How solutionising in your standup burns time you dont want to waste

This will be a very short blog.

I have been to tonnes of standups…….. tonnes……, and its not uncommon to observe a lot of solutionising.

You might also call it tunnelling; its when two people quickly dissappear down a tunnel of thought around an issue and rapidly lose the group.  You will know its happening when other people start to lean, drift, sit down, check their phones etc….

The issue might be important, and it might not be, but developers are often tunnelers by nature.  They dont like problems, they want to solve them. You can’t hold that against them, and you dont want to be constantly shouting “take it offline” else the standup’s usefulness will be a bit too regimented and people might think you are a being a bit of a militant pain.

So dev leads, standup leaders, scrum masters, agile coaches, heres a reminder for you:  If you have a 20 (overly large) person stand up, for every 3 mins you spend solutionising, thats a whole hour of development effort.  In fact in this case, if you spend (God forbid) 20 mins solutionising on various topics, with 20 people you’ve just burned the best part of a day.  Is a day worth it just to solve a problem thats far smaller than a day? No!  Of course not.

The best thing to do in these situations is take the topic off line, with an agreement that the related parties will (pardon the expression) “get a room”!!

Of course the time burned depends on the size of the group.  In many projects every hour counts, so I have written a little table to highlight time burned by solutionising.

(I was going to say time wasted but I think projects burn time whether its wasted or not depends on the outcome)

I hope you find it helpful.

Group time Solutionising 30 secs 1 min 2 mins 5 mins 10 mins 20 mins 30 mins
with 5 people 2.5 mins 5 mins 10 mins 25 mins 50 mins 1h 40mins 2.5 hours
with 10 people 5 mins 10 mins 20 mins 40 mins 1h 40mins 3h20mins 5 hours
with 15 people 7.5 mins 15 mins 30 mins 1h 10mins 2h30mins 5h 7.5 hours
with 20 people 10 mins 20 mins 40 mins 1h 40mins 3h20mins 6h40mins 10 h

Oh ..
and a handy standup link for those who want to find out more about standup patters:

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