Bulat Khabibullin

Two thoughts on stand-ups


I’ve been doing daily stand-ups for five years. If I’ve learned anything about it, it’s these two things.

Never do rounds

If people take turns and report what they did yesterday and what they will do today, it’s a waste of time. People say a bunch of gibberish, and no one is listening to each other. Half of your team probably sucks at explaining, and the other half is rehearsing things to say while others speak. It’s really hard to stay engaged. It gives zero clarity on how close you are to your sprint goals, feature release, etc. So not only is it a waste of time, it’s a very wrong focus too.

Instead, you should just go through your board. You should keep your nearest milestone in mind, look through your tickets at different stages, and try to assess the progress. You should ask questions about tickets that seem overdue or make little sense. You should ask if people want to share updates or concerns. Maybe they need help, advice, etc.

That kind of stand-up takes significantly less time and boosts the engagement level. It also gives a much healthier focus. We should focus on our progress and results. We shouldn’t focus on individual predicaments.

Exploit regularity

Daily stand-up is short, regular, and very well-established in everyone’s daily routine. So make use of that. It’s a perfect opportunity to deliver some collective work in small daily steps.

We tried that with refining our backlog tickets. Our team has decided to refine one small ticket, in case the main stand-up agenda is covered in time and there are a few minutes left. Shortly after we started, two things happened. Our backlog became perfectly groomed with all the tickets refined. We had to cancel our weekly refinement session because there was nothing to refine anymore.

You can try the same or do something else. Combining common sense and creativity, you can dice any chunk of teamwork into small daily bits. You will be surprised how effortless and efficient it is.