The daily huddle or daily scrum, the morning check-in or team roll-call, what you call them doesn’t really matter, what does matter is accepting that stand-up meetings are here to stay.
As more and more teams turn to Agile to improve their performance and output, the daily stand-up has become the new norm. It’s a great way for team members to stay on track, collaborating & helping each other along the way, and ultimately delivering on commitments made at the beginning of each sprint.
But as with everything in life, there are some basic guidelines that need to be followed to ensure that stand-ups achieve what they set out to achieve. Here are our top 5 rules of engagement:
Rule number 1: Don’t get comfortable
It’s called a stand-up for a reason. Nobody should be getting comfortable by pulling up a chair. Standing ensures that people are alert & focused throughout. While you’re at it, ban laptops, phone calls, text messages and any other distractions.
Rule number 2: Keep it short
Stand-ups should be no longer than 15min. Any item that requires further discussion should be taken offline, involving only those who are directly involved or impacted. Find a slogan or phrase (think something along the lines of “the tribe has spoken”) to indicate that the stand-up is done. Anyone who then wants to stay on to have an offline discussion can, and those who don’t can move on with their tasks for the day.
Rule number 3: Stickies are your friend
Sure, there are tons of great agile tools out there, but at the end of the day, nothing quite beats the humble sticky note. It’s a great way to do a brain dump of all the high level and detailed tasks of your project – commonly referred to as your project backlog. Once you have these down on stickies you can arrange & rearrange them, adding more detail where needed, or breaking stickies down into smaller, more manageable items.
Rule number 4: Break it down into “to do”, “doing” & “done”
During sprint planning, you’ll review your backlog items as a team and decide what will be moved into the current sprint. Once the scope of the sprint has been agreed, your daily stand-up board should place your sprint items into 3 sections: To do, doing & done. Team members can then move their stickies as they progress, ensuring that the rest of the team is up to date with what’s happening and are aware of any cross impacts that could potentially affect them.
Rule number 5: Always do a review
At the end of each sprint it’s important to do a review to ensure that you don’t go into the next sprint with the same bad habits that caused you pain in the previous one. Create 3 buckets: Keep, Stop & Start, then ask your team to add their suggestions for each of these. You want to get into a rhythm where you’re doing more of the stuff that makes the biggest impact and less of the stuff that’s nothing more than an energy drain.
In need of an Agile practitioner to help drive your stand-ups and sprints? Get in touch.