Musketeers? No, not this time! I am going to share some thoughts of the sacred questions of an agile stand-up.

My scrum master inspired this short post as he thanked me during our last retrospective that with one single action I improved a lot our daily stand-ups.

What was the problem with our dailies? They were long, people were not focused at all, tended to ask different questions which might have been great otherwise but had nothing to do with a scrum daily stand-up. I think it is still the case a bit, but it is much better.

So what did I do to change this?

We had a retrospective and I didn’t manage to push through the problem of stand-ups. It seemed that only two of us had problems with how these dailies went. Plus I did not offer a better way. But enough is enough, I couldn’t stand these lengthy meetings at the beginning of the new sprint, so after having consulted with the guy who also disliked the way we did, I printed three questions and glued it on the wall.

In Scrum these basic three questions are:

  • What did I do yesterday?

  • What am I going to do today?

  • What is blocking me?

Nice, nice, but still not so good. What did you today? Well, you might have had a coffee or two. Do I care? I don’t give a damn. You might have called someone five times but he did not respond, even though you tried to call, tried to chat, tried to send a pigeon, blablabla. Do I care? Not at all. You could have said that you couldn’t get an answer and you ask for help from the scrum master.

What I’m trying to say here is that these questions are crap.

There are better versions. This what I started to use:

  • What did I accomplish yesterday in order to achieve what we have been committed to?

  • What is blocking me?

  • What will I get done today in order to achieve what we have been committed to?

These questions are still not to long but much more explicit. And I think explicitness is important in IT.

I think not everyone has mastered answering these questions, but around half of the team already have which is a great addition to the dynamics. And as it is been recognized, I’m sure it’s going to continue. I thought about reordering them, because in fact the second one is much more important than the first. But you don’t always want to change everything at once.

So if you feel you are all the time stuck at stand-ups, I advise you to introduce these questions.