Standups: A Cure for the common Meeting

Meetings: A classified ad for hell:

Business people love meetings. Oh God, do they love meetings. Need to pass information along? Hold a meeting! Need to appear like you’re in the thick of it all? Hold a meeting! Want to crucify your subordinates under a mountain of action items? Hold a meeting!

Evil yes, but Meetings are a nasty requirement for ‘getting everyone on the same page’, and letting everyone know where the reelase stands. Unless you’re in chaos driven development, this is a Good Thing™.

To this end, the Agile folks came up with the Daily Standup meeting.  In order to get rid of the ‘ew, meeting‘ feeling, a stand up does the following and only the following:

  • Starts precisely on time
  • All are welcome, but only “pigs” (Team Members) may speak
  • Limited to 15 minutes
  • Occurs at the same location and same time every day

Each “pig” answers the following questions:

  • What have you done since yesterday?
  • What are you planning to do today?
  • Do you have any problems preventing you from accomplishing your goal?

The metaphor of the pig comes from a joke that is appropos to software development:

A chicken and a pig are together when the chicken says, “Let’s start a restaurant!”.
The pig thinks it over and says, “What would we call this restaurant?”.
The chicken says, “Ham n’ Eggs!”.
The pig says, “No thanks, I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved!”.

 

A key requirement of the daily standup meeting is that participants stand up during the meeting. The “stand up” part keeps the meeting down to a sane 15 minutes. You can read Martin Fowler’s excellent expansive treatise on the topic, or you can follow these three four simple steps:

  • Stand Up
  • Last in, First to Talk
  • Stay focused on “Yesterday, Today, Obstacles.”
  • All team members participate

That’s it.

 

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