Most people believe stand-up to be a part of the scrum process. In actuality, there are two ways to look at stand-ups:
- One is a software delivery focus.
- The other is the process that achieves delivery, which is scrum.
The objective of a stand-up is to understand the work that’s been done in the next smallest cycle. Essentially, it’s a feedback loop among team members for the past and next 24 hours.
What is a stand-up?
Effectively, it is a daily check-in. This allows the team to get together and solve any problems that they’re facing quickly and immediately. It can happen as often as the team feels it would be most valuable. During a stand-up, the following questions need to be asked:
- What was done yesterday versus what was planned to do?
- What will be done today?
- Is there anything preventing a team member from achieving that goal today?
Agile does not prescribe daily stand-ups unless necessary. The philosophy is to do whatever it takes to deliver value to your customers as quickly as possible.
Why you should have a daily stand-up:
- If there’s a need for internal and external parties to know what the team has been doing for the last 24 hours and what’s taking place in the next 24 hours
- If there’s a need to discuss certain blockers or barriers to delivery in the next 24 hours
- If you feel like what you’re doing needs to reach the ears of your team
Why you shouldn’t have a daily stand-up:
- You’re not following Scrum
- You have a small team or your team is mature enough that communication is not a problem
- You have no stakeholders interested in your day-to-day activities
- It’s wasting time
- It’s detrimental to the delivery of the product
Do’s and Don’t of Stand-ups
- Do use stand-ups as a tool to achieve delivery as quickly as possible
- Don’t treat stand-ups as a status meeting – Only use stand-ups to focus on yesterday, today, and blockers.
- Do keep it between 10-15 minutes
- Don’t get side-tracked –The group should not use it as a platform to waffle, ramble, complain or bring up topics that are not relevant to the previous or next 24 hours.
- Do remember that actions need to come out of a stand-up as quickly as possible.
- Don’t waste time – The group needs the opportunity to listen to the blockers to see if they can facilitate delivery faster.
- Do have a stand-up when it’s convenient for everyone
- Don’t expect team members to down tools for a stand-up during the most productive part of the day – If you need daily stand-ups, avoid the time of day when everyone is at their highest performance level. Don’t stop everyone from their work as stand-ups can be done any time of the day and even multiple times a day if needed.
- Do have conversations on topics that are important to everyone in attendance
- Don’t join a stand-up just to talk instead of actively listening – Use the stand-up to assist the group in removing the blockers preventing them from fast delivery.
- Do a stand-up only if necessary
- Don’t do stand-up because you think you need to – Do not treat it as a box that needs to be ticked. If it doesn’t contribute to the team’s objectives of facilitating faster delivery to the customer, then reconsider the need for stand-ups.
- Do ensure equal contribution from those taking part
- Don’t just focus on the most talkative members of the group – This comes down to the facilitator. People who are participating or part of the delivery must contribute equally. It’s important to find the balance between those who think they don’t need it but actually do and those who need to contribute but aren’t.
Some extra tips
- Do encourage active listening
- Don’t let people not responsible for delivery participate – In other words, they’re welcome to listen, but they can’t stop the process, throw a spanner in the works, present their opinion, or get involved in any way. If they have something to say, they should take it offline.
Remember: There is no one way to do stand-up. This is just the way Scrum talks about it. It’s about what works for you and your team in order to deliver.
Feel free to reach out to us here if you have any questions or would like to discuss!