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Ask HN: Daily stand-ups – how do you make them work?
9 points by maephisto 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments
We're a team of about 10 people, doing daily stand-ups, where we provide updates on what we are doing, blockers, problems, etc. basically in line with the Scrum concept of stand-ups. However, at the end of the day I don't see so much value coming out of the meetings for us. If you find them valuable, how do you guys make it work?

Ten people is a lot for a Scrum team, so I think it's only natural that if you have ten people in a meeting it's going to take a long time, regardless of what people have to share.

What worked for me the last time I had a large team was pairing people up based on their role in the project (i.e. if you've got three frontend devs, have one attend and give an update for all three), so only one person needs to attend the standup. Suddenly, you've halved the number of people there each day, and assuming that everything else is streamlined (only necessary people in standup, questions left to after, only talking about project progress) you'll find it goes much quicker.

The sole reason I've found that makes a daily standup work is in letting everyone know what everyone else is up to. Nothing more, and nothing less, so optimise away until you've reached an average standup time that doesn't bother your team and makes everyone aware of what everyone else is doing.

Are you now aware of blockers? Resolving them? Doing this at the stand up or after as a breakaway means you are working collaboratively. If it means stories close or tasks move to done, there's the value.

Other value is everyone knows what everyone else is doing, in case it may block you or them. Huge value.

Stand ups are huge if not seen as being 'just in line'

When there isn’t much to coordinate, it’s difficult to see the value day by day. And yes, you could probably miss one or two without much impact. But go a week straight without any standups and coordination will fall apart. The left hand won’t know what the right hand is doing. You’ll lose time duplicating work or explaining the same thing over and over to different teammates.

Standups are prophylactic - a way to get ahead of instead of behind a problem. In fact, the analogy to a condom is probably apt. Nobody loves them, and the chance of consequences to skipping them on any single given day is reasonably low; but better to use them regularly than to contract herpes or HIV or need an abortion.

We are a bit smaller team with currently 6 people, but we're going to be 10 by December.

The daily stand-up is useful for us to identify pain-points and then interested people can checkout issues / interesting problems later on during the day.

We also started to have our trello run in the background of our standups so when we state what we're going to do, we're not trailing too far from the road map.

Standups should be strongly limited in time. If you’ve got a big team, then each person has less time to summarize what they’re working on today and what blockers they may have.

For smaller teams, each person could have more time to talk in more depth about what they’ve done and what they’ve got planned, but that doesn’t scale well.

Ultimately, they are something you don’t appreciate until you don’t have them. Then all hell breaks loose, and people much further up the food chain start wondering why you and your team are still working there.

This article (and HN discussion, if you can find the post) may have some food for thought:


We do them on Tue & Thu, mostly for blockers. Maybe you can reduce the frequency.

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