When trying to instill a new habit with a team I often find it useful to add a new question (or two) to the daily standup. Perhaps the team needs to pay more attention to Code Smells or Unit Testing. In those cases I ask team members to mention one thing they discovered (or better improved) related to that idea during standup everyday. My goal is to make spotting these issues a daily habit, even when they can’t be fixed right mentioning them raises awareness. Non-coders please reinterpret questions 4 and 5 in your own context.
As a reminder here are the updated questions:
- What did you complete yesterday?
- What do you commit to today?
- What are your impediments/obstacles?
- What Code Smell/Missing Unit Test/… did you spot yesterday?
- What improvement did you make to the code yesterday?
Even with the extra 2 questions teams should easily finish their stand-ups in fifteen minutes or less. I recommend that discussion be left until after the stand-up so people who’re not interested can sit down.
An additional trick I saw someone at my client us: pass the questions round on a piece of paper. You don’t need to read them but just holding the piece of paper is good reminder and helps people remain focused.
BTW I’ve been very quiet recently in part because I’m busy with client work and in part because just having become a CST I’ve decided to revamp my training materials yet again. More details coming soon.
Mark Levison has been helping Scrum teams and organizations with Agile, Scrum and Kanban style approaches since 2001. From certified scrum master training to custom Agile courses, he has helped well over 8,000 individuals, earning him respect and top rated reviews as one of the pioneers within the industry, as well as a raft of certifications from the ScrumAlliance. Mark has been a speaker at various Agile Conferences for more than 20 years, and is a published Scrum author with eBooks as well as articles on InfoQ.com, ScrumAlliance.org an AgileAlliance.org.
Steve Gamble says
Another good question for the group at the end of the standup: what can we do to complete our highest priority story today?
Andrew Fuqua says
Mixing it up is a great technique. If nothing else, it keeps it interesting. Sometimes I’ll take something from our retrospective or from a BVC and make that the extra question for the iteration.
In addition, I often go down the card wall instead of going around the room at the iteration mid-point and on the last day of the iteration.
Post-agile Architect says
Some people say daily standups are micromangement; some people say they aren’t.
Whether this is a good list or not, or whether micromangement is good or not, I’d have to say, this list smells like micromanagement.
Additionally q’s 4 and 5 could also be made forward looking (what will you improve today), etc, so this would be quite the long daily meeting.
Ultimately I think q’s 4 and 5 should be part of retrospectives and whatever improvements noted assigned as real scheduled tasks.
Mark Levison says
PA – words on a page are very difficult in that they don’t convey all of the meaning.
If a ScrumMaster or I as an outside coach impose Questions #1 and #2 you’re right that would be micromanagement. New Agile teams are often struggling to learn how to make and meet **small** commitments. In their case I ask this idea and other options and ask what they think will meet their needs. So if they do this they choose not me.
Questions #4 and #5 can be phrased any way the team wants forward/backward looking. Rather than impose again I ask the team what will work for them. Backward looking questions give the team the advantage of finding something small to celebrate everyday. The point isn’t to replace the retrospective but to celebrate small successes in achieving our goals. Its easier to make improvements when your peers recognize that they happened and celebrate in some small way.