Understanding Daily Stand-ups
Updated: Mar 9
The practice of the daily stand-up not only provides a forum for regular status updates, but brings problems immediately into focus for quick action. It's this fast feedback that helps the teams react to change successfully, and makes it imperative that the daily stand-up be one of the first essential routines that any Agile team establish, regardless of office locations.
What is it?
Daily status meeting that lasts 15 minutes or less
Uses three key questions to create commitment and remove blocks
- What I did yesterday
- What I'll do today
- I am blocked by...
NO problem solving occurs in the daily stand-up; it is for status only, not discussion. If a team member wants to discuss something, they can propose a discussion for a time in the future.
Participants usually stand rather than sit to ensure the meeting is over quickly.
Why is it important?
Team evaluates how they are delivering to the iteration plan
Team members inform each other of their commitment for the day
Provides visibility on delays and obstacles
The scrum master, product owner and the delivery team
Stakeholders and customers can observe and are encouraged to attend, but they do not participate
The scrum master takes notes on each team member's obstacles
Tips for geographically-dispersed teams
Within workday time zones:
If the team members are within eight hours of each other, the team should determine the best time of day to hold their stand-up. For example, a daily conference call could be scheduled at 8am Pacific time, which would allow other team members in the Mountain, Central, and Eastern time zones to dial in and participate at 9am, 10am, and 11am respectively.
Beyond an 8-hour time difference:
When it becomes unreasonable to have all team members attend the same meeting, have multiple stand-ups. Try to keep the number of stand-ups limited, as there still needs to be coordination and communication among the geographically-dispersed teams. This communication can take several different forms:
A single member from Team A is selected (on a rotating basis if preferred) to attend Team B's stand-up, or vice versa. This usually means that the individual ambassador will have to join these meetings outside normal work hours.
Team A and Team B have separate stand-up, and record their status in an online tool (CA Agile Central, SharePoint, wikis) that is reviewed during each team's stand-up For example, Team A could update their task status in CA Agile Central during the standup, as well as post notes on blocking issues. Team A would also view the results of Team B's stand-up in the same tool. Note: Never let the tool replace human contact! Pick up the phone every few days to keep the lines of communication open.
Be sure to make use of the wide variety of communication tools available: conference calling, video conferences, instant messaging, wikis, and other third-party knowledge sharing tools.