Our team recently made a change that reduced our standups from 30-45 minutes to 10-20 minutes.
I repeat: 30-45 minutes to 10-20 minutes.
I guess the key question is – how did we get up to 30-45 minutes for a standup? That’s kind of a long time to stand around!
Well, we started using standup to communicate status. This is even though we have an automated agile board – upon which status should be communicated.
And when 12 people communicate status, ie what I did yesterday, what I’m going to do today – we lose the ability to really communicate about things that need talking about.
The sad thing was that after we spent 20 minutes on status THEN we would start talking about defects, problems, and blockers and pretty much people would be ancy and not really interested in talking and solving problems.
So we decided to pull it in and nail it down to what really needed to be discussed. This was deemed to be:
• Priority Defects – answering: what problems are we facing in our production process/build?
• Any problems with functional test/continuous integration – answering: what problems are we facing in the upcoming process/build?
• Blockers – answering: what’s stopping me from moving forward?
This approach got us talking about things that matter.
We are now communicating what we need to do, and who is going to do it; quickly. The result of our actions (read: status) is reported in the automated agile technology tool (which is what it’s for).
The key is really to move from reporting (which is past focused) to assigning (which is future focused).
I cannot tell you how liberating this is.