As a PM in banking, I am seeking advice on a tech-side enterprise services product. I am currently working on an early-to-mid-stage product with fewer dependencies.
The engineering team leads daily standups, asking for updates. However, the majority of their work involves scoping, planning, and unblocking potential roadblocks, making it difficult to provide daily updates. It feels awkward to say they have no updates daily, and it feels like they’re losing respect before they even start gaining it.
Keep your inquiries for last. Ask them for some time after the call if you need to meet with them.
Try to address the issues if you find a pattern, such as someone needing more work, someone complaining about too many meetings, someone not understanding what the client or stakeholder needs, etc.
Avoid getting in the team’s way, and refrain from using that time as a platform for your own agenda. The purpose of the daily scrum or meeting is for the team to assess their performance and re-plan in order to finish the work that has already been committed, not to add additional work that will throw the plan off course.
As the product manager, ensure that you are meeting your expectations by monitoring team members’ updates and ensuring they are adhering to your expectations. Check in if they are focusing too much on a simple task, avoiding scope misunderstandings, or creating unnecessary items. Additionally, provide a status update on your current projects and any team passthroughs.
I also practice this. After greetings, I avoid speaking and take notes on any queries so I can follow up later to ask them a question or get more information.
I’m aware that some PMs don’t participate much, if at all, in their team’s stand-up meetings, but I think it’s a missed opportunity.
Product managers at my organization are very unactive during stand-ups. Only taking part when they have something noteworthy to share; it serves more as a progress/pulse check for us. Their approach allows them to focus on their primary responsibilities, such as analyzing market trends and customer feedback, to make informed decisions about the product roadmap. This ensures that they can provide valuable insights and updates during stand-ups, rather than simply repeating information that is already known by the team.
Handling daily standups can indeed be challenging, especially when there are days with little progress to report. Here are some tips to help you navigate this situation and maintain a positive and respectful relationship with the engineering team:
Encourage Transparency and Honesty:
Emphasize that honesty is key during daily standups. Encourage team members to share any roadblocks or challenges they’re facing, even if it means reporting no progress. Reinforce that it’s okay to have days with no updates as long as they’re actively working on their tasks.
Highlight Planning and Preparation:
When team members don’t have updates on their specific tasks, they can still provide value by sharing insights into their planning activities, such as scoping, architecture discussions, or research. This demonstrates that they’re contributing to the project even if they haven’t completed a task.
Discuss Impediments and Roadblocks:
If team members have encountered roadblocks, encourage them to elaborate on the issues, potential solutions, and any help they may need from the team. Discussing and addressing challenges can be as important as reporting progress.
Focus on Weekly Achievements:
Instead of emphasizing daily updates, consider shifting the focus to weekly achievements. During daily standups, team members can briefly discuss their progress over the week and any notable accomplishments. This approach reduces the pressure of providing updates daily.
Rotate Reporting Roles:
Assign different team members to report on behalf of the team during standups on a rotational basis. This can help distribute the reporting burden and give team members more time to prepare for their reporting day.
Adjust Standup Frequency:
Consider reducing the frequency of daily standups to every other day or three times a week. This allows team members more time to have substantial updates and progress to report, making the standups more meaningful.
Acknowledge Team Efforts and Collaboration:
Recognize and commend the team’s efforts, collaboration, and contributions, even on days when specific updates are limited. Reinforce that progress is a collective effort and that each team member’s work is valuable.
Set Realistic Expectations:
Ensure that everyone understands that progress varies from day to day, and it’s normal to have days with minimal updates. Set realistic expectations for reporting progress and focus more on the overall progress and milestones.
By fostering a culture of honesty, collaboration, and acknowledgment of efforts, you can help your team feel more comfortable during standups, even on days when there may be fewer updates to provide.
They should be informed of your projects and your meeting schedule. It fosters mutual respect and understanding. If you’re meeting with a stakeholder, they can have a query for you or feel disconnected from their issues. Let them know and give their EM a chance to extend an invitation. By keeping stakeholders informed about your projects and meeting schedule, you not only demonstrate transparency but also provide them with an opportunity to actively engage and contribute to the decision-making process. This can lead to a stronger sense of collaboration and ensure that their concerns are addressed effectively. Additionally, involving stakeholders in the invitation process through their executive management can help create a more inclusive environment and promote a sense of ownership among all parties involved.
So, if they are merely being polite by asking, be aware of that. Otherwise, participate. Remember that a rendezvous is a planned meeting or gathering, often for a specific purpose or occasion. If you have been invited to join, it indicates that your presence is desired and valued. Embrace the opportunity to engage and contribute to the event, making the most of this chance to connect with others.
On daily standups, I usually have nothing to contribute. Depending on what stage of the delivery cycle you are in, it will vary, but most of the time you are there to watch and provide support. You should only discuss topics that are pertinent to the team. The purpose of daily standups is to keep everyone on the same page and ensure smooth progress. It is important to actively listen and be ready to offer assistance or address any blockers that may arise. Remember, it’s not about talking for the sake of it, but rather about fostering collaboration and teamwork. It is important to remember that daily standups are meant to be brief and focused on the progress and challenges of the team. Therefore, it is perfectly normal to have nothing specific to contribute on certain days. However, if you do have any concerns or updates that are relevant to the team’s goals, it is encouraged to share them during the standup for effective collaboration and problem-solving.
I’ll assume you work in a Scrum environment because you mentioned PM and daily. Check out what the Scrum handbook has to say:
The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.
The Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team. To reduce complexity, it is held at the same time and place every working day of the Sprint. If the Product Owner or Scrum Master are actively working on items in the Sprint Backlog, they participate as Developers.
The Developers can select whatever structure and techniques they want, as long as their Daily Scrum focuses on progress toward the Sprint Goal and produces an actionable plan for the next day of work. […]
So, in contrast to the majority of people here, I actually advise against becoming the PO for the daily. Let the builders handle the planning. Be ready for the other sessions, but resist the urge to attend them daily. Not your meeting, though.
Have a discussion with your team to see whether giving updates on the PM work you are really doing is beneficial and pertinent to them. It’s a decent use of their time, but is it? If so, please give us those updates. In reality, it probably won’t be. Simply convey with them the reasons you’re not posting every pointless update, and be sure to share when you do have a meaningful update.
The trick is to talk about it with them and decide what you should and shouldn’t update them on. This will probably vary among different teams, businesses, industries, etc.
You may benefit your team by listening to them and intervening when they need you to provide assistance, clarification, remove obstacles, or escalate. By actively listening to your team, you can identify their needs and concerns, allowing you to provide timely assistance or clarification when necessary. Additionally, intervening and removing obstacles that hinder their progress can greatly improve their productivity and overall satisfaction. Furthermore, if a situation requires higher-level intervention, don’t hesitate to escalate it to the appropriate authority to ensure smooth workflow and optimal results.
Everyone is missing the mark here, perhaps because no one responding has actually been on the opposing side.
Whether you want to call them status meetings or standups, they are the modern equivalent.
It creates an unbalanced relationship if you are present but aren’t contributing. All the data is consumed, yet you never return anything.
I usually need everyone to give an update if a standup is designed around individual updates. You only need a speaker for the WIP if the standup is organized around the project, otherwise known as walking the board.
@DhirajMehta, That is a fundamentally incorrect interpretation of agile, as nobody should be concerned with the status on a daily basis as long as you produce a useful increment at the conclusion of each sprint. My top team members might add a few tasks to their story, but it is finished at the conclusion of the sprint. Even when interacting with a senior, the underperformers add a task, and they frequently don’t accomplish their assignment by the deadline. As the PO, I let them be and work as a self-managed team because the daily status update is useless in both situations until there is a blocker to remove or we learnt something new while working on it.
It represents a realistic understanding of the standup. I don’t agree with it. I’m saying that many organizations have dealt with this.
Agile is a set of ideas and principles, not a rigid framework. You probably meant to say scrum. But that framework is designed to be changed by the team as necessary. not blindly followed. The flexibility of Agile allows teams to adapt and tailor their processes based on their unique needs and circumstances. It encourages continuous improvement and learning, empowering teams to experiment and find the most effective ways of working. This approach fosters collaboration, innovation, and ultimately leads to better outcomes for the organization.
Though I spoke with them about their interests, I do believe that unbalanced relationships are a problem. They are gathering here. I don’t want to stop it, so I won’t. To promote a more impartial and inclusive debate, it is crucial to address the issue of asymmetrical relationships. We can establish a setting where everyone feels heard and appreciated by acknowledging and talking about this issue. Respectfully discussing the subject is achievable without diverting the meeting’s focus from its main objective.
I believe the strategy is sound. It’s similar to having dinner at a different person’s place. Being a visitor means that you must follow their rules. If doing so requires you to participate in their pre-meal blessing, fine. Respecting the customs and traditions of others is essential in fostering a harmonious environment. By participating in their pre-meal blessing, you not only show your appreciation for their hospitality but also demonstrate cultural sensitivity and open-mindedness. Embracing these differences can lead to meaningful connections and a deeper understanding of diverse perspectives.