Warning! Stand-up is an addiction – If you do it Correct
It’s a pleasure to write the third post on the stand up meetings. This post will contain simple tips, tricks and facts on how overall how to have a successful stand up meeting, that you will look back and be satisfied.
Daily stand up meeting is like a drug, no one would say they like it but the more you do it correct everyone falls in love with it, and get addicted to the essence of it
Starting the Meeting
Always start them on time. Nothing is worse than waiting around for someone or postponing the meeting. If the stand-up starts at 9:00am, start it at 9:00am, every day without fail, even if not everyone is there or ready. When they start to miss information or updates you will find they will start to arrive on time! It’s an important meeting, and everyone should understand its importance.
Trigger an alarm to the team few minutes in advance to the scheduled time during the 1st few days, then it will get automatically triggered in everyone’s head.
As the name implies try to do it standing, sitting takes out some of the energy – it’s obvious but it’s called the daily stand up for a reason.
You can add visualisation or aids, will play an important role in conveying the message correct. Do the meeting next to your Kanban/Scrum board or next to a screen if you use Jira/TFS/Trello or this kind of software. Good if you can project it to a large screen but if not have a small screen, since something is better than nothing. This indeed is good as a centerpiece for discussion, and is also useful for ensuring it’s always maintained.
If you are the scrum master don’t spend too much time updating your tools while the meeting is in progress, listen first – it’s the most important. Try to jot down the most important points in a note for later reference.
Keep the focus, it’s ideally around 10 minutes so try to convey the message that everyone in the meeting should be engaged. So no one should be at their desk (ideally), no phones, no email.
Collaboration is the key. It’s another way to promote team building and collaboration. Again, the team should be updating each other and clarifying, raising issues together.
Without asking the same set of questions in same order, Change up the questions once in awhile:
- What you did to change the world yesterday?
- How you are going to crush it today?
- How you are going to blast through any obstacles unfortunate enough to be standing in your way?
It sounds weird but definitely it will help to cheer up your team.
Stand up aids team building, since even at least once a day all people in team interacts and shares; no one has to shout, and this should make people more comfortable, and promote trust. It’s called the daily scrum for a reason. Huddle the team together.
As a little tip for scrum masters, during the updates if the person who is talking is only addressing you, it’s good practice to break eye contact with the person, just to remind them there are other people in the meeting too!
Focus on the baton, not the runners
One of the main priorities should be the removal of blocking issues, the whole team should be responsible for this, not just PO or SM. Identify the problem, identify who is the right person to fix it, identify its priority and act on it. It’s also a good tip to make any blockers visual, so everyone can see its status – and even help out if they see progress is slow. The Scrum Master should have an Impediment List for this.
Focus should always be on updates, keep questions to a minimum. Remember the team is the most important. It’s not an official project meeting, evaluation or report to one single stakeholder, the purpose of the meeting is to update the team, to add transparency to the process. The meeting should be for the team, by team. The meeting should be kept as casual and informal as possible, this helps people to be open and honest and not feel like they are updating their manager.
No technical discussions – It’s hard with a team of developers, but technical discussions should be stopped and taken off-line immediately. They can quickly escalate.
Discuss all the work in progress. All work Items must attend the meeting, even if not all of the team does. Think from the perspective of the work – it can’t speak for its self.
Use the acronym GIFTS for the goals of your daily stand up, standing for:
- Good Start, Improvement, Focus, Team, Status, or:
- To help start the day well
- To support improvement
- To reinforce focus on the right things
- To reinforce the sense of team
- To communicate what is going on
The meeting should be motivating and inspiring. People should leave feeling with purpose and a plan.
It’s ok for the product owner or stakeholders to attend, but they must be observers only. It’s actually good if they attend so if a team member needs a quick clarification, but again – any specific discussions should be taken offline. The whole team probably doesn’t need to go into too much detail about the clarifications one person might require.
If you have a big team, consider splitting the meeting into two. It’s not ideal, but neither is a daily stand up with 15 people. If you are in different locations, try to use video conference or web cams as a first option, I find being able to see everyone makes the meetings more engaging, and you can see who is interested and who is not. Voice calls over skype are not ideal, especially if everyone is at their desks because they will be tempted to work at the same time and not be fully engaged.
Keep it short. It’s short for a reason. The longer the meeting the less engaged people become. Everyone should understand the importance of the meeting. If it is more than 15 minutes, then you are doing something else rather than providing a simple update on progress. Take anything else off-line. You can use the timer on your phone to ensure everyone speaks within the permitted time.
Ending the Meeting
Mark the end of the meeting, maybe a phrase (“Thanks everyone, have a good day”) or a question (“Anyone have anything extra to add?”). The meeting should end on a high note, not in a manner it trail off or people walking away when the meeting hasn’t finished. Imagine in American Football/Basketball where they all should ‘Go Team’ after the huddle.
Review your Meetings
Evaluate and review your stand-ups, maybe in the retrospective. If they do not work, discuss and improve them! The stand-up should be a meeting of importance and not just a routine.