Tag Archives: daily stand-up

The Sprint Burndown is dead, long live Confidence Smileys

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I’ve met very few teams that successfully found a valuable and useful way to update and use a Sprint Burndown. The Sprint Burndown can be tedious to update (if done manually), and doesn’t seem to trigger the discussions in the Scrum team it is designed for. Even to agree on a unit causes confusion (hours, tasks, finished User Stories?).

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But don’t despair; let me introduce you to Confidence Smileys. Confidence Smileys provide a simple, honest, transparent and overview-friendly tool for the team to visualize how confident a team is that they will be able to finish each User Story by the end of the sprint. The can replace the need for a Sprint Brundown (or Sprint Burnup), or function as a complement.

Confidence Smileys_002

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MIKE – The Daily Meeting Microphone

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This is MIKE, The Daily Meeting Microphone.
MIKE is a concept. An idea.  Captured on a poster.

If you like it; Click the image below (or click here to download the powerpoint). Print it on A3 format. Put it on the wall next to your team wall or in the office corridor. Done 🙂

If you would build it, I’d buy 50 pieces of it 🙂

Improving the Daily Scrum

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Doing the same thing every day for a long time can get boring. You might even forget why you started doing it in the first place; you just keep doing the same thing, and don’t reflect on what you are getting out of it. The scrum meeting at my current client had gotten into this rut, it had devolved into a status meeting. The participants routinely answered the three questions; what I did yesterday, what I’m going to do today and what impediments I have, but they didn’t really tell each other much about what they had actually done, or what they were planning to do today. They almost never reported any impediments either.

This team has been using Scrum for almost two years. It is a very well working team from a technical perspective; they produced an even amount of user stories each sprint with a high level of quality. But they had lost the energy in the scrum implementation. They felt that they could do more; that they could perform even better if they just could just somehow improve their scrum implementation.

We started working on the daily scrum meeting. Our goal was to use the meeting to give the team a good start to the day with energy and desire to start working on the tasks discussed during the meeting.  In order to do this we made a few changes, both large and small in how we perform the meeting.

  • The structure of the scrum board
  • The process of how we perform the scrum meeting
  • The location of the scrum board and the meeting
  • The metric that we uses to monitor how we are improving the meeting

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Properties of a good daily stand-up

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I had a conversation with some of my colleagues about what makes a good daily stand-up, here are some properties:

  • Time-boxed (15 minutes)
  • Everyone is engaged
  • Synchronization is taking place
  • Attention to problems
  • People ask for help
  • The conversation is about stuff that matters to most people, individual issues are postponed
  • Anyone can lead the meeting, not just the Scrum Master / Team Coach
  • The meeting is the starting point for the day, afterwards everyone feels energized and can start working right away
  • Ends with a punch that marks the end of the meeting and the start of the day*

* The team has dumbells by the scrum board. The rule is that if you feel the current speaker is monopolizing the meeting, you can hand the speaker a dumbell. Now the speaker can keep talking only as long as they can hold up the dumbbell with an outstretched arm.