Reflections on SCSF Iteration 2

During Iteration 2 we made a conscience decision to be more transparent with the community. We in patterns & practices hear a lot of questions on how do you develop software and what are you working on right now for a particular asset.

In response to these requests, we are publishing the SCSF Release 2 Stories and SCSF Release 2 Results on Codeplex as we go. I am also sharing my thoughts on the the past iteration on this blog. I hope that providing this information will give you a better insight into the team and both our successes and failures. I am interested in hearing if these vehicles provide value to you and your team as you evaluate and use the client assets.

Iteration 2 highlights


  • Success criteria: during Iteration 2 Planning we added success criteria to help the team focus on "what good looked like"
  • First weekly drop: the team published its first weekly drop to Codeplex for customer review and feedback

Bad or Ugly

  • Weekly drop painful to get out: publishing our weekly drops seem to be painful to get out. Even as we continue to invest in our build and publishing infrastructure, this seems to take more time than any of us would like
  • Daily stand-ups did not provide visibility into weekly commitment status: As the PM, I did not have a good idea if we were going to make our iterations commitments. After reading "It's Not Just Standing Up: Patterns of Daily Stand-up Meetings", I realized that we need to change the questions we answered in the daily stand-up to:
    • Was I able to fulfill what I committed to?
    • What am I comfortable committing to today?
    • What is obstructing me in meeting my commitments?

It's Not Just Standing Up: Patterns of Daily Stand-up Meetings is a great resource for identifying ways to improve your stand-up meetings. Here are two other quotes that hit home for me:

  • "Daily stand-ups are meetings. Like all meetings, participants have a responsibility to prepare."
  • "Good stand-ups will feel supportive. When people are knocked down every time they raise a problem, they will tend to stop raising problems. Beyond preventing removal of obstacles, a non-supportive stand-up works against team dynamics. The stand-up instead becomes a ritual that team members dread [LaPlante, 2003]."

Do you have similar experiences? Do you have other sources that we can all use to improve our stand-up meetings?

Comments (2)

  1. markmbaker says:


    We use TFS with the Scrum template from  It allows us to track the PBIs and SBIs and it generates nice graphical reports including a burndown chart.  The team churns on the Sprint backlog each day and we review the burndown chart in the Daily Scrum each day.  This helps us keep track of where we are at on a given day and know when we need to get with the Product Owner (Manager) about any slippage.  

    The other thing we do in the Sprint Backlog is to try to keep the tasks themselves to 1-16 hours of work.  This ensures that each day things are completed and keeps us from the "I’m 20% done", "I’m 75% done" and so on discussions.  

    We are a highly distributed team so we have the added challenge of communication but for the Daily’s we use a conference call either via landline or via Skype.  TFS helps us stay glued together both with the status of items and with all of the material that gets generated during a Sprint.  

    Stand ups are a good thing, but having the burndown chart on the monitor while we discuss keeps everyone focused.

    Hope this helps


    Practicing .NET blog, Dr. Dobbs Journal, CMP Media

    Chief R&D, BNA Software

    Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

  2. markmbaker says:

    One other thought is that the 3 Daily Standup questions you cite from that article are also done in Scrum.  Scrum has the team ask them as:

    1.  What did I do/finish yesterday?
    2.  What am I going to do today?

    3.  What are my impediments?

    Additionally, the team addresses each other and not the "boss", the PM, or any other perceived manager.  In fact, these people are supposed to be quiet and not participate.  This forces them to realize that they are reporting to each other.


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