“KISS” Bad Standups Goodbye – How to Improve Your Agile Standup

At Caxy, each team meets every day to get a pulse check on the project they’re working on.  Ideally, the daily standup meeting is held in the morning to set up context for the rest of the day. These meetings are usually timeboxed to 15 minutes with a goal of keeping the discussion brisk and relevant.  An easy way to keep these meetings effective is to remember KISS – a mnemonic device to remind you of the key principles of the standup meeting:  

Keep it on topic,

Look for Improvement,

Keep it Short,

and Ensure Shared understanding, which we’ll discuss below.

K- Keep it on topic.  Standup conversation should center around the current work the team is trying to complete.  When in doubt, use the scrum board to focus your conversation on the stories that are currently being worked on, are about to be started, or are going to be assigned to a different team member for review or QA.  Also be on the lookout for discussions about work being done outside of the sprint – the team’s work should always have some story or task in the backlog.

I – Look for Improvement opportunities,  especially in the form of blockers.  Look for opportunities for in process, transparency, or knowledge.  Anything can be a blocker – from outside influences (hello, smelly office), to waiting on confirmation or approval from the client, PO, or stakeholder.

S – Keep it Short.  If you need to schedule an alternative ceremony to discuss something at a deeper level, do it! The point of a standup is a quick-check in, not to actually discuss issues.

S – Ensure Shared understanding.   The goal of daily stand up is to have a shared understanding of team progress.  Look around at your team members for visual cues and body language to confirm that everyone is on the same page.  If you see confusion, or still have questions of your own, stop and discuss it.

Looking for more Agile tips? Read more here.

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