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This post is from the CollabNet VersionOne blog and has not been updated since the original publish date.

Last Updated Apr 30, 2013 — Enterprise Agile Planning expert

StandUp? Or StandAround?

Enterprise Agile Planning


One of my team's daily standups (or maybe a standaround; not sure). That's me in the middle. Since then we've added a few more ladies to the team!

StandUp is a cornerstone of any agile practice.  It runs like a well-oiled machine at most agile shops. You get the talking stick (or ball, or the coolest piece of swag from your last agile conference (for the record, it was the V1 ‘Do Me Daily’ t-shirt), and you quickly and very professionally (even though you’re wearing cutoffs and flip flops) speed-speak your status so you can get back to your console and start slinging code asap:

“Yesterday I made the changes to the Uber-Widget that Bob asked for, and today I’ll be working with Matthew to get that styled up and looking good.  I may run into an impediment if Matthew isn’t available. When that’s complete, I’ll be ready to plan the next story.”

Then you pass the talking stick to the next team member like you’re shooting a 3-pointer (cuz you’re cool like that and it’s NBA playoffs time).  And so it goes around the circle until the ScrumMaster gets the stick in his hot little hands and tells everyone Matthew is out sick so let’s hold off on the Uber-Widget styling and jump right into the next story.

That’s how it’s supposed to work, right?  Tell the team what you’ve done, what you’re currently working on, and any impediments you’re facing.  The ScrumMaster then leads a discussion to resolve any impediments so that the team can maintain forward progress.

And it does work!  That’s the beauty of it – excellence only comes with practice, and we get to practice standup every day.  E-V-E-R-Y damn day.  So we’re pretty damn good at it.

However, even the most rigid training schedule needs a shake-up now and then.  Here at VersionOne, we have the occasional StandAround instead of a StandUp.  StandAround usually happens on a gray, rainy day when half the team is out sick.  You know it’s going to be a StandAround when the scheduled StandUp music gets through an entire song before the team manages to mosey over to the meeting area.  Once everyone is together, blowing on their fresh coffee, idle chatter bubbles up here and there.  Instead of the git-r-done vibe of StandUp, StandAround has a laid-back, get-to-know-‘ya cachet.  Team members catch up, crack a few jokes, and then get on with their day.

Keeping the team healthy is just as important as forward progress.  So every now and then, have a StandAround.  Let it happen.  It’s OK!


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