My Stand Up New Year’s Resolutions

In getting ready for two new team members to join our team of 3+Director, I’ve been thinking about our team processes and wanted to share some of them for feedback.  (Anyone else using agile for website development? i.e. not app/software development?)

The notes below are based on conversation with the Manager of our Software Development Team, which has its own daily stand ups and wall, and a great article by Martin Fowler.

Background

We are a team of a developer, designer, architect (sitemaps & wireframes) & a director.  Architect is doing double duty as team manager.  Two developers joining the team.  We don’t do project by project stand ups or “walls”, but instead have team-wide/all-projects stand ups and a single wall managed through Zendesk.  We currently meet on Monday afternoon for an hour, followed by Wednesday & Friday for 15 minutes.

Walk the Board, Round Robin & Y/T/O

After reading the various methods of structuring the stand up, we are going to go with Walk the Board followed by a Round Robin to clean up/catch loose ends that aren’t on the board (and get them onto the board)! Currently, we go person to person and say what we’re working on, and what’s holding us up. Starting in the new year, we will go top to bottom in our virtual wall, doing “Yesterday/Today/Obstacles” for each item that is different than the last time it spoke.  Then we will draw business cards for who goes first and ask them if there are any Yesterday/Today/Obstacles that haven’t yet been discussed, and then go clockwise around the group repeating Y/T/O for everyone.

Outcome: Focus on priorities (rather than individual staff reports to the leader); No (prioritized) ticket gets left behind!

No Discussion in Stand Up

We often only talk to each other during our stand ups, or conversation gets pent up because we only meet every other day.  No problem solving in stand ups as this kills energy. Instead identify opportunities for problem solving or improvement and make a plan for outside of the Stand Up.

Outcome: Higher energy, faster stand ups. Encourage collaboration/problem solving outside of stand ups throughout the day, rather than turning back to our computers.

Daily Meetings

Our priorities and tickets change constantly.  We will meet every day to stay in sync on what’s done/not done and changing priorities. Also help each other/address obstacles more quickly (vs meeting every other day).

Outcome: Better synchronization on what’s important; Less hold up on obstacles.

Facilitator Takes Notes

An identified facilitator will take notes and summarize in an email to the team after each stand up.

Outcome: Obstacles & commitments are documented.

Let the Stories Talk

Because we will Walk the Board, each story will talk (Y/T/O presented by whoever last touched the ticket).  For unassigned tickets, the team manager will talk because they handle each ticket upon arrival and are the last person to touch it (until it is pulled by a team member).

Outcome: Focus on priorities (rather than individual staff reports to the leader); No (prioritized) ticket gets left behind!

Start the Day

We will move our meetings to 10:30am.  (Core hours are 10am til 3:30pm).

Outcome: Better synchronization on what’s important; Less hold up on obstacles.

Huddle

We will stand close and speak up!

Outcome: More energy, better communication!

Stand Up

We will meet away from our desks and we will stand up!

Outcome: More energy, keep stand ups timely and focused.

15 minutes

We will be under 15 minutes!

Outcome: More energy, keep stand ups timely and focused.

Separate Stand Up from Web Planning

Our Monday meeting is a 1 hour planning/priorities communication meeting. This isn’t a stand up! Add a meeting on Mondays at 10:30am that is a stand up.

Outcome: More energy, keep stand ups timely and focused; Less hold up on obstacles (by meeting quickly & efficiently daily).

Signal Phrase

We will end the meeting every day with the same phrase. This will be fun, it will enforce tradition/ritual and it will end the meeting.

Outcome: More energy, create ritual.

Publish the Results

The facilitator will email the notes from the stand up to the team immediately after each stand up. Notes can be taken directly into an email on a phone, laptop or tablet – no extra work. Device can be passed to a colleague when the facilitator is speaking, or the facilitator can add notes on his/her sections after the fact.

Outcome: Obstacles & commitments are documented. Formalizes the meeting. Stand ups aren’t just pointless/talk.

Rotate the Facilitator

A team can benefit from an established facilitator if they are experienced with Agile/Stand Ups.  Otherwise, it can lead to Report to the Leader, which works against creating a team that manages itself and team accountability.

Outcome: More energy; Focus on priorities (rather than individual staff reports to the leader).

Our New Stand Up

  1. All Hands Gather at 10:30am Every Day
  2. Walk the Board (Y/T/O for each ticket)
  3. Round Robin (Draw cards, then clockwise, Y/T/O)
  4. Catch Phrase!

Measuring Success

Are we energized at the end of the meetings? Are we all attending the meetings? Are meetings often rescheduled? Are we standing up and under 15 minutes? Are obstacles being addressed? Are we collaborating/problem solving outside of meetings on a daily basis?

There was much more than this in the article, but these are the changes that will help our most immediate problems and we don’t want to take on so much change that we undermine the potential success.
What do you think?

 

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