ATQ: Standup, the monday 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