Effective Daily Standups

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I recently saw this post from Matt Swanson about the effectiveness of the standard Scrum formula for daily stand-ups:

Thanks for posting it Matt.  It’s absolutely right to challenge this and the principle of adapting processes so they are more effective for your team is definitely the spirit of agile.

In terms of my own views about the standup format, I have worked with lots of teams that don’t like the standard 3 questions in Scrum and sometimes I don’t either.  Sometimes people talk about all sorts of stuff they did yesterday that no-one else is interested in and that’s boring and a waste of everyone’s time.

I have seen many teams experiment with different approaches to the standup.  The approach that is by far the most popular with most teams (and I think generally I would agree) is ‘talking to the cards’.  By that I mean that the Scrum Master (or anyone actually) facilitates a quick update on each card so everyone knows who is on what, where it’s up to and if anything is holding it up.  Teams that have done this have usually found it more effective to talk about the cards from right to left, as it helps the conversation to focus on the things that are nearer to being completed (and what they can do to push them over the line).

Personally speaking, I don’t like the 30 second standup idea in Matt’s blog post.  I think there is value in everyone understanding who is on what and where it’s up to, and the idea of everyone looking through github and jira every day rather than getting a quick heads-up from their colleagues is an approach that I believe wouldn’t actually happen in practice and makes me a bit sad for the loss of collaboration and sense of teamwork to get the cards done, and may not actually be any quicker.