Stand-up meetings or the developer therapy

Scrum is an agile management framework, that introduces several practices in order to adapt to the inherent complexity and uncertainty of a software development project. A bunch of these practices deal with the communications inside of the development team, including several periodical meetings.

The Daily Scrum or standup meeting takes place each day during an iteration or sprint. The meeting length is timeboxed to 15-minutes length, and each team member (the developers) answers three questions:

1 What have you done since yesterday? 2 What are you planning to do today? 2 Any impediments stopping you from doing it? Traditionally, the purpose of this meeting is to keep an active and ample communication between the developers, and with the Scrum Master. This will facilitate the resolution of the impediments, and the progress of the sprint, thanks to a daily collaboration. However, in my experience as a developer, these daily meetings produce other positive side effects.

First of all, thanks to the global picture of the state of the project that emerges from these meetings, the developer sees her or himself as a part of something bigger and more purposeful. They get a sense of implication and importance that is crucial to keep a good level of motivation. In fact, one of the main sources of lack of motivation (and hence lack of performance), together with inappropriately low salaries and excessive working hours, comes when the developer feels her or himself isolated and is not really sure about the purpose of the project and its progress. Sometimes the very specialized and abstract problems they have to solve make them disconnect from the context in which the solutions to these problems make a relevant contribution.

In this sense, the daily Scrum avoids that, and also gives the developer the necessary feedback to reinforce her or his sense of achievement. Additionally, during these meetings, and the individual meetings afterwards, the feelings of enthusiasm and pessimism are spread across the team. It is the responsibility of the Scrum master to give a realistic optimism to the group, based on objective data and also a good dose of empathy.