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| 2 minutes read

The best structure for your daily meeting: Scrum for non-techies

Scrum is now the de-facto technique for running software development teams. (There are some newer names but it's all the same really...). The way that the daily meetings are structured is brilliantly simple, and it's very applicable outside of development.

This is how we did our Scrum meeting this morning.

1. Everyone has their video on - much nicer.

2. There was an overview for a minute or two to cover things we need to do over the next week or so. This chunk of work is called a 'Sprint'.

3. Each person answers three questions:

- What did you do yesterday?

- What are you doing today?

- What is standing in your way?

4. There are 1 or 2 minutes at the end when the person with theoretical oversight can introduce any new themes but they aren't consulted on the practical matters.

5. 15 minutes maximum for the whole meeting.

The only difficult bit is stopping the tasks becoming too floppy. "I did some of Y yesterday, and I'm going to continue doing Y today".  Try where at all possible to be more completion-focused even if the output is very small, "I concluded X part of Y, and gave it to Z for comments."

Other than that, any 1-2-1 discussions should be covered after the call. And that's it.

I can honestly say that this process changed my life back in the day. We had signed our first two or three huge banks as our clients but we had no development process in place. (I would have said we did, but we really didn't). So everything was hard. As the supposed CTO, this was a disaster on my watch. 

By luck, one of our clients, Capital One US, was at that moment introducing a new 'agile' technique and I sat in on their training session. Agile was a whole new word in business at the time. The technique was Scrum and our development process for the next many years was a doddle once we used it.

You can become certified practitioner of Scrum but the reason it is so popular and so good is that it is, on the surface at least, very, very simple. And I would suggest that the way Scrum is used to run morning meetings is appropriate and really helpful to any team in our new disparate world. 

For background, there are two major cycles in the Scrum methodology. The 'Sprint' which is a defined, small body of work to be completed and demonstrated on a 2/3/4 week basis and the Scrum meeting which happens each morning. I don't think the Sprint works for all types of work - but the Scrum meeting is terrific!

What have you completed since the last meeting? What do you plan to complete by the next meeting? What is getting in your way?


leadership, covid-19
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