Chapter 37. A Good Standup

Camille Fournier

I’m a proponent of standup meetings. I think they’re one of the best of the Agile rituals. They are designed to be brief and focused, to give everyone on the team a chance to talk, and to set a pattern of open communication.

And yet, many people hate standups. What’s worse in my mind, people have replaced standups with Slack bots that do little more than ask everyone their status for the day. Given that most synchronous standup meetings seem to be about sharing status, why does a Slack bot that collects the same information feel so wrong to me?

One way to define a good standup is to go back to “capital-A” Agile principles. In this world, a good standup looks at cards or stories, determines what has been finished, updates progress on things that are in flight, and identifies anything that is blocked. My gut reaction is to hate this idea of a good standup. Dictating a lot of Agile ritual to follow feels like going in the wrong direction, at least from the perspective of teams who already question the value of standups. I want teams to embrace standups as a lightweight and low-process event. Moving around cards and talking about tickets feels like the opposite of that.

However, this does get to the heart of what a good standup is about. A good standup is a constant reevaluation and refocusing tool for the group. A good standup answers ...

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