Have you heard about going on a ‘meeting diet’ using agile stand-ups? Meeting fatigue can happen whether your teams are on-site or remote. If you have already a lot on your plate and you know that some of your meetings are not productive, it's time to try a ‘meeting diet’ with agile stand-ups.
First things first, what is a stand-up meeting?
“In many sports like (American) football and rugby, the team huddles before each play. The huddle is strategic: it keeps the team informed, connected, and calibrated throughout the game. For software teams, the stand-up is like the team’s huddle. It’s even commonly known as the daily scrum and reinforces “we” to keep everyone aware of the team’s landscape and progress.”
How does it all work?
Daily stand-up meetings should be no longer than 15 minutes to stay effective, and they never should be treated as status meetings. Usually, participants respond to three simple questions to generate structure:
What did I accomplish yesterday?
What will I do today?
What obstacles, if any, are impeding my progress?
Whether you are in person or you have a distributed team here’re some tips on how to host them effectively.
NO excuses - Prepare to share! The scrum master (facilitator of a team) should set up the daily stand-up with video conferencing and prepare to share the team's Jira Scrum or Kanban or any other board that you use to visualize your work in progress.
Don’t turn it into a status report. Your goal is to keep the team aligned, not report status to whoever’s in charge in the room.
Focus on the next steps and finish on time. Focus on the 3 questions (Scrum Model): What did I accomplish yesterday? What will I do today? What obstacles, if any, are impeding my progress? and respect the time-box you have for sharing.
Use visual reminders. Team members should flag items that are impeded. This will act as a visual reminder to discuss and follow up after the stand-up. In the flag comments, you can use the @mention in the comments section to notify individuals of specific actions.
Make team members visual - At Trello, teams use the “Brady Bunch” view on team video calls. This gives visibility to all team members so you can connect with more than just the person that’s talking. Zoom provides this functionality, as do other conferencing platforms.
Be open to asynchronous stand-ups - For teams without overlapping work hours, asynchronous stand-ups are the way! Teams can Slack or comments on their work board to share updates as they come online. Adding a little wink and some personality to asynchronous stand-ups helps keep everyone engaged.
Go from the highest to the lowest prioritized items. Ensure the team members are collectively working from the highest to lowest prioritized items.
Record meeting notes and actions in Confluence or any other agile tool after meeting and share with the rest of the team for transparency and accountability.
Stand-ups are one of the fundamental parts of agile development, these meetings allow teams to briefly share updates and boost productivity. By reducing the number of meetings and with good sprint planning and retrospection, you will start shifting not only some processes such as inefficient meetings, but also adopting a new mindset, and while some changes can be tricky and require time until everyone is aligned to new processes, these changes are achievable and worth it.