Daily meetings in Agile development: 15 minutes, without which you can not see the release

    Most IT companies are accustomed to daily internal meetings, status meetings or short stand ups, which are designed to optimize processes and synchronize the work of all team members. Optimally, if such meetings do not exceed 15-20 minutes.


    In Agile development today, no rallies anywhere. However, the working meetings for the Scrum, Kanban or XP teams are different and have their own characteristics. In this article, we understand what distinguishes stand up in Scrum and Kanban, as well as provide arguments in support of the need for daily meetings, as an important stimulator of growth in the company.

    Any internal meeting is an element of the culture of any organization. It doesn’t matter what the purpose of the meeting is: to discuss the issue of new postage stamps or task statuses in iterations before the release of your product - each meeting gathers a team and ensures the principle of transparency of work.

    It is important not to create the appearance of a beneficial effect and not to hold meetings for the sake of a “tick”. The status meeting of the team should be beneficial, because even 15 minutes of wasted working time of each rally participant can result in a decent amount for the company.

    According to statistics, cited by one American company, most of the daily work meetings are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 63% of them begin without an agenda prepared in advance. 33% of meetings held are considered ineffective by the employees themselves.

    Unfortunately, the last big number can overtake any company: from the "ancient" bureaucratic corporation to a young startup in which the role of such meetings is equally important.

    In Agile teams, by and large, the global meaning of the daily meeting with the team comes down to quickly, efficiently and reliably lead the tasks to their completion. Such a status meeting is often called stand up, which makes sense for a “short meeting.”

    Project managers or product managers who most often organize such meetings and take care ofhow to avoid routine in tasks , you should constantly make sure that during stand up some team members do not turn into useless extras. Here are a few examples:

    • A “false workaholic” is a very “busy” employee who cannot be torn away from a laptop because he always has dozens of important things to do during the meeting. The presence of such a team member does not bring any sense. It is not surprising if such a "hard worker" at this time simply corresponded in social networks, pretending to listen carefully.
    • "Sleeping with open eyes . " For such a team member, the next stand up is a simple formality, the need to go somewhere and come up with something every time “for the sake of a tick”. This often just happens whether he pretends to be listening, but if you ask again what has just been said, everything will become very clear.
    • Upstart is a very active employee who loves to unconstructively criticize and comment, just so that everyone appreciates his active position.
    • "PR from the plow . " An employee who each time needs or does not need focuses on his work done and its importance for the project / product, without bringing benefit to the general discussion.
    • “Distracting” - evades the topic of the meeting, abruptly switching to another topic, for example, discussing the budget of the project.

    Daily meetings at Scrum and Kanban: what's the difference?

    Agile development methodologies of Scrum and Kanban differ not only in their essence, but also in the daily meetings held by the team.

    The main goal of the daily rally in the Scrum team is to track whether all iterations can be completed by the team, or to identify the reasons why they cannot be completed as early as possible. Stand up in Scrum is people oriented. During a short rally, each member of the team takes turns voicing their results of the past day and the current status of the tasks, giving the team a promise to fulfill specific tasks today. If there are any problems, they are also voiced.

    The purpose of the rally in Kanban- minimize the time spent working on the task at all its stages. Kanban meetings are optional, but are advisory in nature, as they can really influence the course of tasks. The rally focuses on a specific board and identifying those bottlenecks (English bottlenecks).


    • Moderator collects participants. Most often, this is a project manager or product manager team.
    • The whole team focuses on the board. If the board is an online tool in the product management service and the team is distributed in different places, a general call is organized.
    • The team “passes” on tasks from right to left from top to bottom, options for speedy transfer of tasks to the next stage are discussed. Anyone on the team has the right to speak.
    • The rightmost column is the shutdown. Tasks that are closest to completion have priority. The faster the task moves to the rightmost column, the less time it will take to work on it (eng. Lead time).
    • The moderator clarifies what prevents to transfer a specific task to the done column. Causes and assumptions are made. If a task is blocked, it is marked and accompanied by a comment about why it is blocked. And so for each task. Tasks that were postponed earlier are “sorted out” by team members. Everyone takes tasks to work, so that by the next meeting these tasks will be transferred to the next column.

    So the main difference:

    Scrum rally focuses on people, Kanban rally focuses on tasks


    Classic Scrum meeting questions may also be asked during the Kanban meeting, but again with a focus on tasks rather than team members:

    • What hinders the movement of the task?
    • How is the task progressing in the stream?
    • What and how can be improved?

    Is it difficult to switch from Daily Scrum to Daily Kanban?

    If you decide to switch from Scrum to Kanban, then adapting to the new meeting format should go smoothly. The format of the discussion is changing, but the result of saving time will soon become apparent.

    How to avoid freezing tasks?

    First, it’s important to understand why the tasks “freeze” and take action to accelerate them effectively. The reasons for the "inhibitory" release tasks can be as follows:

    • Often, when a task is about to reach its completion, it ceases to be a priority for the performer and he automatically switches to new tasks. So the task which is not fully completed can “freeze” for a long time.
    • Often many tasks get stuck at the confirmation stage by the product owner or product manager. This happens because the latter may be busy with other tasks, and the current task remains one step away from the release. Frequent Kanban meetings help you see these unfinished tasks in time and complete them.
    • Work fills the time allotted to it. All tasks will hang in any part of the board until the iteration is complete. And even if a certain task is done earlier, it may simply not reach the last stage. And since the goal of the Kanban rally is to reduce the time spent on the task, it is during the stand up that you can and should push the tasks to the release.

    How to optimize a rally. Or what prevents the effective stand up?

    Each participant of the daily stand up in any Agile team should be guided by certain rules that will help not to turn the meeting into a routine, but into an effective event:

    • Do not be late . Each time, the recorded time for the internal meeting will become a must-have event over time and will not be forgotten by team members. The moderator should take care of this, as well as arrange a meeting at a convenient time for everyone. In many IT companies, it is customary to deal with delays by introducing small fines from “learning a poem to the next rally” to a small amount in the treasury of common affairs.
    • Do not turn stand up into a meeting . The short meeting format at Kanban involves a quick discussion of standing matters. Some creative teams “pass the word” to the next with the help of a game ball, someone uses a shout or a microphone, and in some teams the rally is held at the bar (of course, by common agreement).
    • Come empty-handed . It is recommended to leave laptops and mobile phones at your workplace. 15 minutes of the Kanban meeting is enough to relax your eyes.
    • Do not solve major problems . A short stand up is not intended for large, problematic discussions; separate time should be allocated for them.
    • Do not report , but share information. Kanban stand up is not a report to the manager, but a team meeting, so you need to be able to share information with everyone.
    • To develop oratory skills . Avoid fuzzy language and clearly express their thoughts given not to everyone. This is worth learning from, especially considering that the time format for the meeting is limited. It is often difficult to put a complicated technical story into a simple story accessible to all. Then it is important to voice the most important, leaving the technical details for later.
    • Be prepared . Before the status of the meeting, you need to know and clearly understand the status of your task, and not remember in a hurry what is there and how.
    • Respect the audience . Often, telling their status or expressing an opinion on the task, the nearby participants in the rally simply start talking about life, interfering with others.



    Any productive meeting should end with fresh ideas, clear decisions and a short-term action plan. The product manager and all participants return to workplaces with full understanding of their status and the status of the project as a whole, make the necessary changes in their platform for project management .

    Do you pay enough attention to meetings within the team? How is your typical stand up rally going? Share in the comments!

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