Your team has the ritual that the burndown chart is updated ceremonially at the end of each daily stand-up meeting. In today’s stand-up someone points to a card and says “I’m halfway through doing this one.” So you’re tempted to chart the burn of half that task’s points. Don’t. Get into the habit of scoring successes only for completed tasks.
There’s at least one major reason why reporting partial progress is bad: it’s a lie. Just what is 50% of a programming task anyway? Or 80%? Or 90%? What if an unforeseen difficulty arises while developing the last 10%? In nearly twenty years of leading teams and managing projects I’ve learned to believe only three states for a development task: “not started”, “started” and “done.” Everything else (includng “I’ll be done tomorrow”) is optimistic or dangerous or both. So I only count progress when a task is complete. Continue reading →
Your team holds a daily scrum or stand-up meeting. But for some reason you all decant to some other room for the meeting itself. Maybe you don’t want to disturb the other teams who share your bull-pen. Or maybe you’re used to meetings being in the Boardroom, so you just head off there out of habit. Or maybe someone once told you that a change of scene helps meetings to focus. Whatever the reason, don’t do it!
The daily stand-up should be about the tasks on the board. If the board isn’t in the room with you, the meeting will lose its structure. Sure, everyone will still take their turn in describing what they did yesterday and plan to do today. But without the task board there are no visuals for the listeners, no cues for the speaker and no controls for the coach or tracker. No-one can point to the tasks, so it becomes much harder to discuss tasks, disconnects, blockages etc. It is also now impossible to re-plan during the meeting. Finally, your task board should also be the place where you display your big visible charts. If you hold your daily stand-up somewhere far away, you can’t discuss them. No tactical analysis or retrospectives. No daily update to maintain momentum. Huge loss of communication. Huge loss of focus. Continue reading →