The Daily Stand-Up

So what is a daily standup? In a nutshell it’s a short meeting where development teams gather and share their daily tasks in a 3-minute window. The idea is to give teams a sense of the overall progress towards their goal.

Individuals mainly recap and share the work they did they day before, what they plan on working on today and details of anything that might be preventing them from achieving their task. The general rule of thumb is that conversations that occur outside of this schedule should be taken off line.

Getting started with daily standup:

  • Pick at least one person to facilitate the daily standup
  • Pick a time that works for your entire team and aim to meet at this time daily
  • Try to limit airtime for each individual to approx. 3 mins
  • Do not allow the meeting to exceed 20 minutes
  • Where conversations go off piste or become too long, the facilitator should pipe up and insist that the conversation is moved to a different meeting with only the relevant people present.

In some work places, this might be known as a daily WIP. In the world of agile we call it ‘The Daily Standup’ so running this type of session should not be completely unfamiliar.

The key difference between the two sessions is that a daily standup has a clearly outlined structure which allows you to keep agendas short and enables teams to get on with their daily tasks / duties.

A daily WIP on the other hand occurs with all parties seated and might open up bigger discussion forums where:

  • People can ramble on
  • There is no time limit as to how long it can go on
  • Not all team members are present
  • Teams are seated rather than stood up (standing up allows us to keep things short whereas being seated makes one more complacent)
  • It’s possible that different projects might be discussed in this kind of forum so it might not be as focused
  • People in the discussions might not be fully engaged in listening to others
  • People might walk in and out of the room depending on their daily routine and agendas
  • one individual might overpower the room thus leading others to not speak out
  • pressing issues might be hidden out of fear of looking silly or being caught out
  • one person might lead the forum
  • agendas might not be clear
  • agendas might not be relevant for each individual in the room

Key points to understand about running a Daily Standup:

IT IS NOT TO…..

  1. check in on you to make sure you are doing as you are told
  2. monitor your individual progress
  3. report in to your peers
  4. tell your manager how long your work will take you to complete
  5. compete against other members in your team
  6. monitor or micromanage you
  7. involve everybody

IT IS TO….

  1. Share project status amongst your delivery team
  2. Understand what each other is working on or has been working on
  3. give your team an idea of progress
  4. share progress on what you did yesterday
  5. share information on what you intend to do today
  6. get support on issues that are preventing you from moving forward
  7. create transparency within your team
  8. help support your team better
  9. help you collaborate daily with your team
  10. open up more channels of communication
  11. serve as a planning meeting and not a reporting in tool
  12. share what’s happening in your day
  13. share information to trigger more team support
  14. understand if there are others in your team who can add more value to what you are working on

Stand ups create a shared understanding of the current status of a product that’s being delivered or improved and it helps teams organise itself and provide assistance where it’s needed and the best thing is that it enables teams to work collectively to progress towards an end goal collaboratively.

What do you think?

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