Step 7: Stand Up And Be Counted!

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So you’ve got your backlog in order, estimated your backlog, clarified your requirements, planned your sprint and created a collaborative workspace. You’re sprinting to achieve your sprint goals; now you’re ready for Step #7 – Stand up and be counted!

Hold a daily stand-up meeting. The whole team must be present. It’s not optional. The whole team must be involved. Including, very importantly, the Product Owner. And any actively involved business, user or customer representatives. And any other specialists actively involved in the Sprint, even if they’re not usually part of the core Scrum team.

The team stands, in a half circle around their Sprint whiteboard. This is where Scrum gets its name. This is the Scrum.

Each team member reports back to the team in turn. Only the person reporting back should speak at one time.

Their report should be concise and focused. Their report should address 3 key questions:

1. What have they achieved since the last meeting? (yesterday)
2. What will they achieve before the next meeting? (tomorrow)
3. Is anything holding up their progress? (‘impediments’)

Quick questions can be answered there and then. But if any issues are raised as part of the report back, or if anyone has any questions that need further discussion, they should raise them but refrain from discussing them in detail until after the Scrum. Only those needed for the discussion can stay back to discuss together after the Scrum meeting is finished. Everyone else can get back to work.

This is about each and every team member taking responsibility for their own work. Taking responsibility and reporting back to their peers.

The Scrum Master is responsible for facilitating the Scrum meeting. Keeping it focused. Keeping it timely. Keeping it ‘on topic’. The Scrum Master is also responsible for removing impediments. Impediments raised during the Scrum can be noted on the whiteboard for the Scrum Master to deal with.

The Scrum Master does not have to solve all impediments personally. They can delegate. But they are responsible for ensuring the impediments are addressed. And addressed quickly. A key part of the Scrum Masters role is to protect the team and keep them focused on the tasks in hand.

It doesn’t particularly matter exactly when the meeting is. But it must be held in the same place, at the same time, every day. It must be routine. Like clockwork. So it must be at a time when all team members can attend.

Some agile teams agree a penalty for late arrival to the Scrum. Like most things in agile development, this should be a team decision. Our teams generally have a £1 fine for late arrival. This fine is paid to the Scrum Master and the team decides how to spend it at the end of a Sprint. Lateness usually stops as a result.

Stay focused on the purpose of the Scrum. With all team members present, it’s an expensive meeting. You cannot afford for it to regularly overrun. It has to be brief and to the point. For practical reasons, and for everyone’s sanity. With practice, you should be able to keep it to 15 minutes, even with a large Scrum team, because the updates are little but often.
That’s it! Next we look at the how to track progress using a daily burndown chart