Every other week the complete vaamo development team gathers and talks. Sometimes we talk about general things like workflow optimizations, other times we do agile-style retrospectives, then again we talk about what comes to our mind. Whatever it is, it must be about how we as a team can improve in our work.

Some time ago I published a recap of one of our internal development team meetings. And now I want to pick up that dropped ball again, and share with you the recap of our most recent team meeting.

We talked about …

Our Daily Standup Meeting

The concern was raised that our Daily’s main question “What did you learn?”, which everyone answers during the meeting, is not really useful. It seems too narrow. In parts it was even perceived that we can only talk about what we learned with regards to our product and/or codebase.

So the question was raised again: What’s the goal of our Daily Standup Meeting?

And the main answer to that was: Get together! In a Campfire-kind-of way.

As we’re a distributed team, and it happens quite often, that several of the HQ-located team members are also working remotely, we want to see each other at least once a day. Because, while gifs are funny and great, they can’t keep up with seeing the laughing face of your colleagues. Also, we want to get a more real sense what everyone is up to, what’s keeping them busy and what’s on their mind.

Based on that, we decided to expand the scope of our “Daily question”, to the following:
“What’s important to you right now? What’s on your mind? What did you learn? Did you achieve something that you want to celebrate with others?”

All of these questions are actually optional. We made it explicit that it’s ok to talk about something completely different if that’s what one wishes to do.

Additionally we keep the practice of everybody writing a more status-like message of what they achieved and worked on since the last Daily, in a specific HipChat room. It helps to keep the pure status-/progress updates out of the meeting. Which is a good thing.

Cognitive Bias of the Month

We were “doing” Cognitive Bias of the Month since January, and wanted to reflect on how the format was working out for us.

Our most recent Cognitive Bias of the Month, which we chose via an anonymous vote, was the Sunk Cost Fallacy.

While we disagreed on what exactly didn’t work out, some stated the Sunk Cost Fallacy didn’t happen often enough in our daily work, while others said that we didn’t talk about the bias often enough, and that this was the reason we didn’t encounter it in our work.

Whatever the real reasons, we all agreed that we didn’t get much out of it. Furthermore we agreed that it’s good to know about our biases and educate ourselves about them, in order to make better decisions and communicate better.

We decided:

  • Give the format one more try.
  • One person chooses a Bias in the hopes that a conscious choice in this case is better then a simple group vote.
  • One person will explicitly try to bring up the topic of the bias more often than before. Simply as a way to get more opportunities to talk about and reflect on the bias.