Friday, 9 April 2010

When a Stand-Up Becomes a Sit Down

I'm not always a morning person, so when the morning stand-up meeting becomes extended I get a little frustrated.

To me the daily stand-up should take place every morning, within an hour but not first-thing (this gives people a chance to gather their thoughts/make coffee and wake-up). The meeting itself should be kicked off by the last person to attend, it should involve us standing in our project teams and involve us going around each team in turn. One member from each team have 3 questions to answer:

  • What have you done since yesterday? "Yesterday we did X"
  • What are you planning to do today? "Today we plan to do Y"
  • Do you have any problems preventing you from accomplishing your goal? "We currently have no problems" - (hopefully)

The stand-up is great for a brief update on what is happening in the team and the 3 questions should be answered clearly and concisely within 60 secs (no room for waffle and unnecessary details). The stand-up is also great for people to make commitments. So if a team says "Today we plan to complete X" ... the development team will be expecting that that team tomorrow to say "Yesterday we completed X" – it helps people realise commitments.

How to know when your stand-up ceases to be (a stand-up)...

  • The three questions aren't answered concisely and it takes > 60 secs
  • There is a discussion between two people resulting in ‘spectators’
  • People start losing interest and start staring out the window
  • Someone sits down ;)
These things ruin stand-ups, the rhythm that's supposed to be associated with it and an extended stand-up is detrimental to its purpose!

1 comment:

  1. Maybe a good hint when you find the stand up is going on too long is to actually sit down. ( ;