Standups Save Time

You figure with a collocated team information will flow freely. It does to some extent, but things can still get missed. On many Sprints one of the key safety mechanisms are the daily standups.

A typical hypothetical example might be a developer reporting an impediment about how they had spent half the day trying to implement a PDF report. The developer had been working solo, just heads down at the keyboard. Within seconds of mentioning this at the standup, a tester would point out he thought the report was just going to be a web page and soon an analyst might bring up an old discussion were the business decided they just wanted an online screen for the report, they really didn’t need to print it, and especially not as a PDF. Impediment solved.

The lesson here is:

  • A good standup where people quickly describe their commitments, what they worked on and impediments can catch problems early. This is very much in the line of the lean idea of ‘stopping the line’.
  • If your standups consist of team members stating, well I finished #37 and I’ll be working on #102 today you’re missing critical information.
  • Many practices reinforce the idea of capturing issues or opportunities early and often.

  • Automated unit tests to capture issues as they’re being coded.
  • Continuous builds to catch integration problems.
  • Collocated teams so that people overhear important conversations or get consulted on decisions because they’re right there when something comes up.
  • Daily standups to allow for at least a daily sync up.
  • Sprint reviews to bring stakeholders in to see what’s being delivered.

Instead of having wrong assumptions slip through they can be corrected within 8 hours. And that’s less hours of wasted work. Not a bad investment for a 15 minute meeting.