Agile Software DevelopmentAgile Thinking

Use Daily Standups for Workflow, Not Status

Agile teams have daily standups to learn about their task progress from the previous day before starting their work today. Nonetheless, though the leaders learn about the team’s work status, they do not learn how the teammates achieved it or the hardship they went through. In this article at Agile Connection, Rich Stewart shares that daily standups should help you understand more about the team workflow and not just the work status.

Utilization of Daily Standups

To know how your team is progressing, you should have greater visibility about the workflow. So, add more steps to your Kanban board apart from backlog, in-progress, in-test, and done state categories. For instance, a prototype has moved from in-progress to in-test state. But, do you know how much your crew utilized to accomplish it? Here’s a formula for flow efficiency:

Flow Efficiency (%) = [Time Taken to Work/ (Time Taken to Work + Waiting Time)] x 100

Every work or task state has one or two steps before it goes to the next state. For instance, the in-progress state generally has two phases—in-development and in-review. So, per Stewart, the actual workflow for your daily standups should be the following:

  • ‘Sprint Backlog/Ready to Pull (queue state)
  • In-Development (work state)
  • Ready for Review (queue state)
  • In-Review (work state)
  • Ready for Test (queue state)
  • In-Test (work state)
  • Ready for Acceptance (queue state)
  • In Acceptance Review (work state)
  • Accepted’

A Workable Approach

You can also add work-in-progress (WIP) limits to the task states that can swiftly change context when moving between work items. If your Agile team is mature enough, you might have moved past this WIP stage for daily standups using the Theory of Constraints. Furthermore, your team might not want to use all of the above task states because they will spend more time updating the Kanban board. So, you can trim it down to the task items given below:

  • ‘Defined (queue state)
  • In-Progress (work state)
  • Dev Complete (work state)
  • Ready for Test (queue state)
  • In-Test (work state)
  • Completed (work state for product owner acceptance)
  • Accepted’

You will have enough data to have daily standups, and those would be more about the workflow and less about team members.

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