The Five Biggest Mistakes Made In An Agile Scrum Stand-up

The Five Biggest Mistakes Made In An Agile Scrum Stand-up


It is not only for the ScrumMaster


All too often many think that the purpose of the daily stand-up is to report back to the ScrumMaster and to keep them happy. Nothing could be further from the truth. 


Yes, the ScrumMaster must be aware, but so must the rest of the team. The whole ethos of Agile Scrum is to work as a pack, driving in the same direction with collaborative goals. 


Another of the clear roles for the ScrumMaster is to ensure that they facilitate these stand-ups in a fashion where EVERYONE is engaged and the attention is focused. 


Each and every team member MUST be in sync and be able to identify, on a daily basis that they are all travelling along the correct trajectory towards the Sprint Goal. 


When a team member presents to the team they must address each and every member at that stand-up, not just the ScrumMaster! 


It is not intended for Micro-Management or Status Recording


An effective stand-up is one which is dynamic, swift and engaging. If it becomes reliant on note taking which then forms part of the next meeting it quickly becomes mundane resulting in  disengagment. 


There is of-course a risk that having status’ recorded and reviewed by the ScrumMaster followed by challenges to team members, they will quickly feel that they are being micro-managed which is highly demotivating! 


It is not the time for planning


All too often I have heard other Scrum practitioners start the stand-up’s with the ScrumMaster introducing a new requirement. Having pressure placed from other stakeholders to get this new requirement fitted into this sprint sees the team being asked to compromise the entire ethos of Agile Scrum, requiring them to drop one of the existing requirements planned for that sprint. 


Invariably this results in a fully blown discussion on how this new requirement will work and how best to deliver it in the sprint. This has great potential to not only see sacrifices to the sprint trajectory but potentially results in a complete sprint failure. 


With the focus of the stand-up being placed on the new requirement discussion the core purpose of the stand-up, allowing team members to share their updates is quickly lost and often not even covered!


Of-course, Agile methodology promotes agility! So if there is an urgent requirement need, it is best to address these outside of the stand-up with the required delegates. Don’t hijack the stand-up! 


Location, Location, Location


The Scrum practitioners are all a member of the team, it is critical that consideration is given to the location of the stand-up. Where possible it is good to get the entire team together in one place. 


Be near to the Scrum board. Ensuring that the team have site of the board will assist the ScrumMaster in his/ her efficient recall. It also allows for every member to refer to, promoting efficient feedback to any questions. Without going into too much psychology here, visual prompts and trigger points are the most effective aide in prompting cognitive recall. 


One of the practices deployed within Boxmodel, where there are a number of meeting rooms on different floors, is the ability to have the boards transferred from room to room, through a simple bracket system. 


Keep It Structured & Simple


Routine promotes efficiency allowing for subliminal preparation by the participators. 


Actually stand up! I know this may sound silly but standing promotes focus and subliminally tells the body that something may take place (much more than sitting). It also reduces the small talk impact. You are there for a purpose, not to talk about the football or what you watched on TV the previous eve. 


Ensure everyone gets their time, this must not be interrupted. Another practice used within Boxmodel is the faithful tennis ball. The ScrumMaster passes the ball to the person he/ she wants to hear from. Whilst someone has a hold of the ball, the floor is theirs! 


Work as a team, always think how to support each other!


Always remember to include three questions: Any Impediments, Obstacles, Risks! 


It Works! 


At Boxmodel there is a dedicated Agile Scrum strategy team. We have seen the benefits of deploying this methodology time after time and we want you to help others achieve success. Contact the team through if you have any questions on this subject. We will help where we can…. It is a team game after all!!!! 

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