Daily stand ups are one of the cornerstones of being an Agile organisation.
Andy Koh , an Adaptovate Consultant in Singapore, says “The daily stand-up can be one of the easiest ceremonies to get right when adopting the Agile way of working.”
However they can often sound easier than they are in practice. Because of this many companies and teams are challenged by doing them.
It’s fantastic when they work. When it doesn’t it can be a horrible chore that can end up creating a downward spiral of negativity and mood.
Steve Walton from Adaptovate’s New York office comments “Good stand ups increase motivation. They build social capital across the team through the establishment of trust that people do what they say they will.”
So, does your team want to stop daily standups? First find out why they want to stop. As Shivani Santhakumar from our Melbourne office questions “Is it that they find them not useful, or they take too much time, or are they all working on different things?”
If it’s any of those things, they are easily fixed.
By asking some of our lead consultants about this we’ve come up with some helpful tips to assist you and your teams.
ASKING WHY. 3 REASONS YOUR TEAM WANTS TO STOP – AND TIPS TO HELP.
Andy Koh says “Asking “why” could unearth sound reasons and lead to providing advice.
- One of the reasons could be that the daily stand-up is too onerous and pressurizing. If that is the case, we can use a variety of methods to probe where the pressure is coming from and agree on actions to resolve it.
- Another reason could be that the team does not find the daily stand-up useful. It would then be interesting to see whether the Sprint Board has stories that are broken down enough to see movement across to-do, doing, in review and done columns.
- A third reason could be a lack of motivation for Agile ways of working. This could be an important indicator to re-visit either the Leadership support structure or the Tribe/Organization mission and whether they have been communicated sufficiently.
A good agile coach might also organize activities to make Agile fun again.
MAKE THEM MORE EFFECTIVE – 2 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOUR TEAM.
Tiong Yeow Tan – a consultant in our Adaptovate office in Singapore says “My challenge to them is how can they improve their daily standup to make it more effective.”
Some of the questions he will ask them are
- Are the answers to the three questions of the daily standups too high level and generic?
- How can we be more specific in daily standup to illustrate progress without going into detailed content?
That’s when it’s extremely valuable to have a coach sit in to a daily standup and help the teams to flesh out improvement areas.
BE PATIENT. TAKE THE TIME TO REFINE. 4 KEY REASONS TO KEEP GOING.
Steve Walton remarks “Stand ups sound easier than they are. It takes a group of people months to refine the content discussed to the right level of relevance, importance and granularity.
Steve outlines 4 reasons stand ups are crucial:
- As teams mature they learn what needs to be said and what doesn’t, they learn how others can help and what is of interest. What starts as a list of all activity becomes a summary of relevant actions that impact other people and drive value.” This can build motivation and engagement by focusing on achieving outcomes.
- A short discussion each day helps unite and direct the team towards a common goal and share important information efficiently and effectively.
- Alignment is one of the most powerful tools available to make sure that people are working on the most valuable things and collaborating so their impact is bigger than an individual.
- They also enable people to draw down on that same capital to get help in a low key manner. The transparency provided through a good stand up is a means of reducing the communication noise which will otherwise eat into our time and often leave us frustrated.
In summary, Slawek Koziol from our Polish office of Adaptovate says “Daily standups are as much about team alignment as they are about individual team members’ commitment. Team members often say that having committed in front of the entire team to doing certain tasks on a given day helps them to organize and discipline their work. And that helps the entire team to move forward.
We couldn’t say it better ourselves.
As Steve says ““Make stand ups work for you, don’t stop them.”