell the others. Others will need to have had a cup coffee before being able to start thinking straight. Where I worked we usually had at least 30mins, sometimes even more.Provide a buffer between meetings that occur before the stand-up. If there is another meeting that precedes the stand-up, make sure the stand-up is not scheduled when the other meeting ends. Instead add a buffer of 10 to 15 minutes so that the stand-up is not impacted by any upstream meetings that runs over.The time of daily scrum is a team decision and the punishments and fines for late arrival is only team decision. Keep in mind that people need to understand importance of presenting on stand up on time, and not use fines as the way to pay off their participation. Good time to discuss the rules are retrospective meetings.Approaches:Late person has to buy breakfast to all other team members (two donuts for every team member).Dancing if late.Having a slowpoke board.A good practice is not repeating information as latecomers arrive for the meetings. This is disrespectful to everyone else and sends the message that it is OK to be late.
To start the day with stand up or not to start?The daily stand-up meeting provides focus and awareness of outstanding issues. If it occurs late in the day, this focus and awareness is wasted.Use the Stand-up to Start the Day. With flexible work hours, not every team member will arrive at work at the same time. A common practice with “flex-time” is to use a set of core working hours. The start time should be at the start of these core working hours.There may be a tendency not to work on any project-related tasks until the stand-up. If the Stand-up Meeting Starts the Day. Late, this slack time may be significant. Another option is Do not Use the Stand-up to Start the Day. Schedule the daily stand- up meeting far enough into the day that it will not be psychologically associated as starting the day. This may focus the team on having a small deadline, getting the things done, and have something completed before stand up. If it is too late, of course, three classical answers will be: what did I do today, what I am going to do tomorrow. Also good for offshoring outsourcing (not nearshoring) or several Scrum teams. The drawback is that the focus is not set in the early morning, so apply the pattern that will work in your team.
What to do with the situation when team members are Reporting to the Leader, they're only talking to the meeting facilitator instead of each other. Only the meeting facilitator is raising and addressing process issues related to the stand- up. In the result no one is interested in things that are going on in the team, but only on his or her own tasks.Of course, it is a role of Scrum Master, or facilitator of the stand up meeting. A good facilitator explains necessity of sharing the information to each other instead of reporting, keeps watching that people share the information, never interrogates the people, and shares his status himself.Also there are some techniqes to help facilitator to remove focus on him.Rotate the Facilitator. Rotate assignment of a role responsible for ensuring people attend the stand-up and stick to the agreed upon rules. Again it is important to see that the facilitator do not interrogates the people.The facilitator shouldBreak Eye Contact as a subtle way of reminding the speaker that s/he should be addressing the team, not just one person. One way to do this is to move around so that the current speaker can't see the facilitator.
Time bounds - Most people will wander mentally when they are in long meetings. A long, droning meeting is a horrible, energy-draining way to start the day. A specific number helps remind us when to consider adjustment to reduce the time of the meeting.Keep the daily stand-ups to Fifteen Minutes or Less. As a general rule, after fifteen minutes, the average person's mind is going to wander which doesn't help with setting focus.After the last person has spoken, the team may not immediately realize that the meeting is over. The gradual realization that it's time to walk away doesn't end the meeting on a high note and may contribute to Low Energy. Signal the End of the stand-up with a throwaway phrase (e.g., "Well, enjoy your lunch everyone.") or some other action.
References Large list of patterns
by Jason Yip http://martinfowler.com/articles/itsNotJustSta ndingUp.html Core practices by Bill Hoberecht http://bit.ly/Rw5xcH Walk the Board by Fabio Pereira http://fabiopereira.me/blog/2011/02/28/walk -the-wall-stand-up-meeting/