Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Morning Daily Stand-ups

I've been on Scrum teams for the past 3 years. Every team I've been on has decided to do its daily stand-up in the morning. I've tried the lunch time thing before and it just didn't work. People use their lunch hour to get things done; appointments, errands, etc. I've never tried it as an end of the day meeting. I've just always thought that by the next morning, I wouldn't recall important details.

So, my problem is that my team really isn't doing it in the morning. Our stand-up time is 9:30am. After some thought, I'm pretty sure this is having a significant negative impact on my productivity. I'm going to suggest we move to 8:15 or 8:30. If that doesn't happen, I'm going to have to figure something out for myself.

Here's a breakdown of why this isn't working for me. I come in most days between 8 and 8:30. I catch up on email that went out the night before; usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes. Then I'm left with about 30-60 minutes before the meeting. I spend about 15 minutes reviewing ScrumWorks, our project tracking tool. I make sure I've updated my hours on tasks I'm working, ensure I'm working on the highest priority tasks, etc. At that point I'm down to 15-45 minutes before our daily stand-up.

How much can you really get done in that amount of time? Maybe if you've got something small to finish up, but that isn't the case for me very often... ever.

So, we go until 9:45 in our stand-up (ideally). We talk about off-line things that came up until 10:00 or later. Sometimes we schedule meetings for directly after our stand-up since we're already in a meeting room. Most days, by the time I'm back to my desk and really starting to get something done, it's 11:00. Yep, just 1 or 2 hours before I break to eat.

The problem is, there's not much time to get up any real momentum. Even if that's my only meeting in the day, it's just not in a good spot. I don't hit any long stretches until after lunch.

Consider what I'm really saying here. A single, 15-minute meeting is noticeably hindering my productivity due to the normal routine I follow and the meeting's placement in the day. Maybe this is why I'm working so many nights on this project and always find myself saying, "Is it seriously noon already?!?!".

I think that even if my team moves to an earlier daily stand-up, I need to re-evaluate my morning routine and see if I can make any improvements on it.

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