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A Stand Up is powerful, only when done right
Most of us have experienced taking part in one, have you had bad one?
The Traditional Stand Up
Let’s quickly establish the fundamental rules:
- For starters, you must physical stand up at a set time every day
You must answer the following three questions:
- 1. What you did yesterday?
- 2. What you plan on doing today?
- 3. Are you blocked on anything?
- Your answer to the above three questions must be relevant to everyone
- Finally, you refer to a board which helps to reflect the progress of tasks and / or stories
The above are all hallmarks of a quick, clean and valuable Stand Up. However, some bad habits can pollute the form.
Here are some interesting behaviors that I have observed over my career:
Virtual Stand Ups
Part of the philosophy of physically standing up in close proximity to your peers is to help encourage quick discussion.
A Stand Up is not designed to help people get comfortable. When conducting a virtual Stand Up, this almost goes against the thinking behind it.
Now, let me be clear. I am not knocking the idea of virtual Stand Ups. Sometimes you are simply not able to physically make the Stand Up in person and as such need to sign or log in virtually.
It is however important to mention that virtual Stand Up’s may encourage taking more time than needed.
Sit Downs is a trend that I have seen, sadly.
In this instance, everyone is encouraged to sit down as opposed to standing up (assuming you are physically able to Stand Up). When a number of people get together and sit down, can it be considered a Stand Up?
I think physically Standing Up is vital to the theory of taking part in a Stand Up. It is not supposed to be a place where you get comfortable and relaxed. It is a format in which you deliver very quick and precise information whilst also being conscious of the time.
20 Minute Marathons
This is perhaps the worst that I have seen. In this instance, the Scrum Master appears to take turns talking to each member. As opposed to letting everyone quickly go through their updates, instead small discussions take place. The Stand Up is not a forum where you should have long running discussion.
What’s worst, anyone who actually wants to simply get away to their desk is not able to since everyone who is taking part is yet to speak.
This is a little new, perhaps very radical.
The approach here is to hold a plank whilst giving your updates. I came across this method in a particular place and it was a very interesting approach.
The idea behind it was to encourage everyone taking part to only contribute words and sentences which answered the above three questions. This approach certainly made it a lot quicker and cleaner. However, this also made it more difficult. If not for all, then certainly for some.
The downside to this was the fact that contributers were sometimes more concerned with out-planking each other instead of listening and making contributions.
Is it worth making something more difficult in favor of getting it done quicker?
Clean Stand Up Benefits
The traditional approach of the Stand Up is great. It works very well, really helps to deliver vital information in a quick, small time frame and also provides the opportunity to quickly plan for change. It seems the traditional approach works for the most part.
If the traditional approach works, why change it, why break it?