One of Scrum‘s basic techniques is the fifteen-minute standup meeting. I want to dive into the importance of this meeting, how it can help your agile team, and how you can get more from your fifteen minutes.
There are three questions that are asked in every standup: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? Is there anything getting in your way? You have fifteen minutes to cover these three questions with your development team members. Becoming efficient and proficient is key to the success of your Scrum. Mountain Goat Software has a great one-page write-up on the daily scrum meeting.
Since time is at a premium, there are ways to motivate your team members to not be too wordy or chatty, which results in stale meetings.
Now that we understand the standup, let’s avoid the following scenario. Not everyone is going to be enthused about the meeting, and even though it is only fifteen minutes there will be detractors. Obviously, the fact that the meeting involves people standing up serves several purposes; it allows for a shorter meeting—and it keeps people from falling asleep.
The Scrum Alliance provides a great article on using your time more effectively and making the standup more structured. On YouTube there is a great video from Microsoft in which a team performs a standup meeting.
The fifteen-minute stand up meeting is obviously a big part of Scrum, but can you deviate from it? A blogger for Mitch Lacey and Associates states there should be a fourth question added to the daily meeting.
How you approach the issues that arise will determine the success or failure of your standup meetings. Mark Levinson, a Scrum practitioner, offers several ways to help your team get through issues impacting your daily fifteen-minute meeting.
It’s amazing how a fifteen-minute daily meeting can be so important, but you have to remember that this meeting sets the stage for the rest of your team’s day. If your meetings have become stale and out of control, you must ask your team more than the three basic questions.
Before you do that, maybe you should start by asking yourself this question: “What can I do to get this thing back on track?”
Joe Townsend has been in the configuration management field for twelve years. He has worked for CNA Life Insurance, RCA, Boeing, UPS, and in state government. Joe has primarily worked with Serena tools, including PVCS Version Manager, Tracker, TeamTrack (Mashups), and Dimensions. He is an administrator for WebFocus and supports Eclipse users.