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Introduction to stand-ups

What is a stand-up in Agile product management?

A stand-up meeting was developed to have a brief discussion on what was done yesterday, pressing matters for today, less pressing matters for tomorrow, blockers, spare capacity, achievements, and so forth. The discomfort of standing for long periods assists in keeping these meetings short. Stand-ups are typically scheduled daily or twice weekly. However, in the new era of virtual meetings, a stand-up is taking on a new shape.

Read more about Agile stand-ups and watch the video within the page where Megan Cook shares tips on how to have successful daily Scrums. Consider what you might do to lead a successful daily Scrum.

Read: Stand-ups for Agile teams [1]

Stand-up in practice

The main aim of daily stand-ups is to foster collaboration, productivity, and transparency. Having scheduled, informal group check-ins each day keeps the team on the same page. One-on-one time with direct reports every month or quarter will allow employees to talk about their progress or any issues they might be having at work.

Remote and the virtual workplace has taken the world by storm and seems to be a new reality. One of the challenges is to stay ‘connected’. Stand-ups are a good starting point to keep track of team members as they might be travelling or living on different continents.

In the midst of the stand-up is good communication. Without communication between and within teams, success will be limited. Also, timely communication with blockers and missed deadlines can help build a relationship with clients.

In most cases, tasks are created by technical functions such as specific design features, code writing or corrections, testing, and so on. In general, team members and tasks should benefit from stand-ups by:

  • matching a task to the best-suited team member
  • team members share and provide feedback on tasks to increase transparency
  • helping the development team members to create flow by increasing focus and limit interruptions.

Spotify model

Audio-streaming subscription service provider Spotify improved and documented their journey in Agile to such an extent that they coined their own scaled Scrum model: the Spotify model. It is an example of how multiple teams in a product development system can be organised and emphasises the need for culture and networks. It is not a new framework, but rather a representation of how Spotify sees effective scaling from technical and cultural perspectives.

One of the main attractions of the Spotify model is that its approach is organised around work rather than following a set of Scrum practices. The Spotify model focuses on how organisational structure can adapt to optimise agility. Generally, this means there is a reduction in processes and ceremonies and more individual team autonomy. It is worth noting that while the Spotify model seems like a good model to replicate in other organisations, organisational culture is vital to its success and therefore may not be applicable or effective in certain contexts.

Over to you:

Read the whitepaper, Scaling Agile @ Spotify, to gain more insights into this model. While reading, keep the following questions in mind:
  • Is this model applicable to your workplace or work method?
  • If not applicable, can you suggest improvements based on the Spotify model?
Share your answers or thoughts to these questions in the comments below. You might learn something from your fellow learners or assist them with a question.

References

1. Radigan D. Stand-ups for agile teams [Internet]. Atlassian; [date unknown]. Available from: https://www.atlassian.com/agile/scrum/standups

2. Cruth M. Discover the Spotify model [Internet]. Atlassian; [date unknown]. Available from: https://www.atlassian.com/agile/agile-at-scale/spot

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