I have been working as a software developer for more than a decade. Recently I took a new job where I have to manage a remote team of 5 developers.

We have a "stand up" conference call every day at 5pm my time, 10 am their time. (I am the team lead/manager and will be the scrum master as well)

I have some questions:

  • how to call the meeting? "stand up?", "huddle?", other?
  • I have worked in some places where before the scrum meeting the scrum master touches on latest news (political, technology, etc). Should I do the same?
  • should I be the first or last to talk in the status presentation?
  • what other points should I cover?
  • are there any books on this subject?

Cheers!

closed as too broad by Sarov, Todd A. Jacobs Nov 29 at 14:46

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  • 2
    You need to clarify what you want to do. There is no manager in Scrum, so what do you think your role would be in Scrum? Neither the Scrum Master nor the PO talk in the daily standup if they don't have to. It's also not a status presentation. I'm not saying what you are doing is wrong, you can have a status meeting with your team as their manager and call it whatever you like. But before you call anything Scum, you should read the Scrum guide or a good book on Scrum. – nvoigt Nov 28 at 6:38
  • hi @nvoigt Thanks for the clarification, I will be the team lead / scrum master. The meetings are so we know what is being done by who and to recognise any blockers. – MaKo Nov 28 at 6:45
  • 3
    Word of warning: being a remote scrum master is very difficult. I'm not sure why that choice was made, but ideally you really want a scrum master to be in the room with the team, so you can actually observe their behavior. It gives you more of an idea of the kind of help they need. – Erik Nov 28 at 7:53
up vote 7 down vote accepted

It isn't clear from your post if your team is practicing Scrum, so I'll start with general information before going to Scrum.

There is no single right way to run a stand-up meeting. You can call it whatever you like (just consider that the term Daily Scrum suggests a specific practice). Usually, the value of the standup to share important information that has come up in the past day that people will need to do their jobs effectively. In a restaurant, this may be new specials and sharing stock levels. In software, it is probably developments in the project, changes in work state, and resolution of blockers. Note that the manager does not need to be the source of the information. In fact, I would advise any manager to help their team get to a point where they are not needed for this meeting.

The practice you mention about sharing news can be fine if the team wants. It may build some connections that extend past work tasks. You might consider something like a rotating role that a different person each day must share a piece of news that they find interesting. At the same time, some teams may feel this is wasteful - read the culture of your team.

Now on to Scrum. If you are a Scrum Team, there is a practice called the Daily Scrum. The Daily Scrum is a type of standup with a specific purpose and set of behaviors. Each sprint has a sprint goal and the Daily Scrum is an opportunity for the team to synchronize and replan how they can best reach their sprint goal. The Scrum Master facilitates the daily scrum, meaning that they help make it more effective. This is subtly different from leading the daily scrum. One key difference is that the team should never be giving an update to the Scrum Master. It is for team members to synchronize with other team members. Interestingly, many Scrum teams add in things like the news item you mentioned for the same reason you would in any other kind of standup - it helps build connections on the team.

For more information on Daily Scrum, you can read the description in the Scrum Guide.

Q: How to call the meeting? "stand up?", "huddle?", other?

A: Call it a Stand-Up - and remind people about this, especially the long-winded ones. People who sit are in no hurry to end meetings - hence the invention of the more uncomfortable stand-up.


Q: I have worked in some places where before the scrum meeting the scrum master touches on the latest news (political, technology, etc). Should I do the same?

A: That depends on the company culture - and since you're spread over (at least) 2 time-zones I would advise against anything political; you don't want to step on anybody's toes - and not even be able to see that you did it.

If you're entertaining, you could mention something about the latest technological news; but remember, you may be boring a lot of people, and you cannot see them to gauge their interest.


Q: Should I be the first or last to talk in the status presentation?

A: Both! You should start by officially starting the meeting with a standard line. E.g. G' Day Team! You're all standing, right? Let's start today an update from ______.

You then call on each team in turn and end off with a summary, some invigorating statement and a reminder to show up at the next meeting tomorrow/Monday/whenever.


Q: What other points should I cover?

A: People like it short and like information/updates: We're 3 weeks from release - expect a press release bla bla bla. Matt will be on vacation from ___ for 2 weeks; Jane will be covering for him. Congratulations to ____ on _____.


Q: Are there any books on this subject?

A: I'm sure there are! But I haven't read any, yet. (I am toying with the idea of writing one.)


One last piece of free advice: Get a tripod and have somebody video the meetings - and make the MP4s available for those who have trouble keeping up, or miss it or come late/leave early. (And please don't email MP4s - just send a link.)

  • Honestly, if the Daily is working correctly, the Scrum master shouldn't be talking at all. It's a meeting for the developers. – Erik Nov 29 at 10:06
  • @Erik - and how do the developers decide whose turn it is to talk? And who gets to refocus them when they get distracted and go off on a tangent? Maybe at Tesla it can run on auto-pilot, but meetings need somebody to be in charge, – Danny Schoemann Nov 29 at 10:29
  • That's up to them. They'll never learn to do it properly if they have to be baby-sat by the Scrum master. I don't work Tesla, but my team has no problem doing it themselves. – Erik Nov 29 at 11:32
  • @Erik- there's got to be more to it - meetings don't run themselves. Somebody on your team has to be taking the lead. – Danny Schoemann Nov 29 at 13:23
  • It varies from moment to moment, especially with the daily. Everyone considers it their responsibility to make the daily happen, so random circumstances will decide who starts it and leadership floats from one person to the next. – Erik Nov 29 at 13:39

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