Scrum @ Rackspace – Daily Standup

“Don’t forget to grab your jacket.” The words rang through the office as they rolled off my tongue. I slid my left arm in my jacket while pushing open the door with my right. I wait until the group forms what resembles a circle and we start. If you’re thinking that this sounds like some ritual, you are correct. I am outside with one of our development teams and we are participating in what is called a daily standup.

A daily standup is a quick meeting where the team gathers to discuss a few simple items and is a part of Scrum. We discuss things like what is being worked on, what will be worked on and if there is anything keeping them from getting their best work done. To be clear, this is not a status report meeting; it is a meeting where the team can gather to discuss what is going on. As a project manager in this environment, it is simply my job to facilitate the meeting and take note of anything that is not helping the team get their best work done.

What I’ve seen in these meetings are team members starting to work on something new and another team member jumping in to help them. As far as things slowing the team down, I’ve seen things from too many meetings, to slow computers, to external dependencies. The main goal is for the team to report to themselves and hold themselves accountable for the work they are performing.

A question I have been asked is, do you really meet daily? The answer is a simple yes. If I am in another sprint planning meeting, the team holds the standup without me and notes any roadblocks they may be facing. Another question you may be asking yourself: does everyone meet outside? No, not all teams meet outside; this is just something one of the teams I work with decided to try. Is a jacket necessary? I’d recommend one. But you’re on your own if you decide to wear flip-flops to work that day (yes, this has happened). Lucky for the teams, these meetings are capped at 15 minutes. They’re usually quicker, especially if the temperature is down in the teens. All in all, these meetings are helpful and are a great way to get the team involved in all aspects of their projects.

Rex Card is a programs manager for Rackspace.


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