How to run standup with your dev team

As a product manager or product owner, you may be in charge of running standup with your engineering and/or dev teams. (Otherwise, the scrum master may play this role). 

Running a standup is pretty simple, but it's also very easy to mess up. I'm going to tell you exactly how to do it.

standup.jpg

Here are 6 steps to running an effective Standup. 

  1. Start on time. Every day. Standup should last 15 minutes, so if you're 5 minutes late, you just sucked up 33% of your available time.
     
  2. Have your team's work board visible. This can be your JIRA board, Rally board, or a physical white board with sticky notes - whatever you use to track work and move it between statuses. 
     
  3. Make sure everyone is standing up. I know. DUH. This may seem like the most obvious thing ever, but sometimes it is really hard to get your team to close their laptops, stop answering email or tweaking code. Get them to stand up and pay attention for 15 minutes. It's only 15 minutes!
     
  4. Have each person on the team answer these three questions: 
    1. What did you do yesterday?
    2. What are you going to do today?
    3. Do you have any blockers?
    4. Don't let anyone speak for more than a minute! If someone has an item that needs to be discussed in more detail - log it for after-party. Which brings me to the next item...
  5. Keep track of issues that need to be discussed in more detail. Discuss these in after-party if there is time (after-party = 15 minutes - time it takes to complete standup), or schedule a separate follow-up meeting with the necessary people. 
     
  6. Finish on time. Do not let standup drag on for 30 minutes or longer - because everyone will stop coming.

That's really all there is to it.

 Check it out! Everyone is standing up. That's a good start.

Check it out! Everyone is standing up. That's a good start.

The benefits of having an efficient, consistent standup are:

  • Keeping everyone on the team accountable for what they say they're going to get done that day
  • Keeping everyone in the loop regarding what everyone on the team is working on
  • Catching blockers early as opposed to letting days or weeks go by
  • It keeps product managers and devs in sync