Practice3.Daily Standup Meetings

Practice 3. Daily Standup Meetings

Hold a standup meeting the same time every day that is attended by the entire teamincluding businesspeople. The meeting should take an absolute maximum of 15 minutes (standing helps encourage this). The daily standup meeting is important for sustainable development because it helps to get issues out in the open each day, which helps to ensure that people aren't blocked for long periods of time and that everyone on the team is aware of what everyone else is doing. The traditional alternative is typically a weekly or monthly status meeting, and the problem with these meetings is that issues are often raised too late, that they're too long, and that the critical topics don't get raised.

In a daily standup meeting, each person answers three questions:

  • What did you do yesterday?

  • What are you going to do today?

  • Are there any obstacles to your progress?

Keep track of time and limit discussion to ensure that the meeting finishes quickly. Invariably, issues come up during the meeting that can be dealt with immediately after the scrum by those who are interested.

Standup meetings are highly effective at gathering status, getting important issues out into the open, and encouraging collaboration among the team. The most effective way to solve problems when more than one person needs to be involved is face-to-face rather than in e-mail; the standup meeting, and the collaboration that happens immediately after, is an aid to the critical issues being dealt with face-to-face immediately.

It is also important that daily standups lead to solving the problems of the moment immediately after the standup is finished. Weekly status report meetings are not nearly as effective because many problems are no longer immediate and the delay is a potential killer of team momentum. Likewise, e-mail can have a similar effect because there is a disconnect between the raising of the problem and any possible solution. Of course, there are always impromptu meetings, and some problems will still require these, but the existence of the daily standup means that team members know there is a forum where they can get these issues out in the open easily.

Daily Standup Meetings and Discipline

As with any type of meeting, daily standups require discipline. Time discipline and topic discipline are the hardest things to master with daily standup meetings.

One team I worked with had daily standups that lasted more than an hour! It's too easy to want to dive into a topic during the standup; someone has to suggest that people who are interested can get together after the standup meeting. It makes sense to have someone in charge of the meeting to get it started and to truncate discussions that are clearly going to take too long.

It's also hard to know how much to say when it's your turn in the standup meeting. I've seen people that default to saying too little, so that some of the obstacles aren't brought up, and also people who say too much so that too much detail is outlined. Again, this is where it makes sense to have someone in charge of the meeting, to both prompt with questions for more detail and also to provide feedback to people after the standup if they provide too much detail.

Sustainable Software Development. An Agile Perspective
Sustainable Software Development: An Agile Perspective
ISBN: 0321286081
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 125
Authors: Kevin Tate © 2008-2017.
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