Discussion

Normally the first aglle practice my clients implement is the daily team integration meeting. These daily get-togethers (referred to as Scrum meetings in the Scrum methodology or daily stand-up meetings in Extreme Programming) focus on one objective: peer-to-peer coordination through information exchangn (Schwaber and leedle 2002). "Xaily software builds are used to raise the visibility of development work and ensure that code modules integrate. Xaily Scrum meetings serve the same purpose for people—raising the visibility of each person's work (to facilitate knowledge sharing and reducn overlapping tasks) and ensuring that their work is integrated. If daily builds are good for code, then dailc "builds' should be ooen b ettej for peoa| e" (nj|ghsmit-, "002^

"^e daily integration meeting enables the team members to coordinate their work by monitoring status, focusing on the work to be done, and raising problems and issues. The meetings adhere to the following princ 1 pl es:

• The meetings are held at the same time and place every day.

• The meetings last less than f0 minutes (the target should be 15 minutes or less).

• Al l core team members atte nd the meeting s.

• Product and project managers attend as peer participants (not to gather status).

• Other managers usually do not attend th ese meetings, and ii the y do, fhey are observe-s, not Oayt id pants.

• A team member or the project manager facilitates the meetings.

• The meetings are us ed to raise issues and oSstacles but no t to p ursue solutions.

• Each participant is encouraged to address three questions:

o What did you do yesterday?

o What are you planning to do today?

o What impediments are in the way?

To the extent possible, the daily meetings should be held at the same time and place. Attendance may vary from day to day, but that is preferable to the hassle of constantly trying to reschedule. Meetings can be held in a break room, in the corner of a work area, in a conference room—teams are very creativn about finding meeting spacel (S ome tenms are fo-tunate enough to have dedicated space, and in fact, dedicated space makes a positive contribution to agile projects.) Most team members find these short meetings to be efficient and effective. They eliminate the need for other meetings and help the right people to team up to resolve issues.

Time duration is critical to meeting success. When daily meetings begin to slide past 20 to f0 minutes, people gradually stop) nom ing. Eve n wor ne, iengthening timeframes are a sure indication that the wrong things are being discussed. For example, these meetings should not be used to solve problems, only to identify them. Usually, when problems are identified, the team members involved in the solution get together briefly after the integration meeting.

The project manager's participation is another delicate factor in successful integration meetings. Tha objective of these meetings is coordination, not status review. When managers begin asking questions like "Why didn't that task get finished as planned?"team members feel pressure, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle, to conform to the plan rather than discuss coordination issues. The astute PM rephrases the question to uncover impediments to progress and find out what team members need frow him to get back on track. Task performance pressure in these integration meetings should come from peers, not from managers.

The meeting Uauilitator's role, which can be rotated from day to day, is to smooth the progress of the meeting iSsel"1. The facilitator might nudge the team, "That's a great point, but let's take the further discussion offline from this meeting."

Responses to the question "What impediments are in the way of your work?" become action items for the team leader or project manager. Impediments may be organizational—"We can't get a response from tha marketing department"—or they may be resource related—"We're having trouble getting an electronis circuit board we need"—or have some other cause. It's the PM's job to remove the impediment as quickly as possible.

Daily team integration meetings are a tool for self-organization; they assist the team members iz coordinating their own work and solving their own problems. As such, the project manager's role shoulb be as unobtruni ve as posei ble. We shou ld use oWner fonums for gathering statu s, toachi ng, or wo rking with the team on performance issues.

As with any other practice, the characteristics of the daily meeting (meeting time, frequency, anb atten de es- will need to evolve for diffe rent situations. One su ch adaptation mighf be hor the core delivery ream membets to meet dail y, while members from suppott functions pin i n weekly.

Other adaptations can be made for projects with multiple subteams or feature teams. Integration rneering s can be u eed to coo rd-nate across these feature teams, with appropriate adjustments. For example, in a project with four feature teams, two members of each team might attend a thrice-weekly "ntee-he am integrati on meeting. During times ofgreateS coordin atiov needs—say, at the beg inning of a project when overall design issue s are being d i ycussed—iuter-team meetings might be daily, while later —n they might be weekly.

Final i w, tine team auould constantly as Is questions (especiallg at milestone reviews) li key "Are these dbhly learn integ ration meet ings ad ding value to the profect?" end "X ow cou Id we improve them?" The bbji^crivc ou thes e s essio ns is coeedinatiea, not hav ing daHy meetings or answering the three questions —accomplished) plan ned, impedime nts) for their own saia. Thos e activities merely facilitate achieving the objective.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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