Stand-up for your rights!

Hola there! How is the weekend going coffee-lovers? Weather in Málaga is so good! And I went to see Malaga FC playing Spanish Cup and we won  the game! (we destroyed Deportivo) I cannot complain!

Malaga FC is just awesome!

Focusing. The daily stand-up, daily scrum or just stand-up is considered to be the most important meeting of the Scrum world. But why? And why not?

Many not very-scrum teams usually think that this meeting is just useless and reduce the concentration as to be thought as a break or an interruption which breaks the rhythm. Obviously I quite disagree with it. What would you expect I was going to say? :)

It is just a short daily meeting where we have to know what we did the day before, what are we doing tomorrow and what are our blockers. The method to extract this information is via focusing on the individuals. The individuals themselves will be acting as a part of the cake - that is the team - and in orders will speak 1-by-1 about their own progress. A good stand-up rhythm should help us to understand easily the status and get the snapshot or the team at that particular time. The role in the Scrum Master is to ease the rhythm and participate if we are possibly losing focus.

In traditional management the main lead (manager) usually updates the team and lets them know what to do. Here you are the challenge. The member of the teams are composing the team status from their updates and will also raise up their hands to say "I will take the development of that story". The day after, the rest of the people would expect to listen about the completion of that task. So in some ways it also enforces to encourage the significance of the commitment. We should feel as in other members are our customers - and the other way around. Because there is no such success on getting all the stuff done if we cannot complete all the items. Oh man, when I take a commitment in the morning, I cannot fail to my peers, this is pure adrenaline!

The issue here is how to make the literature introduced in the previous two paragraphs part of your culture. That's why people think that "this meeting useless".  If you are in this situation, you better call Saul. Let's see which are they:

1. Scrum teams of more/less people than necessary. People tend to think that this can just work with 14 people. After you speak, and 4 or 5 do it, you wont' listen to the rest. This is not an issue specific of the stand-up itself. We should have never had that size from the day 0.

2. Information provided out of the focus of the sprint. It is very important to keep a high level of focus. Sometimes we can see that the scrum teams are formed by people that are not working in the sprint. People that provide information that has nothing to do with it. "Yes, I had a 1-to-1 and I went to a doctor appointment." Or just simply, lack of good skills to summarize the information so everybody can follow you up. The fact that we are speaking to ourselves in a way that nobody follow up. Sounds like noise. Even worse, simply, the most annoying response: "I cannot remember what I did". Wow!
It is not easy to speak in public and tidy up the information in order to reach our audience nicely. A trick to try to "educate" people in providing updates is via moving the style from "individuals speak about the stories" into "let's go through the stories and let's get the individuals". This reduces the self-organized spirit a bit but it improves the understanding of where we are today. I would recommend taking this path until the team is ready to walk by its own.

3. No real commitment. "What should I take?". Team is still not as mature that the people cannot make commitments by themselves. This makes the stand-up as a "Reporting to the leader" rather than a fluent communication between other peers. If I am just reporting to the leader, and he knows well what I am doing, why are we having this meeting? So this is very typical on "imposed" commitment scenarios. Hence, Scrum Masters will just tell people what to do. This is not an issue on the stand-up itself, this is part of the idea of cultural change and the stand-up is just an scenario where this can be demonstrated. As I have said many times and in other posts this is the most difficult change in Agile teams but let's not just blame the stand-up for it.

As this post is an specific about the stand-up. I have brought better ways on "the exercise itself of updating the team". I took this game from the awesome tastycupcakes The Scrumheads

We practiced it few times in my last coaching!
 I will focus on telling you that:
1. Yesterday I was drafting the information of this post.
2. Today I will review the information so I will get the post published.
3. I have no blockers to do it.

And now stand-up for your rights!


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