Developer – Best Practices for Daily Stand-Up or Daily Scrum – Rules and Regulations

Scrum is an Agile Software Development system which helps developers to get the project done in
reasonable time and with superior quality. I have previously written about this many years ago. Well, recently I have been part of the stand-up meetings and it has been indeed fun to be part of the Stand-up meetings. No one is perfect and there are always new members joining in the organization. Additionally though basics of the Scrum stand up are the same across everywhere there are always few small details which are different from one organization to another organization. Here are few of the rules of the Stand-Up meetings. You can adopt them to your organization needs.

The Goal of Stand-ups

The most crucial points which everyone should keep on focus is that Stand-Ups are communication vehicle for team members. It is not a status update meeting to managers or a meeting to resolve any issue right there. The stand-up meeting should facilitate the communication among team member and anticipate potential challenges well in advance.

Three Questions

Most of the stand-ups usually answers following three questions. I have seen few stand-up meeting few more questions but essentially following three questions are the most crucial question any stand-up should have.

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

Stand-up Attendees

All team members are (mostly) required for the Stand-up meetings. Stand-up are usually essential for any organization and there should be no excuse to skip the stand-up. However, due to any reason if any of the team member is not able to attend, the stand-up should continue as planned. One of the key reasons for the Stand-up meeting is to have a transparent conversation among team members. Right after the stand-up team member usually come together to solve the issues discussed in the stand-up.

Time, Duration and Location of Stand-up

Stand-up enforces discipline and organizations in team. Here are three of the most important logistic components for any stand-up meeting.

Duration

The stand-up meetings are usually time boxed to 5 to 15 minutes. I personally prefer 10 minutes stand-up but this can vary from team to team. We call these meetings Standup because we want to keep on reminding everybody that the meetings has to be short and precise. In no condition the meetings should go over the precise time. If there is reason for meetings to go over precise time, it is a good idea to move that conversation to separate meeting time after the standup.

Time

The time of the Stand-up is usually fixed every day. It is a good idea to have met every day right before everyone starts working. For example, if your team starts working at 8, the ideal time of the stand-up will be 8:15. The fix time also gives the sense of predicitibility and forces everybody to remain disciplined. At the times when the world is flat and people are working round the clock and across the globe collaborating with a different team, the time of the stand-up is often moved to an afternoon or even before the end of the day. Whatever, time works for your organization but make sure that always starts at the same time every day.

Location

This is going to be very interesting. There is no right answer for this question. In earlier times when the entire office used to sit together at the same premises they all use to have a stand-up meeting in one specific place. However, in the modern times, there are few team members who are working from home and few are deployed at remote locations. There are always chances that team members are traveling. I believe it is always a good idea to have a meeting using online collobaration tools. I personally prefer Skype Premium but many organizations have their own way of connecting across the teams. If you keep a regular policy to use online collaboration tool, it will additionally build discipline in team members to attend meetings from anywhere they are.

Speaking Order

There is no clear order in which team members should start. Actually, as there is no order defined for Stand-up, there should no order enforced. Scrum Leader should have a very simple algorithm for order of the talking in the session. The algorithm can be as simple as the last one to arrive in meeting goes first or the person who is sitting left goes first or any one person who is willing to start. Once the first person completes, right after that the person who is sitting next to him/her start. Order of Talking technically have no significance in the Stand-up meeting hence very least amount of the time should be spent over it.

Primary Responsibility of Meeting Leader

The goal of the Stand-up meeting is to identify all the near future possible road blocks early on hand work with the team together to resolve them. Scrum Master or Meeting Leader should start working to resolve all the road blocks team members are facing right after the meeting. If there were any topics during the meeting which was marked as “let us meet later on” the meeting should be also planned during the day.

Basic Courtesy Rules

  • Do not interrupt another speaker while he/she is talking. If you do not understand any words or statement ask for clarification but there should be no back and forth communication.
  • If attendees are consistently coming in late or missing meetings, there should be some kind of penalty over them.
  • Standing up in the Stand-up meetings is not usually mandatory but it is a good idea to stand up if a few of the members are standing up in the meeting.
  • Turn off Mobile phones and collaboration tools while in meeting.
  • Do not keep on watching somewhere else (Computer Monitor, watch or mobile) while someone else is talking.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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