The Daily Stand-Up – You Are Doing It Wrong

What Everyone Is Doing

Most Scrum Teams that I know of are really missing the purpose of the daily stand-up.  It is treated as a status meeting that is used to provide some form of a status report to management usually via the scrum-master.  Afterall if management does not get a status report how will they know people are working.  The format is something like “This is what I did yesterday, This is what I plan to do today and I do not have any impediments”.  Further, if there are any impediments the daily stand-up is used to convey these to the Product Owner and Scrum-Master

What It Should Be

According to the Scrum Guide, the purpose of the daily stand-up is for the development team to plan how to accomplish the sprint goal.  In fact attendance by the Product Owner and Scrum Master is not required.  Therefore this should be a 15 minute, time-boxed, planning session on how to best go about getting the items that the team committed to completed by the end of the sprint.

An impediment is really only something that cannot be resolved within the team.  If a team member is struggling with any part of what they are working on they should ask for help from other team members.  The team working together to advance toward a goal is inherent in the phrase Scrum Team.  If you do not know where it came from, look up some videos online about rugby teams and their scrum (or scrummage) and you will get an understanding of why this name was selected and how it stresses that the team should function as a team.

A true impediment should be raised with the Product Owner and/or Scrum Master as soon as the impediment is realized.  Do not wait for the next daily stand-up.

How To Fix The Stand-Up

There are two paths to take.  First of all, if other parts of the organization are demanding status reports then the Product Owner needs to find a way to provide that status.  Keep in mind much of “status reports” are legacy business process left over from before Scrum was implemented.  Look for ways to move the rest of the organization into the Scrum/Agile mindset.  Stop asking for a status report as part of the stand-up and start asking about plans for success.

Second, try having the Product Owner and Scrum Master NOT attend the daily stand-up for a week

Bad User Experience – Account Login Help

The best practices for users having trouble logging in are fairly well defined so it continues to amaze me how bad some sites actually handle this.  Not providing a way to self-serve account login problems is simply a bad user experience.  Let me give you two examples I personally ran across recently.  I will not reveal the names of the websites to protect the guilty.  The whole concept of authentication is a balance between preventing unauthorized access and not making it too hard for legitimate users to gain access.  Many times users will go months if not years without entering login information.  This can be due to the information being save in a browser/password manager or the user not visiting the website.  So a method to get help with forgotten login information is critical.

Username Retrieval Bad User Experience

One bad user experience was for a loyalty rewards program that I signed up for at a place of business.  I later tried to log in but I did not know my username since I had signed up with my e-mail address.  So I clicked on the “forgot username” link and was taken to a page where I’m was prompted for my e-mail address and my password.  I did not know the password and without the correct password, I could not retrieve my username.  Loyalty rewards programs are hard enough to get people to use but making it hard to recover your login information is not going to help.  Ironically I brought this up when I visited the business in person and 4 people in customer service all said the website is bad.  Which begs the question as to why nothing has been done about it?

Interestingly I could reset my password by entering my e-mail address which sent me a password reset link.  Once I reset my password I could then use the new password and my e-mail address to get my username.  In this case, adding the password to the username retrieval added no additional security.  If I have access to the e-mail address I can reset the password, so asking for the password to get the username was not needed.  Just send the username to my e-mail address since the username is tied to an e-mail address.

Password Reset Bad User Experience

I am currently between jobs and therefore I am submitting applications online for new opportunities.  I have been surprised and how bad the user experience at some of these job application sites.  Many of them are a 3rd party company that “specializes” in handling the job posting and application process, that literally is the business they are in and yet they have a very poor user experience.  The jobs I applied for were with Fortune 100 companies, so I’m sure they were paying well for this service.

In my case I had applied for a job previously, so my e-mail address was already attached to an account.  However, since it had been several years I did not remember the password.  Selecting forgot my password link prompted me for my e-mail address, which I entered.  To my surprise, I was not sent a password reset link in my e-mail.  Instead, I was sent my 3 security questions to answer, in an e-mail.  Of course, I did not remember what I put down for my favorite restaurant 3 years earlier so I could not reset my password.  Therefore I contacted support and was informed that they could not reset my password or e-mail me a reset link.  The recommended solution was to apply for the job by creating a new account with a different e-mail address.

This is a staggeringly bad user experience and workflow design.  Since the account is based on the e-mail address, me having access to the e-mail account proves it is me.  Also not having any way for support to help users reset their account password shows a further lack of good user experience.  Additionally, the answering of questions is an out-dated method of establishing identity and is not considered a best practice.

Website – The New Face of Business

For many people, a companies website and the workflows in it are the public face of the company.  Having a poor user experience reflect poorly on the company.  It will prompt users to look elsewhere if they have a bad experience.  After all the money a company spends on building a website, it is a shame when it encourages users to look and see if there is somewhere else they can do business.

The Role of Platform Manager

In the digital world, these problems can be avoided, or at least found and corrected with a good Platform Manager.  This is the person who will take responsibility to make sure users have a good expierence when interacting with your companies website or mobil app.

Scanning Your Photo Archive

Since I went to digital photography almost 20 years ago I’ve found that I look at the pictures that are on the computer far more than the prints I have.  Therefore I’ve wanted to scan my old photo collection for several years now.  I knew that wanted to scan from negative where possible, but dedicated film scanners have been very expensive and the flatbeds that claim to scan negatives got very poor reviews.

The Scanner

That changed this year when I discovered the Epson V600 photo scanner.  The big difference is that there is a light in the lid that shines through the negative during scanning providing enough light through the film to do a proper scan.  Also with a flatbed, I can scan pictures that I only have the print of, mainly old family photos.  And best of all the price is just over $200.

My Goals

It is important to note that I am not disposing of my source material after I scan them.  If I ever want an enlargement made I will be going back to the negative and taking it to a professional facility.  My primary goal is to make my print picture collection more accessible and something I look at more often.  For viewing on a screen or making normal size prints this unit produces exactly what I am looking for.  So I’ve started digging through un-organized boxes of pictures and doing some scanning.  This identified another problem I need to solve, how to organize my digital life so I can actually find a picture that I’m looking for.  I have to do some more research in this area, but I’m thinking tagging will do it.

Why Scan From Negatives

There are 2 main reasons, first it is almost always best to go back to the original source material.  Second, the aspect ration of the print media rarely matches the film, so the film has more image than makes in on the print.  That means there are parts of the image that you are not seeing in the prints that will show up on the negative scan.