Operator: Please state the nature of your emergency.
Programmer: I need immediate assistance.
Operator: Are you injured?
Programmer: Look lady, I don’t want to turn this into a status meeting.
Status is Not Stupid
I’ve noticed people saying the word “status” with scorn: “Now, instead of getting work done we’re just reporting on status.”
In fact, I’ve heard people use the s-word to complain about stand-up meetings that had team mates reporting to each other on what they got done and what they were going to work on.
Teamwork: It’s Better Together
I’ve particularly noticed this sort of dislike on teams that are really more like bundles of developers: I work on my thing, you work on yours, and each has nothing to do with the other.
However you describe it, the daily stand-up (or scrum) meeting is for the team to understand where they are, see what needs working on, and make a plan for the next day of work.
I’ve found that a team really shines when teammates work on related things together rather than independent things apart.
If you find yourself dreading stand-up then maybe your team is in a rut. In late 2011 I felt like my team’s stand-up had lost their edge.
It seemed that people felt an obligation to talk for a certain amount of time just to justify what they did yesterday. I also felt like we were spending time in the meeting doing bookkeeping that could have been done before hand.
I was the scrum master at the time so I wrote up this guide to shake things up for a few days.
Stand-up For Today
Don’t Do This:
- What I did yesterday.
- What I’m doing today.
- How I am blocked
Do Do This
- What did I do or learn that will probably affect others?
- What will I do that affects others?
- What is impeding me?
- How can I help others today?
Assumptions That Make This OK
- Everyone is working their hardest.
- We’re all keeping the scrum board up to date.
Insist on Fast Paced Status
You can absolutely have a productive stand-up using the traditional questions (The ones I struck out above.) I just found we were in a rut. We were talking about ourselves individually in a group setting instead of focusing on the team aspect.