JD Duarte


Scrum Master Jose Duarte offers seven Stand-up tips for Agile teams

The every-day stand-up is a basic piece of the Agile improvement strategy and is, likewise, the most misjudged part. In itself, a stand-up doesn’t produce an Agile team. It isn’t something you need to do because it’s part of the job description. It isn’t intended to be the planning part of the process. The Stand-up is additionally not the only time to bring up the topic of blockades – help should be sought any time an obstacle is encountered.

Successful Costa Rican entrepreneur and businessman Jose Duarte is a Scrum Master. He has implemented Agile into his businesses, which has helped them efficiently produce the results he expects. Duarte points to seven key stand-up tips that will provide the most benefit to Agile teams.

A stand-up, put simply, is a daily meeting of all members of the core team – the product owner, the project developers and the scrum master. The meetings are designed to address three main topics – what was worked on the previous day, what will be worked on today and what obstacles are being encountered.

In order to help the stand-up run smoothly, all team members must be prepared. They have to know what they are going to say, which will keep the pace moving. “Before you step into the meeting,” explains Duarte, “make sure you know what your assignments and obstacles are and what you have been able to accomplish recently. This will help others understand where you are with your tasks, and where the project stands.”

The stand-up should be held at a time that is convenient for everyone. They should be held at the same time each day in order to allow the maximum amount of continuity in the project’s activity.

Efficiency is key and is the whole premise behind the Agile system. Make sure that everyone stays focused during the stand-up and try to keep the meeting to no more than 15 minutes, if possible.

Stand-ups can also be parts of retrospectives. “I like to incorporate the effectiveness of the stand-ups into retrospectives,” says Duarte. “Discuss with the team how to apply the stand-up and customize it if there are any concerns over its effectiveness.”

Set repeat times for the stand-ups – reserve the meeting space for a longer period of time and make sure all team members record the information in their calendars. By making it a repetitive action, it becomes more easily integrated into the daily routine.

The purpose of the stand-up is to make everyone in the team aware of each other’s progress. Be attentive and, if any information is missing or delays are indicated, found out why and work to resolve the issue. The stand-up will be the perfect opportunity to figure out if there are any obstacles that are being seen by multiple team members, allowing them to be addressed at once.

“Always make sure to track the history of the reports,” explains Duarte. “Navigate through the reports to better gauge the performance of the team and the project’s progress. If someone is lagging behind, find out why and work together for a solution.”

Agile project management works through a flexible methodology. It allows individual team members to work on small parts of the project, introducing period releases of the endeavor. Each release is tested with respect to the intended goal and the criteria of the customer. Each of the minor releases can result in the project being altogether different from what was thought initially. By monitoring the team and checking each step, everyone will be assured that the end result is what the client wants.