Hey testers, don’t say:

“yesterday I tested a story.  Today I’m going to test another story.  No impediments”

Per Scrum inventor, Jeff Sutherland, daily standups should not be “I did this…”, “I’ll do that…”.  Instead, share things that affect others with an emphasis on impediments.  The team should leave the meeting with a sense of energy and urgency to rally around the solutions of the day.  When the meeting ends, the team should be saying, “Let’s go do this!”.

Here are some helpful things a tester might say in a daily standup:

  • Let’s figure out the repro steps for production Bug40011 today, who can help me?
  • I found three bugs yesterday, please fix the product screen bug first because it is blocking further testing.
  • Sean, I know you’re waiting on my feedback on your new service, I’ll get that too you first thing today.
  • Yesterday I executed all the tests we discussed for Story102, unless someone can think of more, I am done with that testing.  Carl, please drop by to review the results.
  • I’m getting out of memory errors on some test automation, can someone stop by to help?
  • If I had a script to identify data corruption, it would save hours.
  • Paul, I understand data models, I’ll test that for you and let you know something by noon.
  • The QA data seems stale.  Don’t investigate any errors yet.  I’m going to refresh data and retest it today.  I’ll let you know when I’m done.
  • Jolie, if you can answer my question on expected behavior, I can finish testing that Story this afternoon.

Your role as a tester affects so many people. Think about what they might be interested in and where your service might be most valuable today.

8 comments:

  1. srinivas kadiyala said...

    Thanks Jacob, I was thinking about this: What exactly, we need to tell in a stand up meeting.

    But is this same applies for only stand up meeting within the testing team?

  2. Patrick Higgins said...

    Hi Eric, I have to admit I have fallen into the habit of using rather generic plain answers during stand-ups as of late. I've read that stand-ups can build a culture of quality testing for a development team so its definitely something I want to get better at.

    Do you use stand-ups as a time to go into detail of bugs found in testing or do you save that for a one on one meeting with the developer?

  3. Eric Jacobson said...

    Good question Patrick, it depends on what the team agrees to. I'm involved with different project teams so I've seen it both ways.

    My favorite is to request a "post meeting". To make sure everyone has a fair time slot, if someone starts going in depth, someone else can say, "let's discuss it in post". That means after going around the team, we say, "okay, stick around if you want to hear the post discussion".

  4. Eric Jacobson said...

    Hi Srinivas, Scrum Development Teams normally have programmers, testers, and business analysts working as a team. They will have a daily standup meeting as a team.

    On the other hand. A team of testers may also have daily standup meetings with just testers. My company used to do this but we stopped because the testers are spread between various projects. The standup meeting is really supposed to be for people working closely together.

    Did I answer your question?

  5. Anonymous said...

    Actually, stand-up horror story, a member of the team I work in - on a different project from me at the time - ended up actually saying “yesterday I tested a story. Today I’m going to test another story. No impediments” once.

    It was a form of protest over being told the previous day by the project dev lead (also scrum master) that no-one cared about the specifics of the issues he'd found, what he was hoping to do that day and what help he might need - the stand-up apparently wasn't the place for that. At the time it was a symptom of the stand-ups turning into a dev-team discussion of how to get past coding impediments rather than a quick-fire co-ordination of where everyone was and who needed what. As the lone 'pure' tester on the project, and usually last to speak, my colleague found himself being cut off and told to just say - wait for it - I did this, I'll do that. More of a tick-box exercise to say everyone had participated in the stand-up, I think.

    Needless to say my colleague was berated for his knee-jerk literal-but-deliberately-vague interpretation of that instruction.

    Thankfully things have improved since then, but when I heard about that I sat their open-mouthed in disbelief, especially since the same dev lead always talked loudly about the Agile manifesto and the guiding principles of scrum.

  6. Yehuda Miller said...

    I was tossing around the idea with a friend of changing the format from the standard "what did you do yesterday, what are you going to do today, impediments?" to
    a. What were you unable to complete from yesterday's commitment?
    b. Why? What were your blockers?
    c. What is today's commitment?

    Still trying to decide if I even like that or not.

  7. Eric Jacobson said...

    Yehuda, nice twist on the traditional with, "what were you unable to complete...".

    It sure seems like it would emphasize impediments. Does it?

  8. Yehuda Miller said...

    I haven't implemented it yet. Going to ask my team what they think of it at our next retrospective.



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