If you work in an ‘Agile’ organisation, you’ll be no stranger to the daily standup meeting or daily scrum meeting. You might call it the daily standup, daily Scrum, daily huddle or morning roll-call; regardless, the purpose is to get the team aligned and on the same page for that day.

Depending on experience, you might foster some scepticism about the effectiveness of this daily meeting. Reflecting on the unprecedented changes to global working practices in the last year highlights the potential for a conversation around improving the daily standup in the context of remote working and distributed teams.

The origins of rugby within the scrum process

The Haka ceremony being performed by the All Blacks rugby team (Photo: Shutterstock)
The Haka ceremony being performed by the All Blacks rugby team (Photo: Shutterstock)

Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum, first explored his rugby inspired process at the Easel Corporation. Japanese academics Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka had already referenced rugby in their famous Harvard Business Review article “The New New Product Development Game“, published in 1986. Sutherland continued the rugby theme and referenced the All Blacks rugby team’s Haka ritual when attempting to inspire his first scrum team in 1993. Sutherland wanted to motivate his colleagues with the energy and passion displayed when the New Zealand rugby players performed the Maori warrior dance. Sutherland also wanted to explore how you transfer the traits of the worlds best rugby team and instil them within a group of software developers.

The antecedent of the daily stand up

Sutherland’s team began researching how elite business teams achieved goals. One paper written by James O Coplien was particularly significant. Coplien’s report examined software craftsmanship at the Borland Corporation, specifically the Quattro Pro project for Windows project. The discovery that a team of eight had produced one million lines of code in 31 months was record-breaking. Key to the Borland teams rapid development were daily meetings; problems highlighted by team members were swarmed by the group until fixed.

Sutherland admired the approach but believed the hour-long daily meetings adopted by Borland staff were too long. Observing the key elements needing communicating during the huddle, Sutherland devised three questions and a set of rules.

The birth of the Scrum framework

Jeff Sutherland would find a kindred spirit in software developer and consultant Ken Schwaber. In 1995 they unveiled their formal Scrum framework to the world at the Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages & Applications (OOPSLA) Conference in Austin, Texas.

Today, companies and organisations adhering to agile frameworks incorporate a daily scrum meeting or daily stand up into the working day.

What is the point of a daily scrum meeting?

If you are a Scrum practitioner, then the purpose of a Daily Scrum meeting is to monitor progress towards the Scrum teams Sprint Goal and modify the Sprint Backlog, reflecting any changes regarding unplanned tasks.

In more general Agile terms, you conduct a daily stand up so that team members can synchronise and gain visibility on progress towards the Sprint Goal.

Who should show up at a daily scrum meeting?

The more pertinent question should be; who is allowed to participate at a daily scrum meeting? Scrum is very clear that the daily scrum meeting is a meeting for the development team. It’s the responsibility of the Scrum Master to organise the meeting. However, be warned, the meeting should not be run as a status update for the Scrum Master, Product Owner or Line Manager. Development team members should be sharing information on a peer-to-peer basis at the daily Scrum.

Can anyone outside the development team attend? Non-team members can observe but not participate in the daily Scrum. If your head of marketing wants to catch up on the engineering team’s progress on a new product, they can, but they can’t participate as a team member in daily standups. Remember, this is not a status meeting for senior management.

Where and when is the best time to hold a standup meeting?

The conventional pattern for a successful daily standup advocates starting at the same time each day, in the same place. The meeting should take place in front of the task board. Many practitioners advocate a morning team meeting, making sense if everyone works in the same location and has similar working hours. However, in recent years, the rise of remote working has challenged established practice, and some companies have successfully introduced alternative patterns.

How long should a standup meeting last?

Scrum uses a practice called timeboxing. Timeboxing works by defining a set, maximum time limit for activities. The objective of timeboxing is to restrict the time spent on activities, reduce waste, and become more time-efficient.

The daily Scrum meeting is timeboxed for 15 minutes each day and allows the team to plan for the upcoming 24 hour period. Discussions should be short and concise, and team members should not use standups to solve sprint impediments. Blockers and impediments should be resolved outside the scrum meeting.

Do I really have to stand up at the daily standup?

It depends on the culture and leadership of your organisation. Opinions vary. The idea of standing up was originally meant to combat overly long meetings. If you’re not sat in a comfy chair, you’re more likely to want to keep things short and to the point. Does it work? It does depend on who you ask. Certainly, the rise of remote working and advances in technology make the ritual seem ridiculous. Is requesting team members to stand up during a virtual scrum meeting a reasonable expectation? We’ll let you decide. Our best advice is to adopt practices that fit your organisation’s culture.

The three questions of the daily meeting

Historically, a scrum team member or anyone practising Agile would have to answer three questions at the daily standup:

  • What did I do yesterday?
  • What am I doing today?
  • What are my impediments?

These questions allow the team to see what work has been completed and what tasks remain to achieve the sprint goal. It also highlights impediments or blockers obstructing progress towards the sprint goal. This daily update on obstacles allows team members to offer help and overcome problems with greater speed.

However, things may be changing. In the 2017 version of the Scrum Guide, these three questions are categorised as being an optional part of the daily scrum meeting. In the 2020 version of the Scrum Guide, the three questions aren’t even mentioned. What gives? Well, co-author of the Scrum Guide, Dr Jeff Sutherland, has stated that he’s trying to create a less prescriptive Daily Scrum meeting.

The future of the daily standup

The daily scrum meeting is evolving, and the creators of Scrum are determined to answer the critics and make it less prescriptive. The workplace is also changing, and agile practices must embrace advances in workplace technology and the rapid adoption of remote working.

One development in the evolution of the daily standup is the introduction of an asynchronous daily standup. This approach attempts to tackle several problems using technology. Coordinating team members in different time zones or working from home can be difficult. However, this is becoming increasingly common as work practice. How does a team observe the guidance on having a daily scrum meeting or standup simultaneously and the same place each day? It’s just not practical in specific scenarios.

An asynchronous daily standup is conducted over a more extended period of the working day. Team members answer standup questions via a Slack bot or collaboration software. This form of standup can be more convenient and, more importantly, results are recorded and knowledge shared with anyone interested in sprint goal progress. Are there any drawbacks? Yes, blockers can be harder to manage. A face to face meeting can be much more direct in dealing with impediments.

Whatever your flavour of Agile, the daily standup is changing.

Elite are experts in project management training. We train Agile practitioners worldwide, and in 2020 Elite was awarded Sole Supplier status to the Scottish Government for Project and Programme Management learning. Do you want to upskill or refresh your Agile knowledge? Browse our Agile course portfolio.  Alternatively, if you’d rather speak to a training consultant, call us on 0141 222 2227.

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Prince2 Re Registration: Prince2 Renewal in 2022

When did you become a registered PRINCE2 Practitioner? Not sure? Just try and remember when you passed the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam. It does matter. Especially if you want your CV or LinkedIn profile to accurately reflect your learning and, more importantly, appear current on the Axelos Successful Candidates Register. In fact, you can use the Successful Candidates Register on the Axelos website if you don't quite remember when you last sat your PRINCE2 Practitioner exam. If your PRINCE2 accreditation has lapsed, you should investigate PRINCE2 Practitioner renewal.

Do PRINCE2 project management certifications expire?

The good news is that both the PRINCE2 Foundation level certificate and the PRINCE2 Practitioner level certificate never expire. So, if you've passed either exam, no one can take the certification away from you. However, the devil is in the detail, or semantics. Whilst your certification can never expire, your PRINCE2 Practitioner registration can lapse. If your registration has lapsed, then you can no longer claim to be a PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner. This can actually be quite important, especially if you're looking for a new project management job, trying to secure a promotion, or you're a contractor wanting to appear current with the latest best practice. Your motivation could just be to keep the momentum going with your own continuing professional development (CPD). Remember, this distinction only applies to PRINCE2 Practitioner level registration. If you have only achieved PRINCE2 Foundation level certification, you cannot describe yourself as a Registered PRINCE2 Practitioner.

How can I check my PRINCE2 Practitioner expiration date?

When you pass your PRINCE2 exam, you should receive an eCertificate from Axelos in the form of a PDF document. This document will display the date you passed your exam and achieved practitioner status. If you have misplaced your PRINCE2 eCertificate, then you can also check the Successful Candidates Register. The register is a public record of delegates who have successfully passed PRINCE2, ITIL, MSP, and other Axelos accredited exams. However, the register is an opt-in scheme for course delegates, so you wouldn't be listed if you didn't agree to appear on the register.

I can't find my certificate, and I'm not listed on the Axelos register.

Candidates would not appear on the Axelos register who opted out of the scheme when sitting the Practitioner exam. Candidates who sat the exam with PeopleCert after 1 January 2018, need to get in touch with them

A candidate who sat the practitioner exam before 2018, would not have used PeopleCert but a different Examination Institute. In this case, you should email Axelos to find out more about your Practitioner status.

Renaming PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Editions

To avoid confusion, you should also be aware that Axelos rebranded PRINCE2 in January 2020. So, it's no longer PRINCE2 2017 but PRINCE2 6th Edition. Likewise, PRINCE2 2009 has been renamed PRINCE2 5th Edition. Don't worry; the course materials and exam format have remained unchanged. The content of the PRINCE2 manual will remain the same and all PRINCE2 2017 certifications remain valid.

So remember, when investigating PRINCE2 re registration, or renewal, use the correct certification terminology. It's also a good idea to update your CV to reflect these recent changes.

Is there a PRINCE2 re registration examination?

No, there is no longer a separate PRINCE2 re registration exam. Previously, with PRINCE2 2009, now PRINCE2 5th edition, a lapsed practitioner would have to sit a PRINCE2 Practitioner re registration exam to regain Practitioner status. Practitioner status expired after 5 years. The re registration exam was less rigourous than the practitioner exam. A candidate considering re registration examination would only have to sit 3 questions and complete the exam within one hour. Someone sitting the practitioner exam would have to answer 8 questions within two-and-half hours. However, the pass mark in both exams was the same, 55%, 17 marks from 30 in the re registration exam and 44 marks from 80 in the Practitioners exam..

PRINCE2 re registration has now changed, and PRINCE2 practitioners have to choose between two different methods for maintaining PRINCE2 Practitioner status.

How to maintain PRINCE2 status in 2021

The requirements for maintaining your PRINCE2 project management credentials have changed since the introduction of PRINCE2 6th Edition in 2017. When you obtain PRINCE2 6th Edition Practitioner status, you have 3 years until you have to renew. The re registration exam is no longer required, and maintaining practitioner certification relies on two different paths; re-sitting the practitioner examination or purchasing an annual subscription to MyPrince2 an Axelos membership scheme .

Choosing the Practitioner examination path is exactly as it sounds; you re-sit the two-and-half-hour exam and answer 68 multiple-choice questions. It's an open-book exam, so you are allowed to refer to the PRINCE2 manual. If you achieve the required pass mark of 55%, or 38 of the 68 marks available, you'll receive a shiny new practitioner certificate.

We already know you don't need to bother with a re registration exam anymore. In a departure from previous requirements you can also opt out of re-taking the PRINCE2 Practioner examination. Instead you can subscribe to a My PRINCE2 membership. This approach favours the path of continuing professional development and by choosing this option you are committed to earning 20 CPD points each year. However, if you do choose the Axelos membership option you need to sign-up to the scheme within 3 months of passing your PRINCE2 Practitioner exam.

What are CPD Points?

CPD points, units and credits are usually interchangeable. Typically one CPD point will be equal to one hour of active learning. This means if you want to choose the membership route in maintaining your Practitioner status then you have to evidence twenty hours of active learning in your CPD portfolio each year.

Moving on from re registration

Maintaining PRINCE2 certification is arguably more flexible than ever. Although the now redundant re registration exam was less demanding, candidates now have the option of maintaining certification through the continuing professional development option.

Regardless of your situation Elite would be glad to provide advice on the best way forward if you are considering PRINCE2 Practitioner renewal. Our expertise in PRINCE2 spans decades, we run PRINCE2 courses all over the world and in 2020 Elite were awarded Sole Supplier status to the Scottish Government for Project and Programme Management learning.

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