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Patterns for Daily Stand-up Meetings Published

by Deborah Hartmann Preuss and Dan Bunea on Jul 19, 2006 |
Jason Yip has published "It's not just standing up", Patterns for Daily Standups on Martin Fowler's Bliki. In the article he discusses the benefits and consequences of common practices for daily stand-ups. The patterns are intended to help direct the experimentation and adjustment of new practitioners as well as provide points of reflection to experienced practitioners. James covers a number of patterns, some of which being:
  • All hands - Have interested stakeholders attend the daily status meetings instead of having multiple separate meetings/reports.
  • Pig and Chickens - Institute a rule where only the “committed” participate and the “involved” are only allowed to observe.
  • Same place, Same time - Don't change the time or place of your daily standups for any one individual.
  • Attend by Proxy - Every one must attend, if you can't, then call in, email a summary, or ask someone to represent you.
  • Use the standup to start the day.
  • Huddle - The stand-up should be more of a Huddle, than a meeting. If it's difficult to hear, bring everyone closer.
  • Standup - Require that all attendees Stand Up. Use standing up to link physical with mental readiness.
  • 15 minutes or less - Keep the daily stand-ups to Fifteen Minutes or Less. Even shorter is even better.
  • Round Robin - Use a simple rule to determine who goes next, instead of letting a manager pick.
The article also discusses a number of smells that indicate that meetings aren't going well, such as people reporting to the manager instead of each other, coming in late, socializing, being interrupted, not sticking to the point, etc.

Another very nice book chapter on daily standup meetings was written by James Shore in his forthcoming book Art of Agile Development at. There are more preview chapters there, all very interesting.

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distributed teams standup meetings by Alex Popescu

I am wondering how the standup meeting idea should be applied with distributed teams over completely different timezones.

In an attempt to keep it simple, and also deal with the timezone "issue", we have used something that we named "email standup", but finally I must confess it hasn't worked very well. So, I would really like to find out how standup should be used in a distributed env.

BR,

./alex
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.w( the_mindstorm )p.

Re: distributed teams standup meetings by Floyd Marinescu

In an attempt to keep it simple, and also deal with the timezone "issue", we have used something that we named "email standup", but finally I must confess it hasn't worked very well. So, I would really like to find out how standup should be used in a distributed env.


One problem with email standups (every team member emailing a short email answering the typical three questions) is that they are more like status reports than group huddles. They lack the team building element due to being so impersonal and are really only useful as a status report.

Perhaps that personal edge can only be achieved using voice or video conference...

Re: distributed teams standup meetings by Dan Bunea

We are now working on a distributed project: Timisoara-Romania, Liverpool, UK, Dublin, Northern Ireland and another developer in Wales. The hour diffrence is small (2 hours) however, the company that started the project is working on traditional waterfall methods, which proved quite disatrous: many times two people in two locations were building the same functionality (in real life is very hard to divide the entire work verically) or one developer broke the functionality another built previously. The pressure was increasing , acussations, delays etc.

Then I proposed having a daily meeting on skype, everyone telling what they did yesterday, what they will do today, what is preventing them from doing the job. Standard SCRUM questions. The main benefit I see now is that everyone hears what the others are doing. If for instance developer X will need to start tomorrow to write something that depends on a wizard already built, he can hear who built it, and after the meeting they start talking about it. The manager, finds out what the real problems are, and sees the cause if there are delays. I call it the daily sync meeting since it syncronizes the information on the project on everyone involved. It works great.

With the email standups, I think the main problem would be that people would not read the other people's emails and that would not let the information about the project be syncronized with everyone. Also talking is probably faster then the email meeting, but that works in our case where the time difference, also the cultural difference is small.

Re: distributed teams standup meetings by Alex Popescu

Dan, I mostly agree with your points, but as you mention this works in your environment because the team is only 2 hours away. In our case, different team members are even 14 hours away (and the normal distance is 7 hours). A daily Skype call would lead to having these members stay very long after programme or waking up very early. This is definitely not an option.

Another important aspect is that virtual communication is definitely more unproductive than face to face meetings. So, a 15 minutes standup is usually going to take 1 hour, and, as I said, this is completely unproductive.

Now, having this 2 constraints in mind, I would like to hear what agile coaches would suggest ;-).

./alex
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Re: distributed teams standup meetings by Dan Bunea

Hi Alex,

I see your constraints and as I said understand them. A similar situation to yours seem to have happened in a project described by Jeff Sutherland (scrumalliance.org/index.php/scrum_alliance/for_...), where they had developers in Russia, USA and Canada. Maybe asking on the SCRUM list (scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com), could trigger some answers?

Re: distributed teams standup meetings by Deborah Hartmann

Hi Alex. One suggestion I've heard from other coaches is: run two smaller teams (one on either side of the atlantic), and have each team do their own convenient "standup". Then do a "scrum of scrums" pattern across the two teams to synchronize. That does mean that one person needs to get up early or stay late, but since it's only one maybe it can be done from home via Skype?

The advantage of this approach is that each team has the possibility of real-time answers during the day, removing the annoying overnight lag of widely distributed teams.

Re: distributed teams standup meetings by Alex Popescu

[...] That does mean that one person needs to get up early or stay late, but since it's only one maybe it can be done from home via Skype?


I am wondering why that person should be punished this way? :-) (or what will pay back that person effort?). Frankly speaking I cannot see a good reason to accept such a practice.

Maybe asking on the SCRUM list (scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com), could trigger some answers?


Maybe :-). Thanks for the pointer.

./alex
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.w( the_mindstorm )p.

Re: distributed teams standup meetings by Deborah Hartmann

Hi Alex. We have a couple of articles on distributed Scrum here. :-)

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