How to run a good Standup

I have been involved with a number of teams that run stand ups. For me, the stand up can feel like a chore. I want to explore ways to alleviate the monotony of daily standups.

Have a trigger

One of the tedious parts of the standup ritual is that a only a few people notice that it is 9:30 (stand up time) and wonder over to the board. Those people then have to go and remind everyone else.

One way to alleviate this is to have a song that plays or a standup bell. When everyone in the team hears the bell they know that it’s standup time.

Focus on the cards, not the people

During standup it is tempting to focus on the people. “Today I’m going to be writing a data migration for …” Instead you should focus on the cards “Today I’m working on #1987, I just need to update the seed data and then I can move it to QA”.

The goal of each standup is to monitor the progress of the sprint. Focusing on the tickets helps everyone get a sense of what the team is working on. It is also motivating to see everyone’s progress.

Introduce your ticket

“I’m working on #1978, I just need to update the seed data” this is okay but it doesn’t give the team any context about #1978. It is better to breifly explain what #1978 is about. “I’m working on #1978, which is about adding a list of postcodes to the drop down on the checkout page. I’ve written the logic and now I just need to populate the seed data to make it easier for QA to test in staging”.

Check velocity

It is useful to check velocity each morning, after everyone has spoken. Checking velocity helps to keep everyone on track and allows the team to spot issues early.

Finish in a consistent way to end. Finish on a high

Ending a standup can feel awkward. There is a period of silence and everyone looks at each other until the group realises that the stand up is over.

Try ending with a phrase in order to finish on a high. For example, after reviewing the velocity chart say ‘Okay, have a great day everyone’