The standup monologue “What I did yesterday, what I’m doing today, am I blocked” is inefficient and sucks up valuable collaboration time. Here’s a metrics-based alternative.

Point #1: Save time with a well-configured ticket tracker.

Verbally listing one’s accomplishments … well then, clearly the longer you’ve talked, the more you’ve accomplished, right?

Eliminate the whole schtick and invest in your ticket tracker instead. Make your ticket workflow smooth and intuitive. Track and point every non-trivial task, then sit back, say nothing about your accomplishments and let the tracker speak for you. I’m not a huge fan of Jira, but it can be done. A few hours each quarter in maintenance should be all you need, and it will pay off in developer days of time and energy saved.

Point #2: We met, it was awkward

So hold on, we’ve just cleared out about 75% of the time used in a standup. What are we going to do with ourselves?

Well, first of all, have shorter standups !

Second – since everybody’s together. Who has questions? Who is stuck? What information to we need to collaborate on that isn’t handled well by tickets and process? What problems have we not considered?

Creativity requires a certain amount of space and headroom for new ideas to breathe and settle. Use your newfound time to slow and think creatively.

Wait you say, isn’t this what standups are supposed to be ? Yessssss … oh yes.

Point #3: Measure velocity all the time

Now that we’re relying on the ticket tracker and putting points on everything, and relying on the accuracy of those points to demostrate our work … we are building that all-importing metric of velocity. It takes time and effort to build a reliable velocity metric. You’ve now set yourself up to do most of that work as a matter of course.

As the great basketball coach Doug Collins says, you are your habits. Develop the habit of running all your work through a well-configured ticket tracker.

Point #4: Shift the conversation from guesses to metrics

After a few months, you have some confidence in a velocity metric, and you have better estimating skills because there’s more skin in the game for the individual developer.

Now at the standups, your project manager can open up the ticket tracker and look at the metric trends:

  • story points outstanding
  • developer story points available
  • testing points pending and available

The same questions get asked: are we going to ship on time ? How are we doing with feature X ? Is feature Y tested ? But now – you have numbers instead of feelings and supposition, numbers based on precedent and experience and good estimating habits.

And you saved a ton of wasted standup time to boot.

You are your habits !