Communication is an essential element of running development scrum. For me, it is crucial that the individuals in my team trust each other to accomplish the collective goal. I’ve found that we only are able to cross that finish line if we are on the same page from beginning to end. However, it is more than just getting the work done. Anyone who has worked on a development project knows that there are going to be hiccups along the way. The most effective way to overcome said obstacles is to be transparent and communicative regarding the status of each member’s designated tasks. That is where daily stand-up comes in.
A daily stand-up is when the team comes together to discuss their tasks for the week, priorities for the day, and what challenges they may face in their respective projects.
There are five ways that we are able to stay efficient; we do this by marking sure everyone is present, setting an agenda, having a meeting facilitator, be efficient, and circle back when you need to.
Here are more details on how Verys makes sure we are running efficient stand-ups:
1 – Make sure every team member is present.
An imperative step to clear communication is to keep updates consistent. To achieve this, each member of the team needs to be present including your Project Manager, your Tech Lead, and each developer on the project. To put it in perspective: if one developer has a task and is confronted with an obstacle, having each developer present increases the probability that one of them has a solution. This lso ensures that the Project Manager is aware of anything that might slow them down, giving them the opportunity to bring in additional support, if necessary, to efficiently push the project along.
2 – Set an agenda
Regardless of what each team’s tasks consist of, the agenda should remain consistent. In order to maintain such consistency, Here’s a guideline to follow:
- Get an update on tasks from every team member. They should provide what they did yesterday and what their priorities are today.
- Request an update on the challenges any team member may have faced and coordinate with other team members to help find solutions.
- Ask the team if they have anything they need to discuss. Are there other items that popped up? Is someone going to be out of the office any time soon?
- Ask the senior members of the team if they have any items to go over.
- End the stand-up with a recap of everyone’s responsibilities: Who needs to talk to each other later in the day? Do we need to have another meeting to address those issues if they are not resolved? Are there outside team members that need to be brought in?
3 – Have a meeting facilitator
A meeting facilitator is someone who is there to make sure that the meeting stays on track. This person is responsible for knowing the agenda and moving it along. In our case, the Project Manager is the facilitator, but in a classic scrum, this would be the Scrum Master. Their goal is to provide structure to the meeting, keep the team engaged, and offer support . Additionally, they may be responsible for coordinating other meetings or putting other team members in charge of items that need to be addressed.
4 – Learn how to be efficient
Setting the agenda keeps consistency among the team. Everyone knows the formula and what their responsibilities are in the stand-up. Each member should come prepared with their updates and be ready to discuss those. Often, people have questions and while it is great to answer those as a team, there are times when the conversation should be taken offline if only a couple of members need to be present. Keep it brief without circumventing key communications.
5 – Don't be afraid to have another call
This may feel counterintuitive to the rest of the suggestions, but sometimes a stand-up needs to be revisited that same day. If there is something that pops up throughout the day that the team needs to be made aware of, call them all in again! Sometimes, just a reminder or notification about an update is needed, which can be done easily in a chat. At Verys we take advantage of Slack to keep the team updated. If there is a bigger discussion that comes out of it, get on the phone, a video conference, or in a room and hash it out.
In the end, the key takeaway is communication. We all want to put our heads down and get to work, so it feels wasteful to be stuck in seemingly unnecessary meetings and calls. The daily stand-up sets a clear plan for the day, starting the team on the right foot. Establishing a consistent baseline of expectations creates a successful environment. The goal is to supply consistency so there is a baseline of expectations that sets everyone up to be successful.
Do you have daily stand-ups? What are some other tips and tricks a team can use to have an effective daily stand-up?