Revolutionizing Agile With Head Stand-Ups
Are you feeling lightheaded? If your stand-ups are getting a little lengthy, take a look at how you can add an additional element.
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Even in the most vigilant Agile/Scrum teams, there are times when the meetings consume more time than intended. The most complained about meeting in this regard is the stand-up. The stand-up is a daily meeting where the entirety of the team meets, before starting their day, to talk about what they did, what they are going to do and what is blocking them, if anything. As per Scrum guidelines, for normal-sized Agile teams, the suggested duration of this meeting is about 10 minutes and no one should speak longer than a minute. In other words, this meeting should not take more than 10 minutes of your day’s time. Hence the "standing up," so the attendees realize the time being spent physically, causes minor discomfort and that drives them to close the meeting sooner.
Yet people often pitch in to help solve problems stated, interrupt others to suggest re-prioritizing their stories, and express their thoughts on others' work. This is not always a bad thing; at times this quickly identifies someone who can help solve a problem blocking a member, other times it can altogether avoid the longer one-to-one discussions later.
Facing this very problem, we were looking for a solution when we came across the concept of “plank meetings.” What a wonderful thought! It makes the person talking uncomfortable while making them healthy.
Could this be made more effective? Something that makes the speaker slightly more uncomfortable, for a huge physical and Agile gains? Certainly, I say. I am a yoga fan, and highly appreciate the health benefits of the practice. It is only fitting that the best idea to get such results should be a yoga-asana.
There are tons of benefits to the Shirshasana yoga, the head-stand asana, where one stands on the head and keep the body and legs straight up, like a plank but upside down. It is known to direct the blood flow to head and eyes, relieving stress, improving focus, and digestion, while also having the quality we need: making us temporarily uncomfortable! Perfect! There needs to be a rule though, one simple rule.
No one speaks without first assuming Shirshasana form.
One added benefit is that we need no more rules; we need not specify who speaks, when. Particularly because entering this asana and exiting from it is not easy, and it needs practice to perform without any help or support from others. It becomes automatically intuitive, and anyone who wishes to speak has to wait for their turn and help from others. With this simple habit, a team can establish a speaking direction from a starting point and no one would interrupt others. This one change can bring in many benefits:
- First and foremost, stand-up meetings will become short.
- Meetings will be fun.
- Habits of the members will automatically change to be more healthy. It is not advisable to consume food before performing Shirshasana, and hence, the members will also be forced to follow better timings for breakfast.
- This activity of helping each other daily, and getting help from others daily, simulates the team building activities companies spend thousands of dollars on. This simple change will help build teams.
- More people in the company will take interest in this seemingly odd practice of stand-ups spreading awareness about health and yoga across the organization.
Who needs stand-ups when head stand-ups are so rocking!
PS: Reading between the lines is an important skill; for others there is a "/s." There is an even funnier story version of this on my blog. This post is a parody of the strict process-oriented approach of some Agile/Scrum teams that miss the point of Agile in the ceremony of Agile.
Published at DZone with permission of Nikhil Wanpal, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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