Too Many Chickens at the Stand Up

An important part of Agile projects are the daily stand up meetings or daily scrum where the team gets together to report three simple things: what they did yesterday, what they’re doing today and any impediments in their way. For my current project, only the team attends our daily meetings. They are my pigs—the committed team members. But for another Scrum Master here at work, he has a lot of chickens coming to his daily meetings. These chickens are interested people—only involved but not committed.

And by Scrum rules, only the pigs should be speaking at the daily scrum. The chickens are supposed to keep their yappers shut and simply listen.

The other team finds, though, that they can’t keep the chickens quiet. Two thumbs down to those chickens.

How would you handle these unruly fowl?

A discussion over on the Scrum Development group website had some interesting insight into this dilemma. For one team, they stated that they have 5-6 members and 4-5 managers attend their daily meetings, which makes the team uncomfortable and concerned.

Bring on the diplomatic skills of the Scrum Master!

Have you dealt with this situation? How have you handled it and what works best?


Looking Good: Agile Project Dashboard

I overuse and therefore abuse a phrase with my Agile team: “look good.”

It’s all about looking good.

What are you doing today to look good?

Does the team look good?

Does our project look good to management?

And so on.

Scrum certainly has the goal to deliver value to stakeholders and make customers happy. I think teams often focus on getting out frequent releases in order to do this. But aren’t there more ways than just delivering software to do this? What about continually delivering value to your stakeholders while the team is gearing up for the next release? Do people outside of your team have clear visibility on your team progress and project status? Or is only your Product Owner checking your burndown chart?

Maybe they’re not even checking, but that’s a different blog topic.

Shortly after I finished my certified scrum master class, I met with a couple of project management experts to work on putting together a tool to deliver value to stakeholders and make customers happy throughout the project. I also happen to be related to these experts: my dad, Clark and my brother, Mick.

Our goal: a one-page project status for agile projects.

Would that be useful for your organization?

I see a ton of value in having a great report to show several important metrics about your project: project progress schedule, delivered business value, product release burn-up chart, risks, the release plan, and the overall project status.

We spent an entire day hashing out the design, utilizing giant post-it notes on the walls of the office:

Spending a day determining what needs to be included in an agile project dashboard.

In the end, we feel confident in our Agile One Page Project Manager, simply using Excel to create the report. What do you think?

Mick and Clark are coming out with a book, The New One-Page Project Manager, that will describe the step-by-step process of creating the report and the purpose of each piece. Would a tool like this be useful for your Agile projects?