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The Power of the Weekly Stand-up / Scrum Meeting

blog Jan 28, 2016

One of my measures of the maturity of a service team is their ability to have a weekly stand-up meeting every Monday morning. Rain or shine, good or bad, fire and flames or all quit. By the way, I actually prefer the term Scrum as it is an Agile term and it really is more appropriate for how I think the meetings should roll. Why is this a measure of maturity? If you truly have your Service Delivery process honed sharp and you know how to run a meeting properly, you realize that this is not a thing to be feared as a time drain. You know you have everything under control and nothings going to get dropped. So it's OK to start the week right with a fast, informative, well run, energy infusing meeting.

First lets look at why we should even have a Monday AM Scrum. My personal opinion is that the top benefit is the team cohesion and energy share. Your entire team wakes up on Monday refreshed and ready (yea right) and they start the week connecting to the source energy of the team and getting on the same page as the rest of the team. The power of a focused team where everyone has the same shared view of the week behind us and the week in front of us is really immeasurable. And it also allows time for quick lessons learned to be imparted but if you're doing really good, everyone gets a quick check-in on their personal status before things get rolling.

How long will this take, what do we talk about and how do we keep it under control?

First off the Service Manager runs the meeting or a competent substitute if absolutely necessary. This is not a responsibility to be handed off. The team lead needs to be at the "lead".

This my basic agenda:

  1. Role Call (personal check-in)
  2. Roster Run-down (who's here this week and who's not + who's on call, and other position or role assignments)
  3. Kudos (Individual and Team)
  4. Hot items (like P1 for XYZ Co. or our Dude got hit by car so we're short handed for the week, etc.)
  5. Service Delivery Metrics for last week and this week (Ticket count, Backlog hours, Time on ticket)
  6. Project run-down (Just name them, who's on them, and their five words or less status)
  7. Lessons Learned or other important notes (if there is time)
  8. And finally, the big close including a motivation statement (from anyone)


Keys To Success

  • You should run through things pretty fast; 30 minutes tops for teams up to 20.
  • Point and shoot as it were and everyone should know their part and how it's supposed to roll as well.
  • DO NOT get into the details of an issue with the entire team if they are not needed.
    Identify the issues and get people together after the stand up.
    Brice says "Yea we have a problem with XYZ Xo install."
    You say, "OK, who all has information and knowledge to add to this issue? All of you meet up right after this meeting for no more than 15 minutes to discuss and get it to roll forward."


Service Manager: "Roll call, Bruce?"
Bruce: "Online all week until Friday I'm at Broken Sound for a Firewall swap and Monthly Maintenance. Gary owes me $10 for his poor pick in the game Sunday night and my daughters recital is this coming Wednesday, you're all invited."
Service Manager: "Now Tawny?, and welcome back from your vacation"
Tawny: "We've got 1.5 million pictures from the trip because my husband taped a selfie stick to his arm. If you want to see them, just watch Facebook and they'll be showing up little by little. Reminder: I need your expense reports by Wednesday of you want a check on Friday and get your flippin' time in at the end of every day! I'm not doing time sheets on Saturday or each of you is buying me dinner."
And so on.

So now we know who's online, who's injured reserve, who's on vacation and so on. We've covered the fifteen thousand foot view of the week to come (and the thirty thousand foot view of the next week). We've done a run down on our successes, failures, metrics, and maybe even touched on  lessons learned. If you're pressed for time, do not skip the Roll and personal check-in, Kudos, or Big motivation statement. Do them fast or short but do them!

Start doing these meetings now and within a few weeks you should find a nice flow and groove. You will also find that it becomes a thing everyone looks forward to to start the week versus just hitting the ground running. It cannot be emphasised enough the power of this 15-30 minute standup / scrum meeting. The teams that endear to this and consider it as important to everyone on the team as they do showering or brushing their teeth, have a powerful tool that puts significant energy into the team.  Remember that because of how we work, everyone on your team (and sometimes specific members) never get quality time with their mates, mentors, leaders. Well this meeting does this and more.

A final note; this is also a practice in high quality collaboration for everyone on the team. An important skill that if properly learned and leveraged, gives your team the ability to identify, review and resolve issues many time faster that most. You quickly find that when you call for a Standup or Scrum meeting, everyone know it will not be this big time drag that just makes them want to poison their own coffee so they can feign sick and just stay at their desk or go home. They know it will be fast, to the point and productive.

Don't miss a beat!

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