Some days ago, a colleague told me:
– « Some people in my department run a daily meeting of one hour, sometimes even more. No agenda, barely some actions to be taken, only debating about ideas. »
– (Me): « Why do not they use Scrum approach and especially the Daily Stand-up meeting? »
– « This would be the same problem, daily meeting is not useful. This is better to do meeting when necessary. »
– « A short (and timeboxed) meeting is very useful », here is why…
The Daily Stand-up meeting (DS) must be done in 15 minutes maximum and involve maximum 9 people. It is a mandatory components of Scrum framework and is very enriching and useful for these reasons:
1) Getting to know each other, strengthening ties, cohesion and team spirit
It offers to meet with team members on a daily basis. For teams that do not share the same ‘physical’ room, like distributed teams, it is crucial to keep having interaction everyday. Even if it takes time (couple of weeks or months), sharing and discussing during 15 minutes helps to get to know each other better, to get used with colleagues’ habits, ton of voice, personality, reactions and behavior. It increases empathy and strengthens ties. The most successful teams, in any domains, are the ones with the best team spirit, not the ones with the best players. See this TED Talk where Margaret Heffernan observes:
that it is social cohesion — built every coffee break, every time one team member asks another for help — that leads over time to great results. It’s a radical rethink of what drives us to do our best work, and what it means to be a leader.
To sum up, DS makes people enjoying to work together.
2) Increasing transparency and trust
Team members have to answer 3 questions: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? What are your obstacles?
When everyone is answering to the whole team these questions, it maintains transparency and increases trust. Did you do ‘nothing’ the previous day because you worked for another project, or you felt tired, or you were stuck by a technical issue? You must talk about it, because others can experiment the same thing. And then, they will be transparent by saying it, when it happens, like: « Yesterday, I spent almost all of my time trying to solve this bug, who can help me today? » It saves time for everybody.
3) Introducing actions of the day
This is the right moment to introduce actions you are going to do during the day. In case where it rings a bell to another colleague, s/he can response immediately. Imagine these two people:
-« Today I start creating the register form for the ‘Premium’ section. »
-« Ok, but before I need to prepare the database that will contain submissions data. It should take me a half-day, I let you know when this is ready. »
-« Thanks for your vigilance, ok I wait for your green light. »
Announcing clearly what you plan to do helps synchronizing each other.
4) Opportunity to request for help
In the same way, if a member needs some help, s/he can request for during the DS and plan a short meeting (or phone call, or chat) during the day with colleagues who can help. It avoids to interrupt colleagues later when they are focused on their tasks, by asking through chat, waiting for reply, or having number of emails to clarify a situation.
Remember that 15 minutes (or the duration you define with the whole Scrum Team) is a time-box. So it means that you cannot overlap, but on the contrary you can end up earlier if everybody has finished talking. Besides, regarding expected content and discussions, this meeting is run ideally early in the morning.