Daily Stand-Up - Not Just a Ritual

Here is a brief write-up about Daily Stand-up ritual of 'Being Agile' journey. 

Motive is to give quick overview about this ceremony, sharing some of the learning. For detail reading, I would recommend the link given at the end of this article.  

What is the purpose of daily stand-up:
  • Shared understanding of goals and current status 
  • Plan your day (self-management)
  • Coordinate efforts, ask for help, offer help
  • Ensure team communication
  • Identify as a Team

What are daily stand-up basics, and these are designed for important purpose (refer to links given at the end):
  • Fix time
  • Fix place
  • Must not be more than 15 min
  • Whole team gather themselves
  • Everyone derive her/his status following three scrum magical questions. Important: It is all about sharing plan, not the task names. Focus should be, what I am doing to contribute to delivery.
  • Breakout session at the end or later, if anyone need to discuss more
  • Share plan which makes sense to team in bigger context for delivery, It is not about status sharing.
  • Only PIGs are allowed to speak. Chickens can join as listener although (refer to scrum pig/chicken story please)

NOT to do:
  • Not being regular
  • Coming without preparation
  • Story telling 
  • Problem solving
  • Using it as reporting or tracking meeting, 
  • Reporting to a Leader or to SM or to Manager. It is all about team communication.
  • Work assignment - Mostly, it is done during sprint plan and weekly scrum. There could be few exceptions like helping anyone or any critical work, which team can take call.
  • Running across locations (Soln: break in co-located teams. Share the brief in Teams space – only if day to day work is too interdependent - which is neither ideal, nor productive)

What Great Leaders Do - Continuing

Covering rest of the two points which I promised in previous post

4. Create a sense of Belonging and Purpose

An important feeling for all of us is feeling of 'I belong here'. This feeling is everything. It defines the comfort for us, for team. It defines the efforts, real contributions, and the results. It defines how much team is connected with the Organization.  

Fostering this feeling is not easy. Leaders helps to create, nourish, and empower the environment which can help in fostering this feeling.

'Promote Environment for Being thyself' - This is the big contributor to feeling of Belonging. If people feels, they are accepted for what they are and need not to change just to fit in, they feel comfortable. It is not about being rigid, or averse to change or learning. Rather it is more helpful to promote learning. Learning comes from adaptability and adaptability starts with being comfortable with oneself, without being defensive or faking any of the trait just to fit in. Once people are comfortable in being what they are, they are actually better aligned to learn and improve to next level, while being connected to the Organization. 

One of the mistake we can do is to have one mold to make everyone perfect and fit in our own world. That is a trap which seems like working at first, and is very well doable with all the great powers, but it will eventually stop people from learning and to use their genuine talent. Eventually they either just 'fit in' or don't belongs to the place. In both the cases, we loose the talent.

Leaders accept their team for who they are, however, have genuine interest to help them to learn, grow and become better version of themselves.

What Great Leaders Do

'What Great Leaders Do' - I don't buy the greatness of 'Great' word, it is simply a search keyword :) 

Whenever I think what leaders do, few flashbacks always help me, when I heard following advice from my mentors.
  • 'Let us see how we can solve this problem yours way'
  • 'Show people what you think, so they know what you think, and your management style'
  • 'Understanding context, Respecting everyone, Integrity in words and actions are important ingredients to manage the talent'
Adding some observations and learning, I experienced so far. Promising, will not make it a long list, but explanation for each point could be long. 

1. Ensure that People feel safe

This is the first priority for the leaders. They reflect this in all of their actions, and words. They work on it day in, day out. 

Why does this has to be a day in, day out job. Because once you are in leadership role, every action impact the masses. The way you communicate, listen and respond, write emails, body language, how you respond to conflicts, how you react to mistakes and failures, all these are followed closely by the team. Every single action is a clue for team, to deduce that how safe they are around you.

Why does feeling safe so important. Let us understand it from neurological perspective. 

When Human being faces threat (physical or mental), our self-defense mechanism kicks in and make us ready for 'fight or flight'. Result, arteries get tightened and tensed to pump more blood to body elements. Heart works rapidly and hard. When body is working so hard to manage the threat, naturally our brain can not focus on creativity, executive functions or social engagements. 

Hence, if team is not feeling safe, we loose Creativity, Executive thought process and most importantly Social Engagements which is the basis of team work. Loosing these means, loosing the team and organizational goals as well.

Next, important point is how to ensure this safety net.

Monolithic vs Decoupled Schema

Let us understand what we mean by Monolithic and Decoupled architecture, Schema with an example.

Setting up a library

Let us take example of library. A new library is opening up. It would have many books, may be on various subjects. First task for librarian is, to store the books in library.

Librarian started with obvious approach first, i.e. start putting all books in shelf, one after other. It was quick. She puts all the books quickly in the shelves; and created an index to search any book.  

  • It was quick, easy, and less work. Just one simple storing strategy, every new book will go to next available space.
  • You have all sort of books at one place, which means just keep updating one index for every new book – no need to maintain separate indexes.
  • Readers can find all sort of books at one place for all of their tastes. They need not to go to multiple places. Just iterate over and you will find what you need.
  • For librarian, access management is easy. Anyone having access to library, can access any book easily. Less time spent on management.
  • It is easy for readers to refer any other related book also. For ex: if you reading astronomy book, and need to refer a math book. It might just be somewhere in same row.

All setup done. Things started rolling. All good so far. Eventually library become popular and started getting more readers and requirements for new books. Librarian started ordering more and more books on various subjects.


However, as volume of books increased, Librarian started observing few issues. Like: