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Fixing your Scrum: The value of stand-ups

 
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Hi Ryan & Todd

My team has been following a Scrumban process for a number of years. Not exactly Scrum, but I'm hoping you can still help me with my questions.

Our version of agile initially worked well, but our processes have deteriorated over time as our organization evolved along with our team members. One of the challenges we face is that we have many products under one team and there isn't a lot of shared work, so we find the value of stand-ups to be lacking. As a consequence of various retro discussions, we've reduced the number of stand-ups and even now we still question the value.

How can we improve the value of stand-ups to our team? Should this even be a concern?

Cheers,
Greg
 
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A few questions come to mind:
1. What do your standups look like? How does the conversation go? What questions are asked? What is the outcome of the meeting?
2. If there is not much shared work, how are you all considered a "team"? If you're not working together on things you need to produce, then you're really not much of team. When there is work shared by team members, what does the collaboration on that work look like?

The daily standup meeting is a planning and coordination meeting. If you're not planning and coordinating during the standup, then there's not much value to be had from the meeting, unless there's something else you're not telling us.
 
Greg Horie
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1. What do your stand-ups look like? How does the conversation go? What questions are asked? What is the outcome of the meeting?


The stand-ups answered these questions:
- What have you completed?
- What are you working on?
- Anything blocking your work? How can we unblock?
This pattern worked okay, but with little overlap in tasks it seemed more like a project status meeting. There wasn't much of an outcome. Work continued, but this would be true with or without the stand-ups.

2. If there is not much shared work, how are you all considered a "team"? If you're not working together on things you need to produce, then you're really not much of team. When there is work shared by team members, what does the collaboration on that work look like?

Our team supports the same production services over many generations of technology. We collaborate quite a bit, but more on the ops side of things and this work is quite "tactical" (i.e. arises during the sprint, but outside the sprint tasks). We have a few generations of legacy services which need care and feeding, so the team works closely to keep these as healthy as possible.

The daily standup meeting is a planning and coordination meeting.

Agreed. I have been in other stand-ups that had a satisfying amount of collaboration, but in the case of a team that is saddled with multiple products and a heavy ops orientation, I doesn't seem to add much value. This is probably because we have 2 competing streams of work - planned activities in the sprint + unplanned/ongoing ops activities that are outside the sprint.

 
Greg Horie
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@Junilu Lacar
I read your responses in this post: https://coderanch.com/t/745713/engineering/Fixing-Scrum-gently-convincing-scrum

Some shifts you can make to encourage more collaboration and transparency:
1. Who needs to know about the work that we have completed since yesterday?
2. Who do we need to collaborate with to complete the work we have planned for today?
3. Who can help us address impediments to our current work? Who needs to know we might be delayed?



I like these suggestions. I'll bring them back to the team for discussion.
 
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