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All Agile Stand-up Meetings Must...

Why even have a stand-up meeting? From my perspective, the daily stand-up is an alignment meeting. The desired outcomes are: 1. Shared high-level understanding of the overall plan/progress 2. Shared understanding of the near term work 3. Alignment on how we can best collaborate right now


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Doc Norton

a year ago | 2 min read

Ever been in that conversation? You, know, the one where somebody has the perfect formula for all agile stand-up meetings? The one true way that works universally and should be applied everywhere; all the time?

Me too. Countless times.

Why even have a stand-up meeting?

From my perspective, the daily stand-up is an alignment meeting. The desired outcomes are:

  • Shared high-level understanding of the overall plan/progress
  • Shared understanding of the near term work
  • Alignment on how we can best collaborate right now

WHAT SHOULD BE THE RULES?

Any “rules” you have around the structure, timing, or content of the stand-up need to exist to serve your team in your context toward these desired outcomes. Allow these “rules” to change when they are not serving you well and enforce the rules pragmatically so that you can continue to leave room to sense what is in the space.

For many, they believe a good stand-up is short in duration, focuses on three specific questions, and eschews deep-dives.

Meh.

MAKE YOUR OWN RULES

What does your team need? How do you ensure those needs are being met? How do you enforce your structure?

Sense what is present

If you have a rule that says “No deep-dives”, are you squelching a signal in the system? Do you cut off deep-dives and tell people to take it “off-line”? Have you created a system for taking things off-line? Do people agree on when and where and how that happens? Rather than “No deep-dives.”, would you be better served by, “When a deep-dive happens, anyone can call for a deferment. Deferment review happens at the end of stand-up.”?

Maybe the deep dive is important to the entire team and it is fine to continue. Nobody calls for deferment. Maybe there are members who would rather opt out. They can call for deferment. This way, the team gets to decide for the given situation. Not the manager or the scrum master or the product/project/team/snack-drawer owner.

That people are digging into details is a signal that there is a need. Be careful not to create or enforce rules in such a way that the signal gets squelched.

Optimize for alignment

If you have a rule that says, “We always answer these three questions”, are you sure that you are optimizing for the exchange of valuable information?

Could you walk the board and review the cards that have been updated or worked on since the last meeting? Would that improve the shared understanding?

Could you use different or additional questions that address specific concerns in your context? Such as, “how is static analysis trending”, “should we rotate pair membership”, or “what have we learned”.

Your mileage may vary

I don’t know what is going to be best for your team. Think about the outcomes you want to achieve from the session and adjust and adapt to fit your need. Start with a structure that seems like it might work. Borrow from others. But adjust as needed.


Above all - Do not sacrifice valuable collaboration at the altar of a calcified stand-up format.

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Created by

Doc Norton

CEO of OnBelay Consulting

Coach, mentor, writer, and speaker. Author of "Escape Velocity". https://www.docondev.com/escape-velocity


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