Here’s a little something I wrote for the people I work with, after becoming frustrated with their misuse of the word “Scrum” to describe what were actually long boring time-wasting chats about whatever came to mind…
Each team within the company should have a “huddle” or “standup” meeting every day.
Here’s a great article with some case studies : www.inc.com/magazine/20071101/the-art-of-the-huddle.html
And here’s a thorough discussion of the principles of a good standup : martinfowler.com/articles/itsNotJustStandingUp.html
The purpose of this fast meeting is to provide a context for the day – to give everyone a chance to take each other’s pulse, and check the health of your projects. To know who has time, who is too busy, who is frustrated, who has momentum – and to be accountable to each other for our daily goals. You can quickly flag issues for discussion in smaller groups, or which might require escalation or help from another team. Teams that huddle daily find they interrupt each other less the rest of the day because there’s a fixed time when everyone knows they’ll have everyone else’s attention. Meeting daily also clears up issues that otherwise linger to clog up project meetings. The frequency, need for follow-up conversations and short structure result in a higher rate of knowledge transfer – a much more active intention than the typical status meeting.
The meeting should give energy, not take it. Energy comes from instilling a sense of purpose and a clear understanding what needs to be done to achieve it.
- What have you achieved since yesterday? Where do you have momentum, what good news can you share.
- What will you do today? What’s on your radar, what might you need help with.
- What’s your biggest bottle neck or roadblock? Where are you frustrated, who can help you.
- Start on time, every time. Try making the start time a particular minute, like 9:13
- All team members should participate. If China/Malaysia staff can be included by conference call, then good! Otherwise they should have their own standup and the two parts of the team should report to each other through a mash page or email.
- You’re not reporting to the team leader, you’re reporting to each other.
- Keep the meeting under 15 minutes. This is not a place for telling stories or solving problems. Try setting a 3-minute countdown timer and restart it for each person.
- No interruptions, no discussions. If two people start discussing one roadblock, they’re probably wasting three people’s time)
If your meeting is not daily and not short, just call it a meeting. A weekly hour-or-more discussion of the current projects and timelines and issues is not a standup, and should probably have an agenda and a leader and a formal agenda to keep it from becoming an energy-sapping waste of time.
And please, don’t call it a Scrum (Scum implies Sprints and the whole Agile framework, and if we keep using this term we’ll trick ourselves and our clients into thinking we’re an Agile company, which we’re not)