Archive for the ‘Daily Standup’ Category

For this ATQ,  Pawel Brodzinski helped me out with the questions.
1) Looking at a burn-up chart one can say:
a) How much work has been done
b) How much work is yet to be done
c) What is roughly the pace at which the work is progressing
d) When roughly the work is expected to be done
e) How much time has elapsed since the team started tracking work using the chart
2) Looking at a burn-up chart one can’t say:
a) How much time it took to build work items that are completed
b) How many work items were completed on each day
c) The exact date when the work will be finished
d) How many people worked in a team on each day
e) What the quality of estimates for each work item was
3) On a burn-up chart you measure amount of work on a vertical axis. What measure you can use?
a) Story points
b) Number of work items of any type
c) Number of user stories
d) Weighted size, e.g. if you use T-shirt sizing, L item will be worth more than M, etc.
e) Estimated effort needed to complete work
4) What is a difference between a burn-up and a burn-down chart?
a) On a burn-up chart the curve goes up, not down
b) It is easier to show scope change on a burn-up chart
c) On a burn-up chart the curve shows only change of completed work, while on burn-down it can also refer to the change of scope
d) Steepness of the curve on a burn-up chart always allows to figure out the pace of work, while on a burn-down chart it isn’t always possible
e) A burn-up chart can be easily enhanced to Cumulative Flow Diagram while it’s not that easy with a burn-down chart

Please add your answers in the comments and on monday I’ll publish Pawel’s answers.

 

Last weeks Thursday I published another ATQ this one about Daily standups. The questions came from Simon Baker. Here are his answers: (I added my comments with his, to show there is not one truth)

1. What are the goals of the daily stand-up?

a) Share status information.

b) Report progress to the manager.

c) Identify impediments.

d) Set direction and synchronise the day’s activities.

e) Remove impediments.

f) Assign work to people.

Correct Answers:

a) Even when there’s promiscuous pair programming, it’s useful for individuals to hear fresh updates from their team mates (especially at the start of the day) to get a sense of overall progress towards the goals. It’s also helpful to share anything interesting and relevant that people may find  generally useful.

c) Impediments can’t be removed if nobody knows about them. It’s therefore important to make people aware of new impediments and raise early awareness, and also update them on progress to remove existing impediments.

d) With an understanding of current status the team can organize itself to provide assistance where it’s needed and work collectively to maintain the flow of work to done and move closer to achieving its goals.

Incorrect Answers:

b) The daily standup is the team’s forum for communicating the latest useful information to one another and collectively coordinating their activities for the day. It’s not a meeting for people to report to a manager or leader.

e) Removing impediments takes time and happens outside the daily standup.

f) Work is not assigned to people. People volunteer. The team is meant to be self-organizing and should decide for itself how best to deploy in order to achieve its goals.

Remarks from Yves:

F) >> this is were you see that details are important. When you assign the work in the team by the team. You could say it F is also ok. (Although I prefer people sign up themselves)

2. What do people talk about at the daily stand-up?

a) Impediments that are causing delays.

b) Percentage complete on work in progress.

c) What will be attempted today.

d) Solutions to problems.

e) Ask questions to clarify understanding.

f) What was accomplished yesterday.

Correct Answers:

a) People actively working to remove impediments and clear obstacles blocking stories provide updates on their progress.

c) Individuals state succinctly what they’ll be working on today.

e) It’s often necessary for people to ask clarifying questions of others to get a clear understanding of what’s been said. If a discussion develops about problem solving it should be taken offline and continued after the daily standup.

f) Individuals provide a bulletin on the progress they made yesterday. This is headline information and not details. It can be helpful to summarise the acceptance criteria satisfied (providing the acceptance criteria are expressed in a meaningful way).

Incorrect Answers:

b) Progress isn’t reported by the percentage done. As humans, we’re very good at knowing when something is started and when something has been finished, but we’re terrible at knowing anything in-between. It can be informative to talk about progress in terms of the acceptance criteria satisfied or outstanding (providing the acceptance criteria are expressed in a meaningful way).

d) Make people aware of any new problems but the daily standup is too short to fix problems. Discussing potential solutions and agreeing a way forward is done outside the daily standup.

Remarks Yves

B) Depends on how you look at progres. % progress on storys/task I agree.

If WIP is shown by one card per task/story. You do see some progress indication when some parts are done.

3. Why do people standup at the daily standup?

a) Stimulate a higher level of attentiveness.

b) More people can huddle.

c) Helps keep the standup short.

d) It’s easier for people to queue up to speak.

e) Avoid deep vein thrombosis.

f) It’s more sociable.

Correct Answers:

a) Standing up prompts people to engage as their physical movement stimulates a mental readiness, for a while at least.

c) Standing up provides everyone with a physical reminder to be expeditious. When people start fidgeting it’s a sure sign the standup is taking too long.

Incorrect Answers:

b) It might be possible to fit more people in when everyone is standing, and it might even make it easier for people to see the board, but in and of itself it’s not really a reason to be standing.

d) People don’t queue up to speak at the daily standup, the team walks the board, i.e. the story owners speak according to the order of work on the board. Typically, impediments are covered first followed by the stories in progress (including defects, systems work, and technical debt), either working down from the highest value story (story board) or working backwards from the done column (Kanban board).

e) While office workers probably do spend more time on their butts it’s arguably not long enough to develop deep vein thrombosis.

f) Sociability probably has more to do with how friendly people are, how well they know each other, how well they get on together, and whether it’s a safe environment than it does standing up.

4. What are the signs of a good daily stand-up?

a) Everybody gets to speak.

b) It happens at the same time every day, where the work happens.

c) It manages itself.

d) Afterwards, people feel energised and are clear about what they’re doing.

e) Stakeholders come to observe.

f) It takes less than 15 minutes.

Correct Answers:

b) Doing the daily standup at the same time and in the same place removes coordination costs and helps make it a habit. It also lets other people drop by and observe proceedings. A standup first thing in the morning provides a springboard for launching into the day. It makes sense to do it around the board because that’s where the information lives about what’s going on and it provides triggers on what needs to happen.

c) A good standup feels like it managed itself. I’ve seen daily standups done without any facilitation where people get to the point, share information, organise, and jump into the work day with clarity.

d) A good standup gets people energised.Maintaining a clear sense of purpose and urgency to make a difference rather than just get busy on activities reminds people why they’re dong what they’re doing and focuses their attention on what needs to be done to achieve the goals.

e) This may be a contentious view but I think it’s good to have stakeholders and people from other parts of the business present who want to hear about progress or relevant information. I include an ‘any other business’ piece at the end of the daily standup to allow stakeholders a few seconds to share relevant information with the team. Sharing information in the presence of stakeholders removes the need for other status meetings and reports.

f) The daily standup ought to be short and sweet. 15 minutes or less is a general rule of thumb, regardless of the number of people attending. Any longer than 15 minutes and energy dissipates and minds begin to wander.

Incorrect Answers:

a) Nowadays it’s common practice to talk about the stories rather than each person answer the three Scrum questions. Focus shifts from personal commitment to moving work in progress to done. This means it’s not necessary for everyone to speak at the daily standup. Perhaps the current story owners do most of the talking.

Remarks Yves

I do agree in general with the remark about A. Yet on not teams that struggle with commitment I can be good to have everyone speaking. And if people don’t speak, what they have done should have been discussed (f ex if the paired, their pair should have spoken)

Some URL’s about Daily Standups

See what wikipedia has to say about standups

A few years back Simon wrote a popular article about Standup’s.

Jason Yip wrote a few patterns about Standups (on Martin Fowlers blog).

Also Mike Cohn wrote about standups

On the first wiki (from Ward) there is also a page about standups

Even on Methods and Tools has an article on Daily Standups (from Mike Vizdos)

Big Visible has a post on extreme standups

Also the website Extreme programming has a post on standup meeting

Because of my work on the “Who is agile” book I did not publish new ATQ in a few weeks.
A lot of people struggle with a standup. As with a lot of things, it’s simple but not easy.
For this ATQ, Simon Baker helped me out with the questions.

1. What are the goals of the daily stand-up?
a) Share status information.
b) Report progress to the manager.
c) Identify impediments.
d) Set direction and synchronize the day’s activities.
e) Remove impediments.
f) Assign work to people.

2. What do people talk about at the daily stand-up?
a) Impediments that are causing delays.
b) Percentage complete on work in progress.
c) What will be attempted today.
d) Solutions to problems.
e) Ask questions to clarify understanding.
f) What was accomplished yesterday.

3. Why do people standup at the daily standup?
a) Stimulate a higher level of attentiveness.
b) More people can huddle.
c) Helps keep the standup short.
d) It’s easier for people to queue up to speak.
e) Avoid deep vein thrombosis.
f) It’s more sociable.

4. What are the signs of a good daily stand-up?
a) Everybody gets to speak.
b) It happens at the same time every day, where the work happens.
c) It manages itself.
d) Afterwards, people feel energized and are clear about what they’re doing.
e) Stakeholders come to observe.
f) It takes less than 15 minutes.

Last week I published an Agile Thursday Quiz about Scrum of Scrums
Here are my answers:

What is the purpose of a Scrum Of Scrums
A, B, C, F
Allows clusters of teams to discuss their work
Informing other teams what slowing your team down
Informing other teams about team decisions
Inform other teams when you will be put something in their way

A: I see A also as a correct answer as it’s usually one of the only places were teams interact. Yes if the discussion takes to long it should be taken offline and be discussed in another meeting. (This is why multiple choice is bad for agile quizes..)

F: That last sentence has confused lots of people. Yes it is said in a negative way. Hopefully you will inform another team also when your team does something that unblock them. But when you would block hem, it’s important to let them know ASAP.

 

Who attends the Scrum Of Scrums
Preferable D (at worst C)
One designated person of every team
A rotating role within every team

Everyone else is free to follow; Yes usually Scrummasters and ProductOwner follow a SoS, yet, it’s not intented for them.
Communities of Practise might be other places for likewise people to meet.

 

Links about SoS
Boris Gloger has 3 secrets for a good Scrum of Scrum
Xavier Quesada has tips to make the Scrum of Scrum info visual
Mike Cohn has some advice on how to conduct the Scrum of Scrum

What is for you the purpose of a standup:

B,C, E
Inform your co-workers what you are working on
Ask for help when you are stuck
Know what your co-workers are working on

Taking decisions could be part if you do it quickly.
It is a place where you can discover that a decision should be taken. (That is not the same)
>> In that sense you could say that my answer is different from that of the SoS.
(Which is OK for me, I don’ think one size fit’s all answers are healthy)

Links Daily Standup:
Wikipedia on Stand-ups
Martin Fowler on why it’s not just about standing up
Mike Cohn on the Daily Scrum

What is the role of a ScrumMaster

B, D, E
Teaches the teams about agile (scrum)
Removes impediments for the team
Facilitates meetings

Links Role Scrummaster

Role of the Scrummaster
7 responsibilities of the Scrummaster
John Hill wrote about the empowerment of the team by the Scrummaster

At a client we did a ScrumOfScrum to enhance the communication between teams.
These different teams work in different places of the building. (Part of the problem)
This had as an effect that the SoS always started late. One team member took charge and started to gather everyone at the start.
Although it only removed a symptom, it worked.
(I support idea’s from teams to encourage them to come up with more idea’s.)
And then that person moved to another part of the company. (For reasons not related to the SoS)
Now the SoS started even later. I once waited longer then the time it took to hold the SoS.
The next one I canceled after waiting for 5 minutes.
I had a mail in my drafts for a few weeks explaining What is a Scrum of Scrum etc…
I did not send it as I did not like the patronizing message it would send.
I do not like mail, because of the distributed way of teams, mail was a good way to distribute the message.
Then a teammember send a remark about the SoS. That triggered some questions in me.

And then I realized I had been planning to create a large agile quiz, to use with this team. And I had been postponing it.

Combining two challenges into one solution, I created a small quiz about Scrum of Scrums.

This is the quiz. (multiple answers possible)
Please answer in the comments. I will publish my answers later, together with a few links.
The idea is to create discussions.

What is the purpose of a Scrum Of Scrums

A) Allows clusters of teams to discuss their work
B) Informing other teams what is slowing your team down
C) Informing other teams about team decisions
D) Report progress to management about the project
E) Give management time & place to put pressure on the teams
F) Inform other teams when you will be put something in their way

Who attends the Scrum Of Scrums

A) Scrum master of every team
B) All team members of every team
C) One designated person of every team
D) A rotating role within every team
E) Product Owner of every team
F) R & D manager

What is for you the purpose of a standup:

A) Report to management
B) Inform your co-workers what you are working on
C) Ask for help when you are stuck
D) Take decisions on issues
E) Know what your co-workers are working on
F) Have a time to chat with eachother

What is the role of a ScrumMaster

A) The manager of the team
B) Teaches the teams about agile (scrum)
C) The secretary of the team
D) Removes impediments for the team
E) Facilitates meetings
F) Is responsible for teams commitments

I plan to publish one small quiz about every week called Agile Thursday Quiz

This is a cool video on how to use a kinect with your wallboards.

Now as you know I am not a big fan of electronic boards, but with tools like this, you have the best of boths words.
Check out their website for more: atlss.in/kinect-wallboards

When will you implement this?

My ideas:

  • use this in combination with a real (paper) task board
  • use QR codes to recognise the stories.
  • Use this with a projector.
  • Use this in the teamroom to have people make changes while sitting down (wild idea that needs more thoughts..)

Agh I really want to try this out

Shared-Vision

 

 

 

 

 

 

In every book about teamwork, software management, etc you will read the same, great teams have a shared vision.
My idea of a shared vision is different from what you will find in most books. These books talk about creating a shared vision statement. For me a shared vision is a state, not a statement.

Yes creating a statement together is one way of creating such a shared vision state. I’m afraid that people reading about such a workshop, only think about the visual result (the statement) and try to be efficient and come up with a statement themselves.
No matter how smart you are, no matter if you found the best shared vision statement, you wasted all your time and probably made the life of the team member a lot more miserable. Although I’m not a big footbal expert, my nicest example of a shared vision state is when one player runs along the line with the ball and then passes to the other side, without looking, knowing his colleague is there.

The visions statement of such a team could be as simple as “we will win as much as possible” or even “have fun all the way”. Does this mean the statement does not matter at all? Once a shared vision statement is created it’s most important work is done.
Now it is used to remind the team of the state of shared vision.
While I’m working, I’m completely in a flow going in one direction, and that might not be in the direction of the team. When we have a shared vision statement. This statement will remind me about the vision space I shared with my colleagues.
Getting teams in that space called shared vision is one of the most powerfull ways a coach can help a team.

Jim and Michele McCarthy think a shared vision is so important that they spend 4 days from their 5 days Teamwork Bootcamp on it.  As unbelieveble as its sound, they have found a predictable way to bring teams in a state of shared vision. (Everytime I participated in a bootcamp I saw working. Ok, that is exagerated, everytime except one, and I also know why it did not work that one time.)

Although I think it is the best way. It’s not the only way. You also have Lyssa’s journey lines or the Strategic Play creating a Vision with lego.

 

Agile Practises that support a Shared Vision:

Books & Articles to read

Books recommended by others:

Just as there was a risk with “yes we can”, long term vision might block people block from starting. I call this the perfectionist syndrome. People rather do nothing than doing something wrong.
Well, in reality never taking any decision is worse than taking a wrong decision sometime.
The cure for this syndrome is “Just Do IT” A lot of books about starting your own business (see the biography), tell you the same thing: better start.

Just start doing something,as whatever you do now, it will be wrong anyway!
😉
Ok that might feel bad. Stick with me for a second. If you take for granted that you will be wrong whatever happens, you will feel better if actually, what you do is wrong. (In the sense that, you did expect it to go wrong anyway. )

And if, by fortune, you are right, it will be a bonus and you have all every reason to have started !

The benefit of starting before you think you know what to do, is that your customer will discover what he wants by you showing him what you’ve got. (And you will discover it at the same time.)
yes, just like you, I want my customer to know what she wants before I start. Unfortunatly customers never do. When I show her what I have done. She looks at it, sees something she does not like and then tells me what she needs. Then I make a new version and we start over. After a few versions, we together create something my customer really likes. (This is true even if I am the customer.)

A lot of agilists, react to BDUF, which is the best know part of perfectionism. That is the old model perfectionism, the “Active perfectionism”.
In agile teams I see the same idea popping up: “ I can’t start with a scrum-board as I don’t have the right material/software etc…
The right answer is “Yes you can. Just DO IT.”

Just look at your todo list, GTD cards, backlog, what is blocking you from starting? Really? Are you sure it’s not resistance?
In Do the Work, Steven Pressfield goes over the different reasons of resistance.  Are your blockers really blockers or only resistance?

Look at your list again. Forget what block you and just DO IT.

 

Agile Techniques that support Just Do it

  • Continuous Integration
  • Refactoring
  • Unit testing
  • Daily Standup’s

Books:

Games that teach “Just Do IT”:

Thanks to Jurgen & Oana for reviewing this post.

Do you remember the first time you drove a car?
I still remember my first time.
I was very intensely holding the steering wheel. I was only looking through the front windshield.
I was sure I did not move the steering wheel and yet the car moved from left to right.
When I made a correction move, I overshot and moved to the other side.
Last year I drove from Belgium to Bordeaux. I think that at some places I drove 100 kilometers without making correcting moves. At least that is what it felt like. In reality I think I made an incredible amount of micro changes. What has happened in the 20 years between my first ride and my ride to Bordeaux is that I enhanced my system of receiving  feedback and responding to it. Yes, baby steps again.
And every time I ride an unknown car, I have to adapt my system, actually sometimes when my car comes back from a service, it behaves different. Not much, but I feel it has changed and I adjust my driving style.

Now imagine that your front windshield is closed. And the only feedback to drive is your rearview mirror.
That means that the only thing you can see is behind you. Did I hit something along the way?
That is like only doing retrospectives (lessons-learned) as a post-mortem. The patient has died. They do a it to find who did it and to prevent future dead’s. I don’t like that kind of feedback. CSI might look nice on television, in real live I prefer check-ups to keep the patient alive.
Please take a pencil, a baseball bat or anything with that shape. In a moment I want you to:

  • put this post aside
  • put the pencil with its smallest part on the index finger of your main hand.
  • try to keep the pencil (or whatever object you have chosen) in balance.
  • while you do this, you keep track of the time.
  • come back to this post 🙂
  • write your time in the comments and continue reading.

Ok, now it’s time to do it.
How did this go? Was it easy?
Now I want you to do the same with your eyes closed.
How did this go? Did you achieve the same time?
I don’t think so. (if you do please tell me in the comments)

Feedback makes a difference even for such a small task.
Now what if someone else would be your eyes? By now you might be tired of these exercises, if you aren’t, please try the following;
you close your eyes and while someone else gives you feedback, you do the balancing act.

Does it work better? If it doesn’t, maybe change PM euh feedback person.
Does this new person allow you to be back at your original level?

If you are like most people, you aren’t. Looks like your feedback is better than the delayed feedback from other people.
What if you are allowed to open your eyes for one second every 10 seconds?
What if you would do it every 5 seconds?
I don’t think you need to try this, to know that the shorter the feedback cycle, the better the result.
The agile mindset is about shortening the feedback cycle.

If you need another story, check out Lisa Crispin’s nice posts  about how shorter feedback helped her with donkey driving.

An old scrum exercise, still helpfull for new scrum masters and teams. The rules to play this with your team can be found at William Wake’s site: Scrum from hell.

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