As relevant in many other matters, some rules of thumbs are matters of context & semantics and we risk throwing the baby out with the bath water if we follow with thoughtless fervor or resist with reckless abandon.

… follow with thoughtless fervor


resist with reckless abandon.

Some of the worst agile teams I have been in, adhere to all all known rules and processes. Some of the best agile teams I have been in deviate, in the details, here and there, while keeping on theme.

“Mistake” #1: The stand-up meeting is not a status or recording meeting (no laptops (tablets (smartphones (smart watches (nano drones?))))).

No laptops, for taking minutes, for reading powerpoints, and etc: sure. Remember though, it is like a knife and saying, “Ohhh, it can kill. We shouldn’t bring it in the kitchen. Remove all sharp objects in the kitchen.”

The moment we become dogmatic beyond reason, defeating every purpose and goal of Scrum, what is the point?

“Mistake” #2: The stand-up meeting is not for micromanagement.

🙂 Semantics and contexts again. In some ways, it IS about micro stuffs (small daily tasks identified to keep things at human scale) as opposed to small-medium-large or product/project level (weekly-fortnightly-monthly or whole project cross cutting concerns but still divided & conquered).

It IS about management, but more self-management and self-organization. Not pointing fingers from top or across nor about feeling a sense of control as ‘managers.’

“Mistake” #3: The stand-up meeting is not only for the ScrumMaster.

The point is to engage all and be engaged by all. How this is projected is a matter of culture & attitudes. Confusion and conflicts regarding this happens when the PO is also SM. Or SM is also a PM. Or SM is Tech Lead. Or there are simple bad, corrosive, & incompetent people around.

Some of the better ones really know when to draw the line. When they do cross it, it is normally for good reason, explained transparently to all.

It is ultimately about the team and all of it becomes meaningless if it starts destroying people’s purpose, motivation, and basic human courtesies.

“Mistake” #4: The stand-up meeting is not a planning meeting.

It is. “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.”

It is a fractal. Planning for the morning, for the day, for the week, for the fortnight, for the month … same ideas and general flow, different granularity & viewpoints.

My comments on #2.

“Mistake” #5: The stand-up meeting is not a technical discussion.

It can be a ‘start’ to a technical discussion, limited to identifying obstacles. Breakout afterwards.

It can technically be a technical session if it is about a technical product/sprint backlog task in a technical sprint or spike. But, as with all things, discipline.

We also forget the most important thing, SCRUM/AGILE/Etc is not just for IT / Software projects. Applicable to many things, just a matter of changing contexts, themes, goals, and granularities.

“Mistake” #6: The stand-up meeting should not be held far from the work location.

Yep, as convenient and as in context as possible for all concerned to participate. But as more and more work is being done globally and with teams on clients, on-site, this can be on a case-by-case basis. Remember also, if we stick to this, without question we are saying all the LESS, DAD, SAFE, et. al. practitioners are stupid, which is definitely not the case…

Throw away all those online tools, online Kanbans, online shared to-do lists, online task management, JIRA, etc. All useless… Really?

And imagine all those remote, globally distributed teams just talking without the slightest reference material/point to view (kanban & what not) to keep everyone focused and in context (back to no laptops, period?).

“Mistake” #7: The stand-up meeting must consist of the three questions.

This is standing the test of time. Totally agree to this rule of three to simplify. For more information and discussions, outside the daily scrum. I do find that some of the best daily scrums start with a little bit of pleasant chatter, just enough to keep it from being robotic and downright boring. Yes, it is about those three things; but more than that, everyone should exit the scrum energized and enlightened.

Agile / Scrum / Others are inspired by sports and nature. Sadly, they are also among those buzz words used, abused, re-used, & re-abused so many times, out of context and without regards.

It is about regular feedback, encouraging better behavior, empowering people to be responsible, and improved group cohesion/culture over time; not bickering, not control, not dogmatism, and definitely not for stubbornness.

As expanded from this. And also brewing some tea during “stand”ups (cool idea!).

A Happy Standup that is not standing up.

And we need the chairman to be around some times …


This feature is originally by Dean Marc Co.

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