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Standup is increasingly the only time I ever interact with my boss and I want to optimize my work for that as that seems to be how evaluations are done in Scrum. I am a software developer. How can I inflate the importance and complexity of my work without it seeming that I am inflating the importance and complexity of my work?

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  • 2
    Why is your boss at the standup? Is he a member of the Scrum team? What's his role?
    – Erik
    May 20, 2021 at 9:17
  • Do you have sprint reviews and retros? May 20, 2021 at 9:17
  • 2
    Asking how to misrepresent the truth and get away with it is really not an appropriate question.
    – Flater
    May 20, 2021 at 11:20
  • Not sure whether to put this as an answer or a comment, but if your boss is making people feel that they are going to be evaluated based on the standups, they are doing Scrum incorrectly. So this may be a bit of an X/Y problem, as you're asking about how to seem accomplished, but the real issue is how to get your boss to do Scrum correctly. May 21, 2021 at 0:33
  • I’m voting to close this question because it's simply hot garbage.
    – Joe
    May 25, 2021 at 22:49

4 Answers 4

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How can I inflate the importance and complexity of my work without it seeming that I am inflating the importance and complexity of my work?

Assuming your boss has reasonable domain- and project-knowledge, you probably can't do this to any meaningful degree*. You probably shouldn't be trying to anyway. This is the wrong place to be expending your effort, in two ways:

  1. the stand up is for keeping the team on the same page, not for bragging about how great your work is.
  2. assuming your boss is even vaguely competent, I'd expect better results if you take the effort you want to spend on lying about how important your work is and instead use that effort to do good work.

If you want your boss to be impressed with the importance of your work, you should make an effort to do important work.

I question whether "complexity" is something you should be aiming for anyway (it depends what exactly you mean by that). But to the extent that it - or anything else - is something to aim for, the same applies:

If you want your boss to be impressed at how adjective your work is, you should make an effort to do adjective work.

What exactly that looks like will depend on how your company operates (you say scrum, but you also say your only contact with your boss is in stand ups: it sounds like whatever you're doing probably isn't really scrum), but ultimately it'll mostly come down to two things: showing some initiative, and doing a good job. Is there something coming up in your roadmap with the kind of importance and complexity you want your boss to see in you? Go tell your boss how much you'd like to design the architecture or lead development for it. Keep doing so until you get a good project, then do a great job of it.

In the stand ups, discuss problems you've encountered and solutions you found. It's a standup, so keep it short, but rather than something like "I had a hold up on ticket 739, but I fixed it and I'm back on track" give a brief (one or two sentences) overview of what the hold up was and how you fixed it. This isn't inflating anything, but illustrates your capabilities much more than a vaguer statement would.

* Some people are great at overselling their achievements. I'm not one of them. If you're asking this question, you probably aren't one of them either.

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    +1 for "this is the wrong place". The point of a daily standup is to briefly co-ordinate every day; going into too much detail on any one thing bogs it down.
    – B. Ithica
    May 20, 2021 at 9:41
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I would not be worrying about exaggerating my contributions, your boss and your colleagues will see through it, and might even resent it.

Be prepared, have hard numbers about your work handy, and have totals and graphics for actual regular periodic meetings.

Dont worry about it too much, others are in the same boat too.

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I do not exaggerate, I think about what I did and split it up into several sections.

Example #1
I've made a working 'Contact' page

Exmple #2
I've made the 'Contact' page; the form, made an email and tested that it gets send and looks properly.

That is a very basic example so it's not very expandable, but #2 has more worth to it than #1, without exaggerating of inflating it. The extra points in #2 are significant enough to be points on their on. The extra information is important for an outsider (eg not you) because those are tasks they might think of wether or not you've done them. Being ahead of that is the more pro-active aproach.

To phrase it another way: You're now only telling the title, it's fine to tell a few mayor sub-titles. Just dont end up telling the paragraph.

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I think my answer overlaps a little bit with others, but I want to take a different angle. Scrum is all about a cross-functional team collaborating effectively on a complex product goal. Assuming this is how it is being used in your workplace that would mean that it isn't really about "your work". Instead, it is more important how you bring your skills into the team so that the team can meet their collective goal. The standup is all about the team members coordinating with each other.

So, assuming that your organization is using Scrum as intended (I know many don't), then the very best thing you can do for yourself is find out how you can best contribute to the team's success every day. If your boss is at the daily scrum, they'll see this. When I was a manager in a Scrum team, it wasn't the big things that got my attention. It was the team members that really listened to each other and supported the rest of the team as best they could with their skills that I really came to rely on.

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