The Key to a Successful Morning Stand-Up

The Leader of the Stand-Up knows what everyone is doing before the call begins.

Very simple, often ignored.

Stand-Ups are not about what is in the queue or what is showing red on the Kanban board, it’s about what is coming next and what the team needs to be moving towards.

A Stand-Up where everyone repeats what is currently in their task queue is a waste of a stand-up and an interruption to everyone’s deliverables.

The Leader of a Stand-Up must come in already knowing what people are working on and where they are going to next.  From there, creating value from a stand-up is easy…

  • Jeff, I see you’ve done all your work, Donnie needs help with these tasks to hit our goals.
  • Mary can you focus on bugs for the rest of the print.
  • Jane, we have this work coming in the next sprint, can you begin designing that.
  • Jack, we haven’t done much performance testing can you queue that up before handing off your code.

Now that’s a successful stand-up that adds value to anyone’s day.

What is the Answer That will Make you Happy?

I’ve taken to asking people this question when they approach me in an obviously perturbed manner that is a combination of frustration, anger, confusion, or any other malcontent emotion.

What is the Answer you want to hear that will make you happy?

In all cases, they are immediately taken aback, not because I’m being rude (I do try to be pleasant even when the emotions are running high) but rather because they are trying to think of what answer will actually them happy.

And they don’t know, they don’t know what answer they want to hear.

From here you have two paths that you can go down – one, be blunt – “if you don’t even know what you want, how am I supposed to know” – which will get you no further (and might even set you back a few steps from where you are now) OR two, be honest – “let’s figure this out.”


I’m Ready for More

But we’re not ready for you.

And therein died their new process they had put so much hope into.

A member of the team had finished everything on their plate and was ready to take on more but the team and process let them down.


So what did this person do all day?

Browsed the internet?

Maybe optimized some code?

Read some articles?

Most likely waited for the next day’s SCRUM where they got to say – “I still have nothing to do.”

Whatever you implement, common sense needs to rule the day, if someone says they have cycles, the next question should be bug assignment, helping another team member or starting to plan the next sprint.

Sniffing Markers: Scrum Bums

I think this is one of my favourite episodes to date, primarily because of the format.

There was none.

I had a question and in typical fashion, Colin and I spent our time going back and forth.

If you’re confused about the usefulness of SCRUMS and where things with your SCRUM could be going wrong – this is the episode for you.

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Come Together

Or Fall Apart.

When you’re on a team, any team, in any timezone, remote or in the office, upstairs or downstairs, doing the same job or different ones, if you can’t bring them together, if you can’t come together…

You’ll never be a team.

You’ll just be a bunch of people, in the same place, doing some stuff and hoping that it somehow will come together.

Pro Tip: It won’t.

Yeah, that’s hard to hear, maybe even harder to admit if you’re the one lead the team?

It’d be incredibly hard to stand up at your next team meeting and tell everyone the honest truth, wouldn’t it?

And by delivering the truth, I don’t mean with added negativity, dripping in sarcasm, eyes pointed in certain directions.

I mean in cold, hard, rational truth – “If we don’t come together, we will fall apart.”

Yeah, that’s super hard to do.

But that’s where things can also start to get better.