Calling Bologna!

The title may sound obscure, but its actually something our scrum team recently implemented.  Using a keyword to designate that the scrum was turning towards status-meeting or small meetings are taking place.  This team is new and has limited or no experience working together, and most of them have not worked under Scrum process management, so there is an overal team learning curve that is ongoing.

Daily stand-up meetings are designed to answer 3 questions: what did you do yesterday, what are you going to do today, and do you have any obstacles in your way?  A good indicator that your daily meeting is not following the quick path to conclusion is when somebody actually asks a question.  Usually, this shouldn’t happen, although is permissible depending on the context.

We were having issues with daily stand-ups getting way out of hand and conversations between 2 or 3 people (of a 10 person team) taking up 10–15 minutes of time, while the rest of us just sat around waiting for them to finish.  After several comments by multiple team members, we have now decided that we would implement a keyword that anyone can shout out at any time they think the daily stand-up is getting off course.

Bologna!  I wanted to go with bullshit, but bologna was the 2nd thing that came to my mind and the rest of the team seemed to be ok with that word.  What’s great about the new warning signal, is that when somebody gets off track and doesn’t notice, somebody cries Bologna! and they instantly realize “Yeah, I was getting away from the purpose.”  Its a great tactic and is serving us well in the first week of implementation.  Its still being said every day, but I think we’ll move to point where it may come up once or twice a week at most.

Also, after spending a day with Pete Behrens and another day with David Hussman, I took Pete’s advice and went ahead and went to Mike Cohn, an awesome teacher, and did my scrum master certification.  3rd time in 5 years I’ve been through a scrum course and I just keep learning every time.  If you are looking into it, I’d definately recommend Pete or Mike either one.  David isn’t a CST that I am aware of, but awesome, awesome agile trainer.

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4 Responses to Calling Bologna!

  1. Bil Simser says:

    When our team goes awry, I unleash the Scrum Witch on them!

    http://weblogs.asp.net/bsimser/archive/2007/03/28/introducing-the-scrum-witch.aspx

    She lets out a wail that’s pretty loud and obnoxious and doesn’t let anyone speak for about 15 seconds. It really quiets the room down and people get back into the game once it’s over.

    Works like a charm.

  2. Cos Callis says:

    Bologna is the perfect word for this, everybody wants to enjoy the benefits, nobody wants to see it getting made.

  3. John Papa says:

    Good idea.

    I worked at a place briefly where the a few members of the team just loved to hear themselves talk. They were asked to hold the meeting down to once a week yet they would hold meetings for several hours a day to discuss the same topics. I never before had a met a team of developers who wanted to meet so much. I felt like I was in bizzaro world. It was mind numbing.

  4. Ryan says:

    My team just says, “Hey, you should take that offline” when people start to cross-talk. Anyone can say it to anyone and it’s universally respected.

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