Tuesday, August 18, 2009

All For One, One For All

I was struck recently by the low energy of a daily stand-up that did not signal the end. Some people headed back to work, others started follow-on discussions, others were not sure if the meeting was over or not. The lack of a clear sign that the stand-up is over can lead to problems:
  • People feeling left out
  • Not having the right people there when decisions are made
  • Time wasted on interesting rather than useful discussions
  • People starting to question the merits of a daily stand-up that consumes a lot of team capacity

One way to avoid a never-ending stand-up is to have a clear signal at the end.

The ScrumMaster is the facilitator for the daily stand-up and they shouldn't assume the authority to close the meeting. I like a signal coming from anyone (not necessarily the ScrumMaster) followed by a response from all.

A friend of mine enjoys climbing. At the end of his daily stand-ups he would signal "On Belay?" and the rest of the team would respond "Belay On".

Sports teams are good at signaling the end of the huddle. One of my favorites is the team portrayed in the classic book by Alexandre Dumas. The Three Musketeers would end their stand-ups with a single cry of "All for one" which then be followed by the refrain "and one for all"

What are your favorite signals?

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