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Stand ups didn't suck at my last company. (My current one doesn't do scrum at all.) But they were okay because I refused to let people screw them up. If anyone got off-topic, I simply asked a pointed question and got them back on track. Everyone appreciated it, and it kept the stand-ups short, like they were supposed to be.

When others ran the stand-ups, they tended to let people ramble more, and they were more painful. I did my best not to step in and corral the situation, but I still often ended up asking the appropriate question.

My meetings went the same way, with a focus on getting things done so we could all go back to our desks. We socialized plenty from our desks and other times, and there was no need to drag out meetings.

I was thanked for my efforts numerous times, and I tried to be aware of any discord that was created, so I'm fairly sure I wasn't making enemies by doing it.

My point is that standups don't have to suck, but someone has to keep them on track. That's what the standup leader is supposed to be doing anyhow.

Heh, on one of the projects I once worked on, we had a problem with the stand-ups getting too longwinded, and so we instituted a 1-minute time limit for each persons' update. And then we were like "Hey, this is working pretty well, let's see if we can shrink the time limit!" We ended up getting it down to 10 seconds/person, with the entire standup over in one minute.

The essential purpose of a standup is to make sure everyone knows what everyone else is working on, to identify any potential blockers early, and to get the right people collaborating offline to work out details. It really doesn't take very long to say this: "ComponentX, componentY; Blocked on componentZ; need to talk to Bob and Sue afterwards" is fine.

There's no reason you need to get everybody in the same physical place at the same time for this. If you are just giving status updates, team chat is a perfectly viable option.

I know I personally can't get started on things right away in the morning because of the psychic weight standups carry. I can't get focused because in the back of my mind I know I'm going to get interrupted soon for a meeting that mostly has little relevance to me.

I had another project (two, actually) where we had a "remote standup", where a couple of the team members were on the opposite coast and dialed in via videochat. You do lose something. It works, but it never felt like those teams "gelled" as well as the ones where everyone was in the same office, and the remote workers were often off doing something tangential rather than something core to the project. One of the points of the standup is to build trust and unity within the team; it's harder to do that when you're not face-to-face.

Also, there's nothing that says that standups have to be in the morning. Most of the teams I've worked on actually had theirs either right after lunch or mid-afternoon. That accommodated those of us who were late-risers, it let the early-risers get some work in in the morning, and it meant that it'd often fall during food coma or when energy levels hit a mid-afternoon nadir.

That's fair, but for groups who are in fact all in the same office, there's plenty of face to face time every day. In every environment I've worked, I've never met a developer who's been gung-ho for standups. They are always attended begrudgingly. And if you need standups to build team camaraderie and trust, there's probably other larger issues that a standup isn't going to solve.

>If anyone got off-topic, I simply asked a pointed question and got them back on track.

I'd love to hear some examples here, maybe a snippet of one of your stand-ups.

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