In my past projects and recent project we always seem to struggle to keep the stand up meetings focused on the stand up agenda and under the standard 15 minutes. We have tried to implement several constraints intended to help to focus the meeting such as limiting the team size and also time boxing the time each individual has in such a meeting. Although we have made some improvements, it is honestly still a work in progress.
One day Steve Rogalsky, mentioned an interesting idea that he thought had heard elsewhere; we should have our team members submit content via Twitter. The very format would keep the submitter focused on just communicating the minimum information as you only get 140 characters. We then proposed that you could get one tweet for what you did last week, one tweet for what you did this week, and one tweet for any issues you are encountering. I must admit, when Steve suggested this I was very intrigued.
(check out his BLOG if you haven’t already. They contain excellent posts and articles: WinnipegAgilist.)
I did some looking on the internet and I mostly found mentions of Tweet Ups. These Tweet Ups were a take off of the Meet Ups concepts and not really the same type of meetings as we were discussing. These Tweet Ups were in person meetings of people who had communicated mainly via twitter. Definitely a different purpose.
One of the sources I found that described these Tweet Ups was the Social Media Examiner website: www.socialmediaexaminer.com/tag/twitter-meeting/
Since I did not find any mention of a recent post discussing this Twitter Stand Up idea, I thought I would create one.
I did find one tool that leverages twitter to do exactly what we were discussing. (www.grouptweet.com) Group Tweet allows you to set up a new Twitter Project Account that can implement this Twitter Status Reporting. All that is required is that project team members follow the Twitter Project Account and the Twitter Project Account approves that the project team members can follow the Twitter Project Account. Once that is set up, any tweets sent to the Twitter Project Account will be re-distributed to each team member via direct messages. The Twitter Project Account can even be made private so that other Twitter users would not be able to search for the Project Twitter Account and possibly see the tweets. For this type of Twitter Project Accounts, it seems reasonable that they would all be set up as private twitter accounts. Awesome.
The real benefits I see from this type of approach is as follows:
- As we discussed, it will provide the focus on content and brevity that will help to focus the Daily Stand ups.
- This practice can be leveraged for remote teams. In fact, this structure will probably return more value for remote teams as it facilitates that all team members are treated equal and that local team members are not allowed to monopolize the discussions because they are in person.
- The stand ups because of the Twitter usage become self-documenting. This is perhaps one of the most exciting benefits as the meetings don’t require any additional documentation and provide a chronological history of the stand ups. This can be invaluable when we need to refer back to the status of items.
- Pictures, Diagrams, and other content can also be shared via Tweets as part of the status reporting. For example, www.twitpic.com. This can be a very powerful way to share this information and these pictures and diagrams are also self-documented and get integrated into the history of the stand ups