Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: John Katrick, Liz McMillan, LeanTaaS Blog, Progress Blog, Derek Weeks

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing

@DevOpsSummit: Article

Why the Daily Standup Matters By @Rex_Morrow | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps

Defeating resistance to the daily standup

I'm not a big fan of meetings.  I particularly dislike useless meetings - those of the ‘dog and pony show' persuasion, or those where it seems like the individual who organized the meeting is simply looking for a soapbox to drone on and on endlessly rather than try to get anything useful accomplished.  This is not to say that I don't think meetings have their place - they do.  But I think there's an art to holding valuable meetings, and that that art is not something generally known or well understood.

To begin with, every meeting should have a clearly defined purpose - a reason for why the meeting is being held.  As an officer in the Army, I worked for several years in the operations shop of a battalion, responsible for planning, coordinating and resourcing the training and operations of five subordinate companies.  I worked for this major we called The Shark who taught us staff captains the art of holding meetings. The Shark was a no frills, hard-nosed warfighter - we called him The Shark because he would occasionally, without any advance warning, ‘swim' into the operations shop and ‘eat' a young, unsuspecting captain.  He ate a lot of captains during meetings as well - getting publicly grilled by him in front of your peers and superiors is what we used to call a ‘significant emotional event.'

When a captain would schedule a meeting, the first thing The Shark would do when he walked into the room was bellow, "What's the purpose of this meeting?!?" Any waffling on the captain's part would lead to his getting eaten, followed by The Shark storming out of the room.  We learned very quickly, via something psychologists call ‘negative reinforcement,' how to hold purposeful meetings.  It sounds abusive, but you have to remember that we lived in a warrior culture. How could we expect to be able to do things like clear Al Qaeda scoundrels from Baqubah (which we did in fact do in 2007) if we couldn't even get a freakin' meeting right? The Shark was hardening us, making us better and more capable, more efficient with our communication, more respectful of peoples' time, more purpose driven. We were lucky to have him.

A lot of technical folks moving to Agile development complain about the daily standup, or try to undermine it, or try to get rid of it. They, like me, don't like meetings at all. This is the topic of an article by Mark Levison this week on the Agile Pain Relief blog. Some of the excuses Levison has heard regarding the daily standup are things like "Daily Scrum? It's a waste of time and interrupts my work," or, "Daily Scrum is just a chance for the ScrumMaster to show up and micromanage," or, "Daily Scrum is for reporting status, but I could do that in an email."  Topping the heaping pile of these excuses was an email that Levison recently received, which is what prompted the article, where someone wrote to him that his team was so fed up with daily standups that they ‘automated' the meeting via a SaaS tool they created. The reasons stated for foregoing daily standups in favor of creating and maintaining a new software tool included "they took a lot of time, de-focused our colleagues and interrupted their workflows."

As I said, I'm not a big fan of meetings, but something seems amiss to me here.  I'm actually a really big fan of the daily standup meeting. As a marketer I try to attend our engineering team's daily standup whenever I can, although I must admit that that hasn't been that often as of late. I don't intend to speak, just listen to what's going on in engineering.  I like to go because our engineering team holds really useful meetings, and I like to admire their efficiency and usefulness.

The reason I enjoy daily standup, and think that they are important, is because there is a clearly defined purpose - to coordinate the team's efforts within the sprint - and there is a very clear structure to how that is accomplished.  Each person rotates, telling the team what they did yesterday, what they plan to do today, and to discuss impediments that might prevent the team from reaching the sprint goal. That's it - about a minute-and-a-half is all that's required from each person, and then the team is off to the races, confident that they're all headed in the right direction - together.

The other reason I like daily standup is that it mirrors a meeting format we used in the Army called the ‘Battle Update Brief' (BUB), held every 24 hours during a training exercise or while deployed to some country where people are trying to kill you every day.  I found that to be a very useful daily meeting.  It always started off with the intelligence officer giving an update on battlefield conditions and significant enemy activity within the past 24 hours - essentially framing the context for the discussion that followed.  After that, each staff captain and company commander would give an update from his department or company, following exactly the same format as the daily standup.

Why was it useful?  Because knowledge is power. Because any endeavor involving more than one human requires coordination in order to be successful.  Because it's useful to know what's going on to your right and left, so that you have the necessary context for making timely and critical decisions.  Because the battlefield landscape can change drastically overnight, and it's important to remember that the enemy ‘always gets a vote.'

So I don't understand, or commiserate with, all this wailing and gnashing of teeth when it comes to daily standup.  It's one of the most efficient meetings I've ever witnessed.  If your team is complaining that it interrupts their workflows, or takes too long, then you're doing it wrong.  It's as simple as that.  And how can you be expected to deliver high quality software that is valuable to users if you can't even get a freakin' meeting right?

It's enough to make The Shark want to chomp on you all the live long day.

More Stories By Rex Morrow

Rex is the Marketing Director at Datical, a venture-backed software company whose solution, Datical DB, manages and simplifies database schema change management in support of high velocity application releases. Prior to Datical, Rex co-founded Texas Venture Labs, a startup accelerator at the University of Texas, and received his MBA from the McCombs School of Business. Before graduate school, Rex served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, and was awarded two bronze stars during combat deployments in Iraq.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness. For more information, please visit https://www.cedexis.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vivint to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. As a leading smart home technology provider, Vivint offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the United States and Canada. The end result is a smart home solution that sav...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Opsani is the leading provider of deployment automation systems for running and scaling traditional enterprise applications on container infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nirmata will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Nirmata provides a comprehensive platform, for deploying, operating, and optimizing containerized applications across clouds, powered by Kubernetes. Nirmata empowers enterprise DevOps teams by fully automating the complex operations and management of application containers and its underlying ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. Opsani is creating the next generation of automated continuous deployment tools designed specifically for containers. How is continuous deployment different from continuous integration and continuous delivery? CI/CD tools provide build and test. Continuous Deployment is the means by which...