Did you know that in original Scrum books by Ken Schwaber he talks about one of the roles of a ScrumMaster was to get enough chairs for the Daily stand up? The first pilot company also used to take significantly longer than 15 minutes also. Oh how we have evolved
If I said to you ‘The Daily Stand Up’ what words immediately pop up in your mind?
The words or phrase that pop into my mind are:
It is so easy to forget what the key outcomes of a Daily Stand Up meeting is and get caught up in the mechanics of it.
In a nutshell we want:
Did you know your most valuable pieces of work are actually the items that are waiting to be tested and deployed? This is because we are only potentially a short stop away from benefits realisation or important feedback. As teams we need to be focusing on ‘Finishing’ things, rather than starting new work. This might even mean that developers have to test!. So a key outcome for me as an ScrumMaster is about teams swarming on getting whole items across the board and releasing the value early.
There are a number of different ways to run them. If you are in the early stages of Scrum you are quite possibly using the three questions:
Over time I expect teams will alter this for their needs rather than slavishly following rules.
I vary the technique depending what traits I see the team exhibiting.
I might vary running these meetings in different styles on a daily basis to get different information shared. You don’t have to do the same style every day.
In whatever technique you run a key thing I see happening time and time again is ScrumMasters being reported to or ‘Running the meeting’
We need to think about how we can stop this from happening, They are not there to report to you!
The meetings should be in a regular heartbeat and so teams know the time and the place of the meeting as standard. The time to update the board is NOT during the meeting. People should be doing this on a regular basis throughout the day and not just saving it up. This will help you to keep it to the recommended 15 minutes per day.
Did you know you don’t have to run these in the morning? Teams can actually choose whatever time is best for them. You can even have more than one a day if you are working on critical tasks. Some teams even have them last thing in the evening so that they are set up for the day to come in and get cracking. The key is whatever ever you do the team is getting value from these sessions.
A technique that I adopt to validate this, is to ask the team members to raise their hand of they feel they are not getting value, because maybe the conversation has diverged into problem solving. This is a sure fire way to make sure that you keep things on track.
We keep the sessions to 15 minutes to promote valuable synchronization. The chances are if they are taking longer, it’s because you are problem solving or not talking about relevant items. One team I had used to take 20 minutes to complete their stand up. This was fine, because the value they got was worth the time they spent together. Try and avoid extending it out much further
If you do have lots of problem solving, then maybe your need to book 15 minutes after the Daily Stand up so the team can then brainstorm what they need to, but have a clean finish to the previous meeting.
The most powerful tools we have as ScrumMasters is observation and facilitation. Observe what you are seeing and always challenge whether we can improve the way that we work. Use your facilitation to guide the team and to help them decide and achieve for themselves what needs to be.
We are there as ScrumMasters to grease the wheels of the teams, reduce lead times, protect the values, principles and practices and to ensure that we continuously improve ways of working. Quality is also at the heart of everything we do.
So reflecting on your daily stand up meeting today, what could you do differently.
I want to thank: Nigel Baker, Geoff Watts, Bazil Arden and Alex Gooding. I asked them all what their lesser known top tips or facts were in preparation of this article and they provided their input.
Email Helen Meek
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