Standups - Why I prefer to walk the board

Tim Morton bio photo By Tim Morton

Standups - loved, hated, and much discussed. Like most processes, standup format is a sidenote. A healthy team can make any format work, and an unhealthy team won’t be saved by process.

But I do think that “walking the board” helps to reinforce the right values and build a healthier team. In this format, we skip the around-the-circle summaries, and discuss each item on the team board.

The standup is not a status meeting. It is not where we justify our salaries to our managers. (This is part of the team’s collective responsibility - but not daily, and not in standup.)

The standup is also not family dinner. We don’t go around the circle to discover fun things about each others’ day. (Family dinner is awesome. Family dinner is essential, in one form or another, and we might do it in our daily meeting - but it’s not the core of standup.)

So standup isn’t about people - it’s about the team, and its goals and responsibilities. The question to answer is “how should we spend the next workday?” Like a chessboard, the team board should capture the current “state of play” - all the work recently done, in progress, and next up. So let’s put it at the center of our daily conversation, and talk about how to move the team forward together.