by Liz Sedley

Recommended Reading

Agile Team Review (part 2)


Daily Standup Meetings

Don’t limit what can be said, and who can say it, in the standup meeting. Project managers should also be allowed to speak and spread useful information to the team.

A smaller team would allow ‘useful stuff’ to be discussed in the scrum, not just project status. The developers should say exactly what they are working on. The daily scrum is primarily for the developers to share knowledge and ask for help, and not for project managers to track progress.

Branching Strategy

A common branching strategy is ‘stable trunk’, where all releases are done from the trunk, and all development is done in a branch. When a branch is finished and tested, then it is merged to trunk, and all outstanding branches bring in the new trunk code.

This works best when you don’t have too many live branches at once. Make everything which needs to be able to be released separately a separate branch.


In a lot of companies, testing is a critical resource. One way to get better use out of their time is for them to write a quick checklist which the developers must ensure the story passes before they will test it.

A lot of bugs will be found in only a few minutes of testing, so getting the tester to spend just five minutes testing a story before she does a full test is often useful.

If informal acceptance testing (again five minutes worth) can be done by the customer earlier, that will also help, as the sooner a bug is found the quicker it is to fix.


It is best to minimize interruptions to developers, as programming requires deep concentration and many variables in your short time memory. If they are lost, it takes a long time for developers to get back to where they were.

Non urgent questions should wait to the daily standup. Also email, msn, skype etc are very disturbing. If possible have these turned off. Email can then be checked once or twice a day.

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