Daily standups

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Overview

Scrum Meeting, by Ángel Medinilla via Flickr

Each project team must have at least 4 documented Standup meetings following the usual ritual at the same time every week - this schedule must be posted to the team norms in your CONTRIBUTING.md. You are welcome to do more than 4 per week. Standups should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

Teams must get into the habit of doing very quick Standups when you meet to work on the project. The Scrum Master should make sure the meeting doesn't go off on a tangent. Standups let everyone quickly know how well the team is moving toward the Sprint goal and focuses everyone on identifying impediments and assigning team members to work each impediment.

Agenda

In a Standup, each of the members of the team must quickly answer three questions:

  • What did you do since the last standup, and is it finished
  • What you are working on now
  • What problems/blockers do you have, if any

Risks

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the number one complaint in student teams that do poorly in group projects is that a lack of communication among the team hindered their performance.

There is no good reason why this should happen to you! Any team problem is going to directly affect your performance (and your grade). It is best to discuss any concerns directly with your team immediately. If team issues remain unresolved more than two or three days, relay these concerns directly to one of the Stakeholders (Professor and/or Tutor/Grader).

Synchronous

In-person standups

It is critical to hold in-person Standup meetings on a repeating schedule with all team members in attendance. Find a time every day that works best for your team and set a location. There are apps like Doodle that are useful for scheduling times that work for everyone.

Reserve your team's scheduled Standup meeting times as your guaranteed meeting times, but there will be some class sessions that end a little before the end time. Your instructor may indicate that each team should do a Standup meeting then. Alternatively, your team's schedules might allow you all to arrive 10 minutes before the class session starts and use that time for a Standup.

Remote standups

In cases where one or more team members is not able to attend the scheduled Standup in-person (this should not make up the majority of standups, otherwise your team has a problem), provide an audio/video channel for the member(s) who are not able to be present in person. Members who are able to meet in person should be present in-person. Do your Standup as you normally would, albeit with some member(s) virtually present.

Asynchronous standups

Standups can also happen asynchronously in a virtual environment, such as a Slack channel. This is how many teams that are split across time zones do it. In the context of this course, asynchronous Standups should only be used as a replacement for synchronous meetings in extreme situations. Repeated asynchronous standups instead of synchronous Stand-ups will significantly affect your team's performance and grade.

In an asynchronous Standup, all team members do not have to check-in at the same time. Each team member virtually checks-into the agreed upon standups channel when their schedule permits two or three minutes of time to do it. The team members leave their answers to the three standup questions asynchronously in the standup channel.

An asynchronous standup is considered over after 24 hours. If any member has not participated within that time, they are considered absent from the standup.

Once all team members have checked-in, the team documents the complete record of the Standup as they would any synchronous kind into the standups channel

Documentation

Dedicated standup Slack channel

Each team must have a Slack channel devoted to the documentation of their meetings. For example, a team named "Octopus" should create a Slack channel named "octopus-standups". Keep consistent naming of all your team's Slack channels.

What goes in the standup summary report

When you hold any Standup, whether in-person, remote, or asynchronous, one team member must make an entry in the team's Standup Slack channel indicating at least the following:

  • when and where the meeting took place
  • who participated in-person
  • who participated remotely
  • who participated asynchronously
  • who did not participate at all (those who participated must document this)
    • it will be detrimental to your grade to cover for someone who did not participate - it should be written in the Team Norms that all will be honest about this
  • what each member's answers to the 3 questions were

Mentioning people

When referring to team members, mention their Slack usernames with the @ sign. When a blockage or other issue needs the attention of the Professor or Tutor/Grader, mention them by their usernames as well to get their attention.

Reminder about grading

Remember that your Stakeholders will be looking at your team's Slack workspace for indications of participation in project discussions. Your presence in the team's Slack channel will be evidence of your participation and contributions to your team's project work. Little or no presence in the team's Slack workspace will be one indication of your lack of participation in the project work.

It will be inconsequential for you to occasionally miss a check-in and/or participate asynchronously. But between in-person, remote and asynchronous standup meetings, you should prepare to participate at least 4 times per week, otherwise it will be interpreted as something going wrong.

A few guidelines

  • You should check-in in person for more than 50% of your team's standups
  • You should participate synchronously (in-person or remotely) for more than 75% of your team's standups
  • You should asynchronously check in for less than 25% of your team's standups
  • Given the above participation options, there is no reason you should ever entirely miss a standup except in extreme emergencies

References

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