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I am working in a small company with around 15 people (dev and qa). We are trying to practice Agile in our company. We are doing daily stand-up meetings. We are also doing a weekly project status meeting with our CTO. There we report our CTO regarding last week task and overall project status. My question is whether doing this weekly status meeting with our CTO supported in Agile or not?

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3 Answers 3

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There are many, many practitioners and thought leaders in the Agile space who will tell you to focus on products, not projects. Many will say that the very idea of a "project" flies in the face of everything Agile stands for, and in my experience, they're basically right. "Projects" are synonymous with heavy planning, detailed requirements, and fixed deadlines. They're the anti-Agile.

That's not to say you can't be "lowercase-'a' agile" in a project-based environment, but the idea of a "project status" is utter nonsense in a Scrum or Open Agile setting because it presupposes that you're working toward some enormous Big Bang release or similar milestone. If that's the case, you're simply not doing Agile.

Your team should be doing frequent delivery - at a bare minimum you should have the product showcases/demos every few weeks, and be releasing something to production every quarter at most (preferably once per month, if not more frequently). Status meetings are cheap words and empty promises; if you've got nothing to show, then they're just a waste of your time and your CTO's.

And if the developers have to be involved in these meetings (you don't say, but seem to hint at that) then it is a massive waste of their time.

I'll also point out as a sidebar that non-actionable meetings in general are useless. The purpose of any meeting should be to make a decision. The purpose of the stand-up is to determine if anyone is being blocked or interrupted and allow the managers to take corrective action. It's not clear what the purpose of your status meeting is, but unless there is an actual decision to be made or reevaluated between you and your CTO each week, the meeting has negative value regardless of whether or not you are Agile.

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Yes, developer also involved in this meetings. what is the best practice to report CTO in Agile? –  Sharif Sep 29 '13 at 8:00
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@Sharif: If you are doing scrum-based agile, the most valuable updates to the CTO are the demos at the end of each sprint. If he wants more frequent updates, he can look at the status of the Product and Sprint backlogs at any time and he can attend the daily standup as an observer. –  Bart van Ingen Schenau Sep 29 '13 at 9:32
    
What @BartvanIngenSchenau said. Part of the appeal of Agile methodologies is supposed to be complete transparency and the opportunity to "self-serve" status updates and communicate with the team through stand-ups, planning, grooming, retrospectives, demos, etc., and all the artifacts thereof. That's Scrum, but other Agile flavours have similar ideas. Someone who cannot be bothered to participate in any of these events is generally someone not worth involving in the project. FWIW, it's normal to have this argument with people in the business, but have it you must. –  Aaronaught Sep 29 '13 at 12:58

It depends on which Agile methodology you are following.

If you are doing Scrum, the answer would probably be no. The sprint backlog and conversations with the Product Owner and Scrum Master should be enough to keep your CTO filled in and happy. If you do not have a Product Owner and a Scrum Master, then you are not doing Scrum, and so the weekly meeting may be necessary.

Of course, Scrum is not the only Agile methodology out there. It is just the most popular. Others, such as Crystal, do not say anything about whether meetings should occur or not. A Lean approach would suggest that a weekly meeting with your boss might be a good thing as long as it is a productive meeting. If it is not productive, it is waste and you should find another way to let your CTO know how you are progressing.

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we have a product Owner who lives in a different country and we have a team leader but we do not have a scrum master. can we interchange team leader with scrum master? –  Sharif Sep 29 '13 at 7:50
    
@Sharif: That depends on the role your team leader fills. The main responsibility of a ScrumMaster is to facilitate the team in reaching optimal performance, by coaching them on the process of scrum and by addressing distractions that keep them from doing their job. If your current team leader currently has similar responsibilities, then you effectively already have a ScrumMaster. –  Bart van Ingen Schenau Sep 29 '13 at 9:27

Agile is most definitely not a series of things that you do. It's a set of principles which your organization can choose to adopt.

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

In this light, is your meeting useful to your team? Does it improve communication, is it an effective way of exchanging information? If it works for you, then keep it. If it's a CTO-mandated burden, ask him to cancel it or make it optional to attend.

My suggestion is to do a retrospective meeting. Bring this up within the 15 people in the team and CTO, and see:

  • how they perceive the meeting
  • what do they take home from it, is it useful?
  • is it possible to achieve the same objectives more effectively?

In other words: what is the purpose of the meeting and is it an effective way of achieving that purpose?

There is nothing agile or non-agile in meetings, but it's certainly not agile to follow a process instead of focusing on people.

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