Ah, the elusive, well-executed stand up meeting. In my experience, the stand up or daily Scrum is often the first thing we try to implement when introducing a team to Scrum and also the first thing to deteriorate as teams mature or don’t mature. But what actually makes a good stand up and what are some symptoms to avoid for a poor one? I’ve been circling this for awhile now and here is what I’ve come up with – including the ‘eyes closed stand up.’
I was recently talking to a former co-worker on one of my previous Scrum teams about team rooms. A fundamental of team formation and performance is teams being together and bonding through work and fun. While many companies proclaim they’re practicing Agile/Scrum, co-location and team rooms seem to have become more optional than mandatory. While we cannot completely get away from distributed teams, it seems that often even with teams that have members in the same place those teams are not sharing a space. From this practice I’ve seen teams having a harder time forming, norming, and performing (though they don’t seem to have storming problems). What benefits are teams missing when they don’t have a shared space? And even when they do have one, are they then lacking the ability to work with distributed teams?
I’m going to start off by saying that I know Scrum and metrics don’t necessarily get along. But I will also acknowledge that it’s a necessary evil in most cases. And in a lot of cases it doesn’t have to be evil. Metrics are simply: a method of measuring something. In Scrum, we measure a lot of things. We measure the size of our work items, we measure the effort or time it takes to complete them. We measure our accuracy. All of this is in our quest to become predictable as a team and to improve (and we need to start with a baseline measurement to know if we’ve improved). But when others start taking notice of our metrics, that’s when things get tricky.
I spent the beginning of this week at the Scrum Gathering – New Orleans (SGNOLA). As always, it proved to be a great time full of culture, learning, networking, and fun. I like to do recaps after conferences sometimes: first to ensure that I don’t lose what I captured, and second to share my thoughts with those who were unable to attend. The highlight of SGNOLA was my co-presentation with Leslie J. Morse: Can Definition of Ready make Scrum “The Big Easy?”
On a project I was ScrumMastering for I noticed much contention between many of the different roles on the team. In keeping true to Agile and Scrum we are supposed to be “cross-functional” but what does that really mean? I kept hearing “they’re not doing their job” and “that’s not MY job” in regard to requirements gathering, writing stories, and even bug fixes. There have been many pieces written on the roles of members of a Scrum team as well as many things written on cross-functionality of members, but what does that really mean and where do we draw the line to keep people accountable?