Friday, June 1, 2012

Walk the Board

The daily stand-up meeting (also known as a "daily scrum", a "daily huddle", "morning roll-call", etc.) is simple to describe:
The whole team meets every day for a quick status update. We stand up to keep the meeting short.
That's it.

Why a Daily Standup?

What is the purpose of the daily stand up?
  • To agree as a team on how to deliver the most value in the next working day
  • To inspect and adapt the sprint plan if necessary, in order to deliver the most value in the sprint
We also have agile principles to guide us in the daily standup.
  • Focus on outcomes over output (or results over activity)
  • Focus on priorities
  • Emphasize team ownership of results over individual assignments
The standard format of three questions (What did you achieve? What will you achieve? What impediments are in your way?) too easily devolves into a mere status meeting, failing to achieve the purpose of the daily standup and failing to embody these principles. 
A mature team must first understand the goal, follow the principles, and then skillfully apply the appropriate tools and techniques to achieve the goal for the daily standup.

In my current project we are doing "Walk the Board" which helped us in making stand ups more effective.
It also makes good use of the Iteration wall,
  1. Gather around your team’s Iteration wall. 
  2. Start with the highest priority story/feature in progress.
  3. Ask what we, as a team, can do to get that story done (per our Definition of Done).
  4. Ask what is blocking us, as a team, from getting the story done.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 for the next few priority items, up to your team’s WIP limit. 
  6. To finish, validate that everyone on the team has been heard and all are focused on the top priority stories.
Other option to make stand up effective is to answer the below mentioned questions during the stand up:
  • What did we (as a team) achieve to get closer to the Iteration/Release goal?
  • What is blocking us from focusing on the Iteration/Release goal?
  • What do we agree on doing today to make sure we reach the Iteration/Release goal?
I personally prefer "Walk the Board" as with this board in place, the stand-up moves through each work item from end of process to start of process (e.g., right-to-left) and from highest-to-lowest priority (e.g., top-to-bottom). You may even explicitly indicate on the board what sequence should be used.