Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Daily Standup - Stick to "DONE"

I've seen it happen times and again:
When Waterfall projects turn Agile, people are unfamiliar with what they should do in the Standup, so they resort to old habits and give a status report: "I'm currently refactoring the Service Core by adding the Bombastic Framework, it's about 80% finished, but there's some issues with the parameterization in the bean class... ".

Great, I can already smell the 30-minute+ standup where none of us will be any wiser at the end.

Especially in Pair Programming, where people don't have individual accomplishments at all, it's stupid that first I report what I did (together with you) and then you either get up to parrot me - or worse, you just state "Yeah, me too".

If our Daily Standup looks like this, we might as well skip it: it's most likely just wasting everyone's time and causing unnecessary interruptions in the work.

What many people fail to realize: Nobody cares how you're spending your time and how far you've gotten! In Scrum, everything that matters is what will be done, and when!

Here is what I'm looking for in the Daily Standup:

- Which stories have we Delivered, in terms of our Storyboard?
- What are our  Obstacles [read: Impediments] blocking us from reaching the sprint goal?
- What should we do NExt in order to get closer to the sprint goal?

If you lack this information, the sprint goal is in danger!

I care what we have delivered, because I care whether the customer will be satisfied with the sprint output.
I feel uneasy when the team focus shifts away from "stories delivered" and towards "work done": It's an alarm sign! If we're consistently busy without delivering, we should take a "Time-Out", stop what we are doing and rethink where we are going!

I care about our obstacles, because we should make sure everyone can perform well.
I don't want you to pull impediments out of thin air to satisfy the doomsayer within me - I want you to be prepared to concisely and precisely describe the impediments you are dealing with. Like this, we can tackle the issue rather than watching you waste time. Our success depends on removing impediments!

I care what we do next, because I want to know how I can contribute.
Maybe it's something where I have some expertise and give you a head start, maybe I have some concepts on how it could be delivered easier. Well, call me maybe ... no seriously. I want to contribute and if I can lend a hand so we can deliver more value with less effort, that's gonna make our team greater!

If you take these three things out of the Daily Standup, you have gained important information.

For your next standup, your team should consider this challenge:
For each of D - O - NE, prepare exactly one sentence.
Your standup will be significantly shorter than 15 minutes and you'll take more out than with all the yada yada!