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We get all team members to attend. Yes, we get them all. Now, of course, you can decide if certain attendees can be excused attendance at the session. An ideal circumstance is that your team members are wholly and completely dedicated to a single unique project role.

However, we realise this is not always the case. Your personnel may be required for important outside contact, sales support or whatever important roles are agreed with your project. Therefore, there are times when your personnel are available or on project and times when they are not available or off project. Other agile methodologies use different (often rather silly) terms for these. We prefer normal names for normal activities.

So, for example, if a test manager attends the daily session and reports back or cascades to the remainder of the testing team, then this may be acceptable. It is not ideal in our view. But sometimes, the volume of people in such a short meeting starts to create challenges. You want a smooth running session and you do not want it to take all morning.

However, you want to make sure that everyone hears the full story of the project, accurately and fully. You want everyones views taken into account. You do not want to miss someones valuable input.

Team members working in subgroups that are working to similar goals and aims may elect a representative to attend and speak on the subgroups behalf as long as a guaranteed cascade takes place to the other team members. The important matter however is that the meeting takes place and is split into two main functions: delivery progress and issues. We will look at how this is subdivided later. Let us assume for now, you have the whole team present.

When do I have my Daily Forum? Patently, you have it every day. In our view, it is best to have the session in the morning. Not very early in the morning, this is not a test to see who can get into work first and it is not a test to see who was out celebrating last night or who got stuck in the snow this morning. You use this session to build cohesion in your team and to promote collaboration amongst the team members. So you will choose a time when team members can attend with ease. We suggest 10:30 AM and suggest you try to keep the meeting to no more than one hour.

What does the Daily Forum look like? First of all, let us make some comments. Not everybody likes to stand for an hour. There is an often deployed mild discomfort technique which is used to entice people to speak for a short time, speak quickly and to get the meeting over. If you wish to use this technique you ask your attendees to stand for the duration of the meeting. In our view, this is not what you want. At the meeting, ask your attendees to stand up, if they want. But this is a Daily Forum where you do not need to necessarily stand up. There will be lots of people who have a different view to this. This is good. We like debate. But we prefer comfortable means to share information not uncomfortably forcing swift comment out of our people.

In the iterative, incremental framework for agile software development called SCRUM, the Daily Forum is also daily and called a daily scrum. There is some contention over whether this has taken its title from the Rugby get-together. Whether or not, you are only able to stand for a very short time in a rugby scrum before all hell lets loose. Comparisons with rugby sport fade again when you consider the length of time for a scrum. We are told that the agile scrum is time boxed at 15 minutes. Rugby scrums barely last for one minute.

Early on in your project, your Daily Forum will take more than 1 hour. In our experience, the meeting time settles down, often to about 30 minutes. That is about ideal. We find that the deployment of Toolkit techniques, the increasing willingness of the team members to get their particular part of the meeting over as well as the gradual tightening of the management of the Daily Forums is the way to get maximum benefit out of the sessions, in the minimum time. It is not achieved by increasing team member discomforts.


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