Where’s my Chair Gone?

by | May 11, 2016

escher / Pixabay

A few of us were having a bit of a giggle in the office about stand-ups and someone suggested that it would make a good blog; so here goes:
A standup is a daily ceremony, typically at the start of the working day when the Dev-team, Scrum Master and Product Owner get together. The Dev-team each take turns to answer three simple questions:

  1. What have you done since the last standup?
  2. What’s are you going to do before the next standup?
  3. Is there anything blocking your progress?

At most it’s a minute per person for each of the Dev-team. Neither the Scrum Master nor Product Owner have speaking rights.
The Scrum Master, whilst organizing the standup and ensuring each contributor doesn’t deviate too far off track, should ensure that the team aren’t reporting to him/her; they should be talking to each other. I try and avoid standing at the front so that they can focus on the Sprint board.
Likewise, the Product Owner is there to listen, not be reported to, and should also stand aside. The Product Owner is also there to move stories from done to done-done when he/she is happy that they have met all of the acceptance criteria.
The standup, unsurprisingly, is denoted by everyone standing up! This serves several purposes. Firstly, no one gets comfortable in a chair; you know, the I’m-in-this-for-the-long-haul feeling. Secondly, by standing, the message is clear; we’re not staying long! Thirdly, the Dev-team should be able to move around; at least to the board to move cards as they progress through the sprint.
If there is any discussion needed about issues then this can be done after the standup and can be a seated (in)activity. This is also the opportunity for the Product Owner or Scrum Master to talk with the team. This may be a once-a-week activity, definitely not a daily opportunity for a chat!
So there’s standup in a nut-shell. Importantly, here’s a few things that a standup is not:

  • A meeting! A chance to sit together and have a chat about what’s going on, what needs to be done and what is generally wrong with the world.
  • A free for all. It’s not an opportunity for stakeholders to turn up and quiz the Dev-team on the status of their user stories.
  • A chair-less meeting. Just because the chairs have been taken out of the meeting room does not make it a standup!
  • A time for coffee and doughnuts.
  • 28 people taking turns to give an update that the other 27 don’t care about. That’s a status update meeting.

So next time you find yourself in a chair-less room, ask yourself; is this a stand-up, or have Property removed all the chairs for a larger meeting down the hall?
What’s the first rule of Agile? Drink your coffee before stand-up
Geoff blogs from a flat overlooking the intersection of Agile, Business, and Life.
You can read all of Geoff’s blogs here.
We run regular Agile courses with a business intelligence slant in both Wellington and Auckland. Find out more here.



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