The daily stand-up is a 15-minute meeting for Scrum teams. It provides an opportunity to touch base on progress toward daily commitments and sprint goals. The ScrumMaster, product owner, and all team members participate in this daily meeting. To keep the daily stand-up focused, each team member answers the same three questions:
- What was completed in the last 24 hours?
- What is planned for completion in the next 24 hours?
- What (if any) roadblocks are impeding progress?
Objective of the stand-up
Beyond the mechanics, stand-up is a daily focus check. How is the team progressing toward fulfillment of the sprint commitment? It identifies concerns immediately and provides an opportunity to discuss corrective action. Stand-up promotes collaboration among team members through the synchronization of work and consequent opportunities to give and receive support. With this high level of visibility, the product owner is able to monitor progress and review stories completed by the team.
Why three questions?
The intention of posing the three questions is to keep the team focused on the present: What is complete (where do we stand today in relation to our goal), what is in progress, and what are the current impediments? Emphasis is on maximizing focus and collaboration within the next 24 hours.
The daily stand-up can be an excellent measure of how well a team is poised to meet the sprint commitment and even to what degree the team has embraced Agile values. The table below illustrates how the stand-up calls for agility, scope for growth (anti-pattern behavior), and finding potential solutions.
|Team Values/Foundations||High-Performance Pattern||High-Performance Examples||Scope for Growth||Potential Solutions|
|Self-Organization||Team members fully engaged, conversation between team members||Team members grab tasks off the task board, recognize need for different disciplines (QA and engineer working together)||Team members report to ScrumMaster/PO/manager versus team discussion||"Look at Your Shoes" technique: SM/PO/manager looks at his/her shoes each time a team members look at him/her during stand-up|
|Focus||Team members hone in on what's most important, what's standing in the way||Team members police each other on focus, are willing to call each other out when getting off topic: “Let’s discuss this after the meeting."||Discussion wanders to problem-solving or other topics, important but better discussed after stand-up||ScrumMaster can assign specific phrase or code word to alert when discussion loses focus; moderating is more of a game|
|Collaboration||Team members offer help to each other, not afraid to ask for assistance||“How could I support you? How could you support me? Let us discuss after the meeting.”||SM/PO must remind team members of dependencies of work and point out opportunities for support||Third question changes to, “What is stopping us from completing this work?” Helps team members realize they're not alone in any task|
|Rhythm||Consistent and brisk flow of control throughout stand-up from one person to another; no external "go"signal required; everyone in charge, hence no one in charge||Perfect popcorn discussion, no team members talking over each other (eye contact and anticipation)||ScrumMaster must consistently prompt next person to share, team members wait for "go" signal||Move stand-up location near sprint task board (tangible prompt for team members); have stand-up at same time, same place every day.|
|Courage||Expose and confront roadblocks, accept and embrace change when needed||If burn-down is not progressing as it should, team members have the courage to speak up||Everyone ignores elephant in the room, avoids difficult discussions||Use comment box: place to post sticky notes explaining concerns with process/progress|
|Respect||Team members, ScrumMaster, product owner treat each other with consideration; appreciate the value of stand-up||Attendees on time for stand-up and monitor time elapsed||Team regards stand-up solely as opportunity for ScrumMaster and product owner to check up on team; no thought of mutual gain||Limit or eliminate SM and/or PO from meeting; consider note-taking, timekeeping; stop any rituals that could convey judgment|
Food for thought
What patterns have you seen in your stand-ups? What have you done to make those daily meetings meaningful?
Have you seen a team of six or more evolve beyond the need for a daily stand-up? How did that team stay focused and meet commitments?
Please share your stories, insights, and comments with our Agile community.