The chatty daily standup…

One of the “ceremonies” of Scrum (man that sounds so culty) is the “Daily Standup”, a daily planning meeting where teams realign and coordinate their efforts for the upcoming day. It’s a concise, no frills no fluff zero waste of time meeting that answers three questions: what have I done, what am I doing and what are my issues, and is generally over quite quickly…but what if it isn’t, what if it degenerates into a technical discussion about the implementation of widget-x or how the build script is not building something correctly or which framework to use to solve some problem…

I’ve found this to happen quite often and all too often I see people coming down on the team with statements like “cut the meeting off at 15 min” and “remind the team to stick to the 3 questions”… all good advice but you’re fixing the wrong problem. I believe this behavior to be an indicator of a dysfunction within the team itself. In a truly collaborative environment teams should be discussing and solving problems constantly and not just at certain points through the sprint (like the daily stand up). If they’re only collaborating around the daily stand up then something is wrong and the team has a dysfunction preventing constant collaboration…

4 thoughts on “The chatty daily standup…”

  1. What he said.

    How does one ‘collaborate constantly’ tho? As one of those who considers a break of concentration to be punishable by fates far worse than death, I’m going to struggle to work with someone who feels thinking aloud is a socially acceptable practice…

  2. Good point, never underestimate the need for developers to “zone”. I agree but people have to find a way to work together not only at meetings but during the day as well. I guess it’s up to the team to decide how that works best all I’m saying is that it MUST happen in some way.

    One way I think it can work is to make people clearly aware of when you’re “zoning” and when you’re coming up for air… use a flag or something, or even better, I’ve seen a technique that’s taking off now called The Pomodoro Technique (http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/). Essentially you break your work day into 25min work / 5 min “break” sessions and you use some kind of indicator to flag the beginning/end of a session (generally a kitchen timer of some sort). You could grab someone between these sessions?

    What I’m trying to say is collaboration is important, “zoning” is just as important, gotta find a good balance between the two…

  3. I couldn’t agree more. The team must not use the standup as the only comunication tool. Information in a good team must flow constantly in the most efficient manner for that particular team. The standup should almost just be a summary.

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