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My coworkers tell me stand up meetings are useless.

My project manager also makes us end every morning meeting with a company chant.

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closed as too localized by Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen, littleadv, StuperUser, Joris Timmermans, vartec Dec 12 '11 at 12:01

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Is the "company chant" really relevant to your question about stand up meetings? –  Keith Thompson Dec 12 '11 at 8:36
Your question is not very carefully phrased. Rest assured, singing company chants does not belong to the core of Agile practices :-) Thus you could rephrase the title to something like "Are stand up meetings as practiced in my company really useful?" –  Péter Török Dec 12 '11 at 8:50
possible duplicate of Why and for what reasons developers may not like "daily scrum"? –  littleadv Dec 12 '11 at 9:50

2 Answers 2

I have participated in standup meetings which were useful, as well as those that were wasteful.

If the meeting remains focused and does not go off in tangents, then it is very useful. However, if it goes off on too many tangents and exceeds a reasonable time limit, then it becomes pathological.

For a standup meeting to be successfull, all the people involved should ideally only give a status report on:

  • What did I work on between the last meeting up-till now
  • What am I stuck on ?
  • What is on my plate for today

This gives everyone an idea of what other people in the team are working on. If someone is stuck on some issue, then they get a quick resolution / pointers. I think typically one person should take no more than 3 minutes. Anything longer should be put up as an item to be discussed with parties after the meeting.

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The greatest value of standups IMO is that it provides the opportunity to catch someone who needs help early on before they are behind and holding things up. –  Chad Dec 12 '11 at 17:29
I agree Chad, that is probably more important than knowing what everyone in the team is working on. –  Parag Dec 13 '11 at 7:02

Stand up meetings are not for stupid people, but for those who get value from them. If you coworkers don't like them, it's because they don't see the value. If they don't see the value, it's certainly because it was introduced in the team improperly or because in that particular situation, it doesn't provide obvious value.

I found the page It's Not Just Standing Up: Patterns for Daily Standup Meetings very useful to explain the potential benefits of standups for your organization.

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@MadKeithV, if it doesn't work for them, why are they doing it in the first place? Certainly if I am repeatedly doing something which brings only frustration and no benefit, one can say I (or the person who made me do this) am doing something wrong isn't it? –  Péter Török Dec 12 '11 at 8:47
@PéterTörök - we partially agree. My opinion is that if something doesn't work, you stop doing it. IMHO, tweaking the process ("we're doing it wrong") is probably not effective - you either run into confirmation bias or just plain giving up against the person forcing a certain process down your throat to make it "work". –  Joris Timmermans Dec 12 '11 at 8:55
@MadKeithV, well "the person forcing a certain process down your throat" is definitely not doing things the Agile way - be the process in question called Agile or whatever. I don't claim Agile is a panacea either, but no new process or way of thinking can be forced upon developers - they should understand it and agree in using it first of all. Without this, the process - any process - will fail miserably. –  Péter Török Dec 12 '11 at 9:01
@MadKeithV My project manager also makes us end every morning meeting with a company chant. This is what would indicate to me that it's been introduced improperly. –  John N Dec 12 '11 at 9:39
@MadKeithV: I'm one of the biggest opponent of "forced agile". I've seen Agile destroying entire teams, and not only because it was poorly introduced, but because it was just inappropriate for that given project/company/situation. I'll edit my comment to avoid any further misunderstandings. –  user2567 Dec 12 '11 at 11:57

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