Saturday, March 17, 2012

User Story Centric Stand ups

As a Scrum team learns to work closely together and to focus their efforts they tend to only have a couple of User Stories in progress at any one time. Working collaboratively with limited work in progress brings several benefits, namely increased shared understanding and a reduced risk of partially completing a User Story.

Unfortunately when Scrum Teams work closely together on a couple of User Stories, their Stand Up Meetings become disjointed. By this I mean that as each person answers the three questions, several people will need to speak out of turn to present a full view of what is occurring and what needs to be done.

Day 229. Lesson Seven, Disco For Old People.

The standard format for Stand Ups where each team member answers the three questions in turn is a Person Centric approach. The standard format is a great way to teach those new to Scrum what information they are expected to provide, what information they should seek and what planning they should carry out.

However when the Scrum team works closely together on User Stories the Person Centric Stand Up no longer represents how the team is working.

Teams use their task board to visually represent the work they are doing and how they do it. I recommend that Stand Ups should also represent how the team is working. Hence when a team is collaborating closely on their User Stories I recommend the team switches to User Story Centric Stand Ups.

User Story Centric Stand Ups

1. In priority order discuss each User Story
        A. As a team update the work that was done since last stand up.
        B. As a team plan the work for today.
        C. As a team discuss any impediments relating to the User Story.
2. Ask the team if there are any other tasks that have popped up.
3. Ask the team if there are any other impediments. I.e. Impediments not directly relating to a User Story.
4. Ask the team if everyone has a clear plan for what to work on next.


This Stand Up format fits in easily with teams that are used to answering the three questions and have moved onto collaborating around User Stories.

User Story Centric Stand Ups are not recommended for new teams, only for teams that are comfortable with the Person Centric Stand Up and work collaboratively around a couple of User Stories.


Photo by: Kris Anderson