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50446Deviating from Scrum: The standup meeting

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  • peterskeide
    Mar 2, 2011
      Hi everyone,

      During the last couple of years I have been a member of several small teams (3-4 people) that have started out using Scrum or some variation. After a while, I started noticing a trend: The teammembers see little or no value in the daily scrum meeting. Sometimes the team decides to drop it.

      I'm currently Scrum Master for a team where we have made significant changes to the format for the standup meeting based on feedback from the retrospectives: we focus solely on impediments (a bit like the Kanban style standups). At present time, I get the feeling that some members of the team see no point in keeping even this part of the standup. This sprint I'm running an experiment where I've relied entierly on the team to self-organize the standup meeting. The result has been almost no standup meetings so far.

      The best argument I have heard so far in favor of dropping the standup is that it can be redundant in a small, colocated team. When you sit around the same table all day, pair program often and generally talk to each other a lot, it's a bit like gilding the lily.

      There are obvious downsides to dropping the standup: the visibility aspect of it lost. Granted, this only matters if people outside the team actually bothers to attend the meeting. Still, if there are no standup meetings, there will be nothing for potentially interested stakeholders to start attending.

      Another problem I've experienced on teams who don't do standups is that important issues will sometimes escape the attention of people who can do anything about them before it is too late, despite colocation. Keeping the daily scrum will perhaps help teams catch some of these issues.

      Standup meetings also have a commitment aspect that will be lost without them. Perhaps this can be offset by a collective feeling of responsibility for getting things done. When almost the entire team will work on a User Story, having each team member commit to get something done in front of the rest of the team doesn't always feel quite natural. A bit like going through the motions, perhaps.

      Any thoughts about this? Similar experiences? Anybody know a format for the standup meeting that is a good fit for a small team?
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