Since the retrospective pet peeves was viewed often and I enjoy ranting on pet peeves, I figured I would cover another common practice: Stand-ups. I have several pet peeves that I’ve witnessed (ok, at one time maybe did) that often lead to stand-ups that produce little value.
- Lasting forever: The reason behind standing is to force people to want to be quick about the meeting. It’s not meant to make people stand for an hour (yes, I’ve seen a stand-up last an hour!!). Stand-ups (if done well) will generate topics that need to be discussed. Don’t hijack the forum to highlight them by discussing them all at that time. Create a post-standup board and list the topics (think parking lot).
- Reporting to ScrumMaster: One of the first things I look for when observing stand-ups is whether people are looking at each other on the team or are they relaying their status to the project manager for documentation. One approach to avoiding this is having various people on your team run your stand-up.
- No Information Radiators: People collaborate together when they can visually see issues. It’s harder to identify opportunities to help from listening only. The contents in information radiators such as burn-downs, etc are meant to be tools to be leveraged by the team to help inspect and adapt. If you create the information radiator but don’t use it, what’s the point? Please don’t say – to report status.
- No impediments ever: The standard approach is what I did yesterday, what I will do today, any impediments. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve observed stand-ups where no one ever has an impediment – yet there are issues in the team. Huddles are another option where the focus is more on the impediments.
- Requesting write-up after stand-up: Please don’t do this to teams. The whole point is to build teamwork through collaboration. Having everyone go back and repeat what was said in an individual format for purposes of showing “up the chain” – will only make people resent the overhead. Instead, if you have to…record the stand-up or decide on top three things to report from stand-up, etc.
- No changes to share-outs in a week: Ever experience this for several days in a row “worked on coding user story A, continue on user story A, no impediments”? First, this provides very little value to the team to inspect and adapt from. Second, this is a sign that the team needs to work on breaking down the user stories. Third, people start tuning out (both the person doing the work and the rest) in the stand-up: there’s little value in long duration individual only work for a stand-up.
What are your stand-up pet peeves?