The dos and don’ts of daily stand-ups

by Mattew Stibbe

Daily stand-ups are a core element of the Agile approach. They ensure that everyone knows what each team member is working on for that day and prevent delays – but only if you do them right. At Hewlett Packard Enterprise, we use daily stand-ups within our DevOps and Programme teams, as Peter Bailey, Programme Lead, explains here:

Daily stand-ups are a core element of the Agile approach. They ensure that everyone knows what each team member is working on for that day and prevent delays – but only if you do them right.

At Hewlett Packard Enterprise, we use daily stand-ups within our DevOps and Programme teams, as Peter Bailey, Programme Lead, explains here:

Depending on the variation of Agile project management that you use, stand-ups go by a different name, such as a daily scrum. While there are individual nuances to each approach the premise is always the same: to give everyone a clear picture of where the project is, what’s constraining or blocking us and what we need to do next to meet our goal.                        

There is no set agenda to follow, but there are some key dos and don’ts to make sure your stand-up meetings provide real value for your team.

DO put a clock on it

When you put a timer on a stand-up, you’re forced to mention only the really important points. This keeps the meeting focused, efficient and useful to all participants. Allow one or two minutes per person and try not to exceed 15 minutes total. 

DO keep them question-driven

Since the stand-up meeting is short, you need to have some form of loose agenda. The best option is to keep it question-driven:

  1. What did you accomplish yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. What obstacles are impeding your progress?

DO make them daily

Schedule them for first thing in the morning, every morning. By the end of each meeting you will have a clear idea of what each member of your team is working on and what roadblocks they face. 

DO remain standing

It may seem obvious, given the name, but the theory is that meetings held while standing up are faster and more efficient.

More importantly, they give everyone in your team a voice – a chance to talk about their work and to hear what their colleagues are working on. This is valuable in any project, but even more so in Agile teams where communication is key to success. 

DON’T try to problem solve

If a member of your team flags up a roadblock then by all means suggest a solution and look at having a separate session after the stand-up and asking those involved (or anyone who can help) to attend that. But the aim of these meetings is to give a high-level overview of the day. The more detail you go into and problems you try to solve, the longer it will take. During the meeting, make a note of any issues that arise and dig into them after.

DON’T micromanage

A daily stand-up is not a status report of every task your team has completed or will work on today. It can be tempting for a team leader, or Scrum Master, to press for details on a task mentioned in yesterday’s stand-up but this is not the forum for such talk. 

DON’T use the meeting to plan whole sprints

Your stand-ups are not strategy meetings. Even if a new requirement comes through before the meeting starts, the stand-up is not a place to reassign work. These kinds of conversations require a proper briefing and doing so would eat into your limited time. Stick to self-organisation and planning for the day.

Stand up and be counted

While the aim – to deliver information – is the same, stand-up meetings are not the same as a general company meeting. Daily stand-ups are about making best use of resources and preventing roadblocks.

More importantly, they give everyone in your team a voice – a chance to talk about their work and to hear what their colleagues are working on. This is valuable in any project, but even more so in Agile teams where communication is key to success.

Stand-ups have changed the way we work at HPE. Get the basics right and they can do the same for your organisation.

 

Original article link: https://community.hpe.com/t5/UK-Public-Sector/The-dos-and-don-ts-of-daily-stand-ups/ba-p/6878343