Glenn Waters gave a great session at Agile Ottawa a few days ago, it was a combination of conversation, workshop and talk. As part of the session we identified many ways standups breakdown.
So what did we find going wrong:
- Not held daily
- Boring – no commitment or engagement
- No perceived value
- Too much talking and chit chat (socializing, wandering off topic)
- Not adhering to the 15 minute rule
- Being late and not showing up
- Directed, i.e. one person taking over and telling team members what to do.
- Reporting Directly to a manager vs. sharing with the team.
- Not reporting to the team
- Mumble, mumble disease, i.e. team member not saying anything that the rest of the team can understand.
- Trivia report – reporting in so much detail that no one understands or cares.
- Repetition – someone saying that they worked on one story several days running.
- Not raising impediments
- Not prepared
- Problem solving
So how do we make things better? Lets start by checking in with the Scrum Guide (by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland):
Each Team meets daily for a 15-minute inspect and adapt meeting called the Daily Scrum. The Daily Scrum is at the same time and same place throughout the Sprints. During the meeting, each Team member explains:
1. What he or she has accomplished since the last meeting;
2. What he or she is going to do before the next meeting; and
3. What obstacles are in his or her way.
There are a lot of problems here and they have many different root causes. In one blog post I can’t possibly make suggestions on how to solve them all, instead here are just a few examples:
- When sharing I ask team members to walk up to the story board and touch the story they worked on to help make it clear what they’re talking about.
- If see repeated problems like chit-chat, mumble mumble, ill preparedness, etc. I work with the team member offline to be better prepared for the meeting.
- When someone is repeatedly late for the meeting, I ask them offline if there is a problem with the time etc, only if other attempts to solve the problem fail to I resort to a penalty (i.e. financial: a looney in the team beer fund; social: becoming the keeper of the late badge).
- If team members start problem solving I remind them to take it offline and meet again after the scrum
- Reporting to Manager – if individual coaching fails I will ask the manager to turn their back on the team for a few days, until team members remember the meeting is for their benefit and not just the managers.
What pathologies do you find? How do you solve them?
Update I forgot to mention other resources: Daily Standup Tips – a Roundup my own on InfoQ and Jason Yip’s famous: It’s Not Just Standing Up: Patterns of Daily Stand-up Meetings.
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