Stand-up format

We used to follow the the daily scrum ‘recipe’, so every team member was answering the standard 3 questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. Any blockers?

It worked well to some degree – we basically confirmed that everyone was busy. It wasn’t always clear how much we progressed with the actual work – sprint stories.

New format

We have changed the format to go story by story (as opposed to person by person). The questions are now addressed to the whole team:

  1. What did the team do yesterday for this story?
  2. What will the team do today for this story?
  3. Any blockers for this story?

Key benefits

  • Stand-ups are shorter.
  • There is more focus, as only things relevant to stories are mentioned.
  • It’s easier to spot neglected stories.
  • It’s easier to spot people busy with other work, as they do not add anything to this conversation.

We know that everyone is busy. There is no need to mention every meeting at stand-up time. It’s better to focus on the actual contributions.

Keeping stand-ups short

Stand-ups are supposed to be short. Sometimes, however, one or more team members start going into too much detail and the chat drifts off to a different subject.

When one of us thinks that the conversation should be taken offline or discussed with a smaller/different group of people – we take advantage of Mango rule – anyone at the meeting can simply say ‘Mango!’.

Just to be clear – it doesn’t mean ‘shut up’. It means – ‘this is off-topic, take it offline’.

This is a fun way of staying focussed on the subject and practicing team self discipline. My team loves it so much, that it has become a verb (i.e. Can we mango this please?). From time to time they are even ‘mangoing’ themselves…