Learning to run stand-ups effectively

My team’s scrum master went on vacation for 3 weeks, and I was selected to cover his duties while he’s away. I had a head-start preparing for this, as I had taken over leading the daily stand-up for a couple of weeks already. Still, I feel that I don’t have enough knowledge yet, and hence I reached out for help from the book The Scrum Field Guide.

The book was quite enlightening, as I learned that we don’t follow the scrum process described in the book exactly, and the problems we face were quite common to those faced by other teams.

Here’s something I learned from the book about running daily stand-ups, which I would encourage the team to discuss during the next retrospective:

Running daily stand-ups more effectively

What the book says:

  • Daily stand-up is a 15min quick meeting where team members gather together to answer 3 questions:

    1. What they’ve accomplished
    2. What they’re working on or will accomplish that day
    3. Any impediments or issues that have cropped up.
  • Daily stand-up should run at the same time, everyday! The recommended time is 15-30mins after the last team member arrives in the morning; This will ensure people start the day fresh and ready to go

  • Stand-up needs to start and end on time; Members must arrive on time, no excuses. Scrum master or team should politely remind any latecomers that the rest of the team waited N minutes; If peer pressure doesn’t work, need punishment (ex. donation to fun fund, pick your own medicine, etc.)

  • Need to avoid rambles (usually means member came unprepared) and deep dives (should be discussed after the meeting); Team should have a hand signal to inform the scrum master or speaker to record the deep dive to be discussed afterwards.

  • Goal of stand-up is ultimately to encourage team collaboration and expose any problems preventing team from reaching the sprint goal; It should not be a daily project management status update;

How we are doing it:

  • We don’t answer the 3 questions; Instead we go through the list of stories on our sprint backlog, and the person assigned to that story reports the progress on it, as well as any blockers; Usually members would say, “yeah, it’s a work in progress.” or “I’m still working on it”. I don’t like how we don’t have much visibility on what’s been done and what’s going to be done. That’s going to change.

  • We skip stand-ups on the last day of the sprint; We spent the time preparing for the demo (aka Sprint Review) instead. I think we need stand-ups everyday, and should schedule the demo prep separately.

  • Our scrum master will interrupt and inform the team if someone does a dive dive (aka sidebar). We write the issue down and discuss them afterwards. This is good and we will carry on.

  • We start right on time at 11am, even though not everyone has arrived yet; Latecomers join the meeting without inpunity. That’s gotta change! Need to ensure the team is there and pressure everyone to show up on time.

comments powered by Disqus