Hacking Standups – I Feel Exposed

At Integrum we regularly find new things to try as a result of our regular team retrospectives.  Recently, the team had a lot of discussion about what it takes to make teams great.  There was a lot of discussion about the necessity to be vulnerable with each other in order build deeper levels of trust.

The team decided to add something to our daily stand up.  We added the question “I feel exposed because…”.

The results were interesting.  We found that often times the things that left people feeling exposed were early warning signs to problems in getting the work done.  Seeing these before they became road blocks actually had the effect of increasing productivity.

Additionally, it allowed many team members to express fear in a safe way.  Allowing others on the team to help them move through it.  Ultimately, we did not stick with the hack because our team changed significantly and the new team was much closer and didn’t feel the need to explicitly state how they felt exposed.

How are you hacking your SCRUM ceremonies?

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2 Responses to Hacking Standups – I Feel Exposed

  1. Brian Driggs says:

    We’re not really engaged in agile development, per se, but I work on a knowledge management team borrowing a few pages from the scrum playbook. What I found was, we’d spend the bulk of our face-to-face meeting time half-heartedly listening to one another rattle off a list of tasks for the week. Even the stories became meaningless. The meetings would always run over, and we’d walk out of the room feeling like we’d just wasted an incredible amount of time.

    A couple weeks back, I proposed using a discussion forum to supplement out scrums. We’re on a weekly schedule. Here’s how it plays out…

    Monday: Someone starts a scrum thread in the forum, then lists out the projects being worked during the cycle. New projects get a simple story, existing projects are simply named. Critical tasks are listed in bullet form, along with a couple points sharing what excites us about the project/tasks, where we could use help, feedback requests, etc.. Everyone updates the thread by noon.

    Tuesday: We schedule our scrum for Tuesday afternoons. Everyone goes into the thread and catches up on what everyone else is working on prior to the meeting. When we walk into the conference room, we are ready to use the time more productively, sharing kudos, excitement, providing feedback, and collaboratively problem solving. We leave with our souls intact.

    One of the coolest benefits to our discussing our scrum in a public (behind a firewall) forum is that people outside our team can see what – specifically – we’re working on at any given time and even add their insights in a timely fashion. One passionate believer on another team is potentially more effective than four people just doing their job. And that passion can be contagious.

    Again, we’re using this in a KM capacity, so not so much software development as SharePoint development and project management. Still, breaking the big picture into smaller pieces makes it more easily digested in the day-to-day.


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