We know what our teammates are doing.
I have a special antipathy for status meetings. You know—a manager reads a list of tasks and asks about each one in turn. They seem to go on forever, although my part in them is typically only five minutes. I learn something new in perhaps 10 of the other minutes. The remaining 45 minutes are pure waste.
There’s a good reason that organizations hold status meetings: people need to know what’s going on. XP projects have a more effective mechanism: informative workspaces and the daily stand-up meeting.
A stand-up meeting is very simple. At a pre-set time every day, the whole team stands in a circle. One at a time, each person briefly describes new information that the team should know.
I prefer to stand in an empty area of the team room rather than around a table—it feels a little more friendly that way. If you have room near the planning boards, that’s a particularly good spot for the stand-up.
Some teams use a formal variant of the stand-up called the Daily Scrum [Schwaber & Beedle]. It comes from an agile process also called Scrum. In the Daily Scrum, participants specifically answer three questions:
What did I do yesterday?
What will I do today?
What problems are preventing me from making progress?
I prefer a more informal approach, but both styles are valid. Try both and use whichever approach works best for you.
Don’t wait for the stand-up ...