Stand-up meeting : (Not?) to do lists

Context :
Project, small team, diverse, not dispersed, highly demanding customer, high quality software

Problem :
No visibility, last minute problems, low commitment (not necessarily real but perceived as such), no tools, low budgets, high maintenance charge

Solution :
Among other techniques, stand-up meeting is being seen as an effective way to increase commitment and supporting among teams. Jason Yip (ThoughtWorks, Inc) points out some situations that could prevent this meeting be highly efficient (more details in Martin Fowler’s web site).
It is said that team members should not :

  • Let the problems hidden;
  • Invite people not directly involved in;
  • Drag the meeting out;
  • Have short memory.

More Details and Quotes :

1 - Let the problems hidden

“When people are knocked down every time they raise a problem, they will tend to stop raising problems. Beyond preventing removal of obstacles, a non-supportive stand-up works against team dynamics.”

We need to encourage people to raise problems, instead of hiding them. This would put an emphasis on a problem as being part of team’s problems.

“Good stand-ups will feel supportive”

2 - Invite people not directly involved in
This could prevent people to share information, and put discussion on topics beyond the scope.

“(Invite) people who can say something that directly affects the delivery of backlog items/features/stories”

3 - Too long meeting
The author suggests also to limit the meeting to 15mn.

“Meetings that take too long tend to have low energy and participants not directly related to a long discussion will tend to be distracted”

“Lasse Koskela proposed another form of these questions in order to emphasise that team members should not be reporting to the Leader:

Each team member updates his peers:

In turn, each team member provides his peers with 3 pieces of information:

  • Things I have done since yesterday's meeting
  • Things I am going to get done today
  • Obstacles that I need someone to remove

Koskela, 2006

The author adds another interesting question :

“What might help or hinder others in meeting their commitments?”

4 - Loose memory :
People tend to forget raised key points to integrate in the project’s context.
e.g : Communication that resulted to be false : data lists, saying done when it wasn’t. We’ve insisted on verifying work products, including validating mails. Because we haven’t raised later this kind of problems, and put an emphasis on this, it has been reproduced.

Solution(?) : Put on a board key words like ‘verify it’s done before delivering it !’

Other (minor?) :

- Waiting for the manager to begin
“Do not wait for stragglers, including architects and managers. The meeting is for the whole team, not for any particular individual. This is especially important if you Use the Stand-up to Start the Day.”
Wow !
- The Facilitator is one of the Managers
“Team members are Reporting to the Leader, that is, they're only talking to the meeting facilitator instead of each other. Only the meeting facilitator is raising and addressing process issues related to the stand-up. We want the team to take ownership of the stand-up and this requires removing any dependence on a single facilitator. “
“Rotate assignment of a role responsible for ensuring people attend the stand-up and stick to the agreed upon rules.”

- No observers
Some observers may have a solution to a problem already seen before.

2 commentaires

  1. Impressive !!!

    Can, your english is so fluent.

    Great article and I like the reference to Martin Fowler article.

    See you

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