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We Cancelled Standups and Let The Team Build. Here’s What Happened..

Julian Colina
September 25, 2020

👋 I'm Julian, the Cofounder of Haystack. We're building dashboards and alerts that plug into Github - helping engineering leaders build happier, healthier, more productive teams.

We wanted to share a quick story on why "we cancelled standups and just let the team build".

It's not as crazy as it sounds so let's dive an and see what happened..

So.. why did we do this?

At first we were doing great

At first the team was moving at (what seemed to be) the speed of light. We were handling issues, fixing bugs, launching features. We even tackled our biggest, nagging pieces of technical debt. Dream come true, right? As a team of technical founders, we patted ourselves on the back for a job well done. It felt like we couldn't be stopped.

But things quickly turned around on us..

Source: Haystack

And we noticed an odd pattern happening daily..

Source: Haystack

We brought this data to the team and uncovered a few issues.. Here are some notes from our retro

So.. What did we do?

We asked for suggestions. Here are the results..

Top Votes: 

  1. Cancel Standup
  2. Work on 'Fun Projects'

Might seem crazy but we like to empower the team to improve themselves.  We take pride in our ability to iterate our process as often as possible.

Plus we've got Haystack to see if our changes are working.

So why not? Let's try it for a week. Revert back if it isn't working out.

We cancelled standup and let the team 'just build'.

We did agree on some ground rules though..

And with those rules in place we were off 💨🚣‍♀️

Without hesitation we kicked off. Very surprised to see how many 'fun projects' the team already had in mind. It didn't take much prompting at all.

And.. We had our most productive week EVER:

We recovered our Throughput!

Source: Haystack

Improved our Cycle Time (reversing the trend)!

Source: Haystack

Got our 'deep work' back.

Source: Haystack

And tackled projects we've wanted to do for MONTHS.

Most Importantly..We DECREASED BURNOUT

It was a HUGE success.

The experiment went better than we could have hoped. By removing standups and letting the team work on new, exciting projects we were able to get out of the funk we found ourselves in. Without skipping a beat our team is refreshed, recovered, and excited.

Does this mean no more stand-ups or roadmaps?

Well.. No. But we are considering it.

We'll continue to experiment until we find the right balance. Today, we do 2-3 in-person standups per week with async standups on Slack the other days. We carefully document our work in Notion everyday and have Weekly Kick-Off meetings every Monday.

The new process is working well so far - plus we have Haystack to help us check-in and make changes if needed.

So.. how often do YOU experiment with process?

The 'right' process is a constantly moving target. What works one day might not work the next. It's important to empower your team to make changes when necessary and improve their day-to-day experience.

If you want to experiment like a mad man(woman) on your process. AGGRESSIVELY enable improvement. Empower your team to improve their own work environment - then come check out Haystack and we'll show you how to implement a culture of continuous improvement.

Either way, hope our story got your wheels turning!

Haystack helps engineering leaders identify blockers and trends. Instead of guessing if you're improving, or constantly bothering your team for progress updates, simply use Haystack to get insights in your inbox every morning. Plus a dashboard to track improvements over time.

Try it for free

Julian Colina
CEO & Cofounder of Haystack.

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