Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bootstrapping Agile: Stand-up Meetings

For a software development team and process to be most effective, it is important that it has the right dynamics and interactiveness. Agile helps a lot with this, but how to get started with this?

How to bootstrap Agile?
My experience is that changes in any environment work best if executed in small steps: everyone can quickly learn from each small change and enjoy the resulting success.

So what I am doing to bootstrap Agile in my current team and development process is this: one of the simplest and most effective practices of Agile processes is the Daily Stand-up meeting.

Why start with Daily Stand-up meetings?
  • It is easy to explain and works in all existing environments, you do not have to change existing waterfall approaches for example.
  • It speeds up teams, because it helps team members to help each other out early in the process: team members communicate everyday what they are doing and what issues they are running into.
  • You quickly see results, which helps to boost self-confidence and openess to other best practices.
  • And last but not least: it creates closer teams, with the right stand-ups you get a sense of excitement and proactiveness that brings the team members closer together and increases productivity.

Getting started
Long story short: getting started is easy.
Agree on a daily meeting time, make sure everyone stands during the meeting, and have every team member follow this meeting agenda:
  1. What did I do yesterday
  2. What are my plans for today
  3. What problems am I running into
My experience is that the introduction of just the stand-ups already solves a lot of the issues that Agile addresses. And it can quickly lead to (even) happier teams!

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