Breaking agile: Daily standup

In my daily work as an agile coach i have observed a wide range of wisdom pearls that all contribute to the break down of the agile mindset. Read this and the following blog entries to get hints on how YOU can sabotage your project with high impact!

  1. Let the project manager control the battle. It’s vital that everyone understands the importance of the project manger. It’s exclusive to him to know the status of the project and as such comes natural that he reports the status to the team. If possible, the project manger reads from the project plan and informs everyone about which tasks they completed yesterday and which tasks they should work on today.
  2. Make sure to report all details in all tasks. In the sad case where team members are given speaking time at the standups, they should make sure to elaborate fully about their tasks. Everyone knows the importance of the tasks and as such must also know about related analysis and considerations.
  3. Perform the meeting separately for all locations (if working distributed). In these modern days teams are often working cross borders – that’s a fact which can’t be changed by the team. However, the team can solely decide how to execute the daily standup and should perform them separately on each location to ensure a safe separation of responsibility and duties – no one should see the distributed team as working towards the same goal.
  4. Don’t ever inform the rest of the team about critical scope changes and decisions about YOUR tasks until the weekly status meeting. The project manager is, of course, informed and the plans have been updated. There is no need to involve the rest of the team in the drastic changes until later – it won’t affect them anyways!
  5. If a team member hasn’t decided on which tasks to work on for the day, just let him tell the same as yesterday. That way, the meeting will be executed faster and everyone can get back to their screens as fast as possible. It doesn’t make sense to inform about stalling tasks or problems in implementing the chosen solution – it needs to be fixed any ways…
  6. It doesn’t matter if team members doesn’t show up on time. It’s ok to be late if they know that they aren’t first in line to talk at the daily standup. The most important thing is that the project manager and the scrum master is updated – it’s subordinate that the rest of the team is informed.
  7. Feel free to use 30-60 minutes on the daily standup meeting. It’s important to discuss solutions and do problem solving to gain full value of the meeting. If the discussion is postponed the team might risk forgetting to discuss – and it’s natural that the whole team is informed about which solutions is in play before deciding on the final solution.
  8. It’s not important that everyone gets to speak. If the schedule says 15 minutes for daily standup – 15 minutes it is! It doesn’t matter if some team members are neglected (they’ll simply be put first in line for the daily stand up tomorrow).
  9. The daily standup meeting can easily be replaced and used for management information – the whole team is assembled anyways. As long as the project manager and scrum master is updated on ETC during the day so the reports can be extracted – everything is fine.
  10. It’s OK to come unprepared. It doesn’t make a difference in the big picture anyways. It’s important to improvise a bit, so everyone in the team looks busy!

I really hope that these observations will be accepted and adopted in teams all around the world. Feel free to inform me of implementations and other pearls of wisdom on this matter.