Ah! The famous stand-ups! The daily meetings you have with your team to talk about what you did the day before and what you are planning to do today. An important step if your team is following the Agile methodology. The issue that can happen when you have to talk during a stand-up is either you have nothing to say, and you could look like you didn’t do any work. Or you could talk too much when it’s not the purpose of a stand-up. I have a few years of experience with stand-ups. I’ll give you some tips to help you be efficient and not look like a fool.
Surprisingly I like stand-ups
I used to be very shy during my childhood. Even though I got very confident, I am still the kind of person not crazy about talking in front of a lot of people. If I have to do it, I will of course. However, if it’s not mandatory I will not take my chance. However, I never had any problems talking with my team during our daily stand-ups. I will even say, I like this moment with the team. I even don’t feel good when the stand-up is canceled. I feel that something in my day is missing. As if I didn’t share this important moment with the team, I couldn’t share with them my achievements or struggles. It’s like when you are used to journaling on a daily basis, if you miss a day, you don’t feel good.
Most importantly : Get prepared
The easiest thing is to prepare a small sticky note with bullet points, so you don’t forget any of the things you did. It basically takes only about a minute to go through the things you did and write them down. You don’t need to tell in detail what you did, just mention the things you worked on, and the status: are you done with the task, or still working on it. You can mention if you encountered any problems or if you need any help from the team. Then talk about what you are going to work on later on today. If you don’t have any idea about that, ask the team if they need any help. And most of all, RELAX! You are just talking to your team, you don’t have to be stressed or under pressure. Be yourself and chill out.
What to do if you’re not ready
If you didn’t prepare for the meeting, no worries, it happens. Try to remember what you did, if you don’t have a lot to say, try to ask questions about problems you encountered. Explain the problem, how you tried to solve it and ask for advice. Usually, developers are really supportive, they will do their best to help. You need to show that you are involved, it might not be your day, you have a lot on your plate and couldn’t get prepared. Nevertheless, you are still a good element of the team. Above all, be honest, you can tell them it’s not your day, you didn’t do much because you got stuck on this and that.
Careful! Things not to do
One very important piece of advice: don’t lie! It won’t help you on the job to use lies to show that you are a hard worker. More so if it is based on lies. Also, don’t overestimate what you could do. When you talk about what you are going to do next in the day don’t say I’m going to “try” doing this. We don’t try. We do. So if you think you’re not going to make it, lower your objective into something you are sure you can do. Or specify that you are going to start working on this task, and you may need the help of a colleague because it’s not a topic you are comfortable with.
I will summarize below the Do and Don’t, hoping this could benefit you.
|Prepare a sticky note with bullet points|
|List the tasks you worked on and their status (Done, WIP, Paused…)|
|Explain your issues and ask for advice/help|
|Tell what you are planning to do next|
|Set clear and reachable goals|
|Offer your help if you are free|
|Give too many details about what you did|
|Overestimate your capacities|
|Say “I’m going to try doing this”|
Now you have some keys to help you handle a daily stand-up. Follow these steps and don’t forget to have fun!