Juri Strumpflohner


It's not just Standing Up

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Juri Strumpflohner

I’m highly convinced that the hardest part of software development is people. Here are some of my notes of the awesome article from Jason Yip on “It’s Not Just Standing Up: Patterns for Daily Standup Meetings”.

People and organization aspects of the software development process are at least as important as the technical ones. Still they are often underestimated. A good working team can be a lot more productive, even though they might not have exceptional rockstar developers. This starts by optimizing meetings, coordinating work and especially good team communication.

My sketchnote summarizing the key points

Main Points

The team - it’s all about the team, which is the focus of the whole thing, not the manager (!). The goal is to have a self-organizing team that has daily standups to coordinate the effort, identify potential problems, share knowledge and lessons learned.

Focus on the work items - the focus should really lie on the work items to be done for the sprint, not just generic talk. The work items participate at the meeting, speak to them as well.

Talk about impediments, what you’re working today and what you finished yesterday - ..always focusing things on the dashboard. Also things that didn’t go so well and could have potential to optimize should go into an improvement board.

An Improvement Board is a publicly visible whiteboard or chart that identifies raised obstacles and tracks the progress of their resolution. An Improvement Board can be updated outside of stand-ups and serves as a more immediate and perhaps less confronting way to initially raise obstacles. https://martinfowler.com/articles/itsNotJustStandingUp.html

Talk order should be varied - which helps that people remain concentrated. Othewise the last ones in the group might not focus and just wait till the person before them speaks to get up. Throwing a ball around to the one speaking is a good approach: 1st, only the one having the ball can speak, avoiding multiple ppl speaking at the same time & people remain concentrated, because they could just be the next one to speak. Other methods are taking cards etc..

When and where? - have a dedicated place where to have the standup meetings. Also, think when to do them. Don’t necessarily use them to start the day especially if people don’t arrive at the same time. That might cause other people being there early to “wait for the standup to start work” which kills productivity. In such case, just do it before lunch break or later when everyone is sure to be there and ready.

Keep the energy level high - ..which works only to a max of 15 min. It should just be about updating people. Some people naturally dive into problem solving mode. Avoid that, take that offline, make sure the right people come together later and solve it.

Don’t report to the manager but to the team - The whole point is to have a self-organizing team. Sure, the manager might know issues from the clients and can bring them into the meeting. But during the standup, everyone speaking really doesn’t talk to the manager but to the team! Therefore it is important to rotate the facilitator and break eye contact with just one person.