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I asked a question a while back about taking notes at a stand up.

Since then, I have been asked by my team leader to step back as the stand up leader and take a more passive role, so to still contribute to my fullest, but not to lead the stand up.

At the moment, our stand ups are just status meeting. Each person just says I did this, then on to the next person. We are trying to include stand up meetings into an environment that is not yet Agile. My team leader wants this stand up meeting to be completely controlled by the team and to be used a HUB for us to refocus and help each other with any issues that arise. This is a great idea, but nobody says anything of value. They will struggle with something for days and still not say anything at the stand up. Eventually when they are asked by the team leader they confess they haven't made any headway.

Because the team leader does not attend the stand ups, they do not know that they are really not going as planned. I don't want to be a whistle blower and say "this person is not running a stand up properly and as a result we aren't getting anything out of it". What I want to do, is find a way to move us into a more traditional stand up, without taking over from the person leading the stand up.

TLDR; How can I use my time at the team stand up to help it run smoothly without actually taking over the stand up

  • If particular individuals have a history of struggling for days without saying anything I think you need to (gently at first) prod them during the standup when it's their turn to talk. How you'd do that without appearing to be taking a leadership role is unclear to me though ... Perhaps the sprint retrospective would be a good time to raise this issue more firmly (assuming you do these). – brhans Jun 29 '17 at 18:18
  • @brhans I agree, but we don't even have sprints yet. At the moment the only Agile concept we have is stand ups – SaggingRufus Jun 29 '17 at 18:20
  • @JoeStrazzere because they realised I was doing a lot more than my job requirements and assigned that duty to someone else. – SaggingRufus Jun 29 '17 at 18:23
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    Were you ever formally tasked with stand up leader? If you have been to step back then step back. Use your time to set an example. – paparazzo Jun 29 '17 at 18:24
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    I would bring this conversation up with your team leader. It sounds like you want to fulfill a role that isn't "assigned" to you. Yet, the person designated to fulfill that role now, doesn't want to. Leading standup, in my experience, takes hardly any extra effort. Now, if you were doing a bad job, your team leader should tell you, and in that case I would just take a seat and be a normal participant. – Henry Jun 29 '17 at 18:30
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I would say that your team sees no value in stand-ups and they are going through the motions. Less capable people are often threatened by someone wanting them to talk about their non-existent progress. Likely you were asked to back down because what seemed like successful stand-ups to you seemed to be something quite different to the others.

So at this point all you can do is model the behavior you want. Give good status reports. If something is taking more than one day, talk about the percentage completed, the issues you have getting everything done, etc. Do not take more than five minutes though. Ask for help on something to show it is ok to ask for help. If you have some time available, you can ask if someone needs a hand.

I am not sure that your company is ever going to get any benefits of stand-ups unless they do some other parts of agile as well. Since the lead doesn't attend, they aren't even really status reports that help management keep abreast of progress. If people aren't committed (or possibly allowed based on how tasks are managed) to help each other out (as a self-organizing team would do), what is the point in listening every day to everyone say what they are doing?

  • We are trying to be agile... Eventually this is supposed to be the first step. – SaggingRufus Jun 29 '17 at 19:30
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On a team I used to be with, we had a rotating scrum master who would lead the daily stand-ups. However, there were several of us who would be quite involved in engaging the team members. This was considered a good thing, overall - everyone checking up on each other.

I used to ask questions when developers would share status, if I had knowledge of what they were working with or on. "Have you been able to get that module to run? I know it can be tricky." "Do you want a quick overview of that code?" "I've done that before - give me a holler if you hit a snag."

Of course, this depends on your team culture and how that would be perceived. It sounds like you might have a problem with team investment (as other posters have indicated).

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Well I can suggest something from my personal experience. Have you tried a visual approach to tracking each task in your team. As a software engineer we mainly had four phases, analysis, design, coding and testing. So we had something similar to this.

As you can see in the Kanban figure, the manager lists the new tasks which are upcoming. And everyone can update this board during the stand-up meetings. Hence everyone knows what someone is working on and their daily status. If someone is stuck longer another resource can be added to it. And if someone finishes faster, they can take up any of the upcoming ones.

Having something like this makes everyone take it bit more serious as the manager can simply walk and have a look at the status of everything without bothering associates who may be busy. Also helps associates themselves when they come after a weekend and can see what's pending and what needs to be done.

And also fix a time limit on your meetings. Make it around 1 minute per person. It should indeed be a short update. Too long and others would probably not pay attention.

  • When I asked my team lead about a project board they said they wanted it to come from the stand up leader. Maybe they are testing him? – SaggingRufus Jun 29 '17 at 19:31
  • You don't need a board to begin with. All you need is a chart which can be placed anywhere at an empty desk, at the stand-up leaders desk, or on the wall somewhere. You can move it later once you get the actual board. – Max Payne Jun 29 '17 at 19:36
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    Maybe I'll start putting my stuff on the board and tell others they are welcome to use it. – SaggingRufus Jun 29 '17 at 20:19

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