At ARMATURE, we take on big projects that require a substantial amount of coordination, collaboration, and communication to bring to fruition. When you have a team of developers building and testing complex product customizations, you need to run a tight ship to make sure that everyone and everything stays on track throughout the development cycle.
That’s where the Scrum daily stand-up comes into play.
The Scrum daily stand-up is a key part of the Agile approach to product and software development, and it couldn’t be simpler in concept. Everyone who’s working on a project gathers in a room to touch base on the project status each morning. We go around the room and each person answers three questions:
- What did I do yesterday?
- What do I plan to do today?
- What are my blockers or impediments?
The daily stand-up is only about 15 minutes long, but it provides priceless insight into the status of the project, and allows the team to troubleshoot issues as they arise. It also keeps everyone accountable for their work, and provides the “we’re all in this together” team spirit that helps our developers and architects stay motivated, even after wrestling with code for long hours.
Agile is a perfect fit for projects with longer development lifecycles, because it keeps the communication flowing on a daily basis, and loops in the customer at regular intervals to provide feedback and insight as we build out their solution. No more black holes or unpleasant surprises at launch—the customer plays an active role in shaping the solution, which guarantees a happy outcome.
Another reason we like the daily stand-up so much is less practical and more philosophical: it aligns with our core value of integrity. We believe that honesty is the best policy, and we respect our customers—and each other—by communicating in a clear and direct manner. When you participate in a daily stand-up, you have nowhere to hide: you are held accountable for the work you did yesterday, making a commitment to the work you plan to do today, and sharing any problems you encounter with your team.
The daily stand-up helps us work smarter when we’re wrestling with complex requirements, and it creates efficiencies: if one team member accomplished more than expected yesterday and has a light load today, he or she can take on additional work to keep the project moving along. This prevents burnout and keeps everyone invested in every aspect of the product as it takes shape.
By checking in with each other every morning at the daily stand-up, we reinforce the strong bond that exists among our developers: we share the load, we solve problems together, and we build solutions that allow our customers to make the world a better place. That’s a pretty great way to spend your days, if you ask us.