[Video] Daily Scrum Stand-up Meeting: A Real-Life Example

At MindFire, we’ve been using a daily stand-up meeting for our multi-channel marketing automation platform.  We’ve also applied it in other areas, including our Leadership Team, which does its stand-up at 11:00 AM.

Here’s how we run the engineering stand-up meeting:

1) We start promptly at 9:00 AM.  We experimented with having the meeting at 4:00 PM, but meeting towards the start of the day seemed to work better.  I personally enjoy the buzz from getting everyone together in the morning, hearing the prior day’s activities, and charting the day’s course.

As I walk into the meeting, I make it a point to greet everyone, shake hands (or a quick fist-bump), and look everyone in the eye and smile.  I don’t always succeed at this, but I like to try and give everyone a good start to the day.  I feel it makes a difference.

2) We time-box the meeting to 12 minutes.  We use an iPhone timer to keep us honest.  These days, we usually finish with about a minute to spare.  We used to get lazy and go for 20 or 30 minutes, but now that we stand up and use a timer, we’re good.  I check the timer from time-to-time during the meeting and sometimes call out the number of minutes remaining.  Even though each person only has a few minutes, you’ll notice that it doesn’t seemed rushed; everyone has plenty of time.

3) We go in the same order each day, cycling through 7 people.  The people involved are:

  • The Product Owner (me).  I report on both my product-related tasks, as well as whatever I’m working on with the Leadership Team or any other part of our company.  If someone listens carefully, they can get a pretty good sense for what’s going on elsewhere in the company.
  • Our QA lead, who also is involved with our Professional Services.  He goes first, and you’ll hear him mentioning working from home the prior day.  We do this from time-to-time to improve focus.
  • Our senior architect and 3 engineers, each of whom are responsible for a different sub-system.
  • A member of our Support Team, responsible for communicating Clients issues, escalated cases, and any other meaningful data (we use SalesForce.com to track all cases).  We added this person to our daily stand-up just recently, and we’ve already seen it pay dividends.

Even though we go in the same order each day (and it is written on the board!), I often forget.  Senior moment!

4) We stay fairly disciplined.  If something comes up during the meeting that requires additional discussion, we’re disciplined about putting it in the “parking lot” and discussing it later.  I have to resist asking a lot of questions; you’ll see me ask a few quick ones, but I try to keep us focused and moving forward.  If anyone is blocked, it’s my job to make sure that I do what I can to move them forward.  You’ll hear me ask about blocks after some of the updates.

5) We update the Sprint board.  We usually start updating User Story status (as a percentage towards completion) a few days into the Sprint, once we’ve started making progress.  We recently changed what we display on the board, and it seems to have made an improvement.  We can cover that in another post.

The meeting runs well if everyone is prepared (which is most often the case). Some come prepared with a summary of what they worked on, others seem to have great memories and can recite their work without notes. Personally, I write everything down in a Google Doc, and just reference this document during the meeting; otherwise, I’d never remember anything — maybe I’m getting old!

Here’s the video from one of our recent Scrum meetings; excuse the brief interruption around 1:45.  Enjoy!

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About David Rosendahl
Husband, father, co-founder of MindFireInc, two-time Inc500 software company. I love building things.

10 Responses to [Video] Daily Scrum Stand-up Meeting: A Real-Life Example

  1. Alan Irons says:

    Wow, Dave, this is great. Thank you for sharing. I can see how this fairly disciplined process gets your team in synch, keeping the, “What have you completed?,” “What are going you to do next?,” and “Are there any issues preventing your progress?” concerns at the forefront. I am in agreement with you that I would have my stuff “prepared” ahead of time either on a laptop or scribbled on a piece of paper–just quick bullet points so as to stay organized, on point, and not take too much time. The white board is nice (INFORMATION RADIATOR!)–and this might be for another post, as you wrote–but I was wondering if you have this placed in a pretty high-traffic, visible area? Also, how long has MindFire been using agile methods? It seems like you guys have it down but are ready/willing to change or adapt based on your white board display comment. Well done! -Alan

    • Hi Alan,

      First off, my apologies for the incredible delay in response. I must have completely missed your comment.

      Regarding your questions … the whiteboard is in the engineering area, on a wall. Anyone who swings by can see it.

      We’ve been using this method for about 2 years now. How we use agile has evolved over time, as we’ve uncovered what works for us our Clients.

      Thanks for the comment, and again, apologies on the delay in response!

      -dr-

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  8. Revino says:

    Hi David.

    Thanks for this nice article. We figured out that standup meetings are great but needed improvement (they took a lot of time, de-focussed our colleagues and interrupted their workflows). Because of this we developed a SaaS tool to ʺautomateʺ the daily standupmeetings – with just a single email.

    If you like to take a look: http://www.30secondsmail.com.

    Best, Revino

    • Hey Revino, looks like a cool utility. I think I recall something similar from either Google or Facebook — a daily digest of activity that was controlled via email. Am I recalling correctly?

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