GroupBy Development - Standup by Story
Amanda Allen
Most scrum teams do daily standup by going through person by person and answering the following three questions:
  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. Are there any impediments in your way?
When we first implemented scrum, we followed the same process. About a year and a half ago, our agile coach recommended doing standup by stories instead of per person, and we’ve never looked back since. Here’s a couple reasons why I think this method is much better both for us here at GroupBy and potentially for others as well:
Pair Programming
At GroupBy, we do a lot of pair programming. This means that during standup, the second person in the pair usually just says “yeah what he just said,” or alternatively, “I paired with Osman on SR-153 and then paired with Amir on SR-174.” This does not make it very engaging for everyone involved. When we do standup based on tickets, both people can speak more naturally on the work completed. We can alternate on who talks about the ticket, or we may have the more junior person discuss what was done for the ticket. This helps all members of the team have a contextually relevant voice, and reduces “me too”-ism.
Daily Work Invested Vote
Another thing we do differently that’s enabled by this process is vote on the work invested on each ticket daily, instead of waiting to vote on effort at the end of the ticket. By estimating daily on each ticket (instead of asking each person), this supports a natural flow of closing off the discussion by ticket each morning.
Focus on Team instead of Individual
Scrum emphasizes team productivity and velocity, as opposed to individual contributions. By focusing on the tickets, the focus shifts to team progress. There is less emphasis on completing your ticket and more emphasis on helping the team get more tickets done.
Better Workflow
By going by ticket, we ensure that tickets do not get stuck in code review or demo phases. We go through all the tickets in In Progress, Code Review, Ready for Demo, and Ready to Release, and make sure that no one is being held up by a code review or product owner demo. Although we should always try to push things along, the focus on the scrum board during standup just helps as a daily reminder in case the product owner was swarmed with meetings or the team was dealing with an urgent issue the day before. Why you should try this
  • Enables pair programming with meaningful updates for each member of the team
  • Daily ticket estimate vote becomes natural and gives you better total-effort estimates, since you estimate daily in small parts
  • Focuses on team output instead of individual
  • Acts as a regular reminder for moving tickets along the workflow