Philmont - The Daily Standup

Apr 14, 2015 by Matt Dixon


Of all the things in our day to day routine, the one which brought us the greatest potential of success or failure is that of the daily meeting in the morning. We would discuss the route, all have an opportunity to look at the map and verify the route the navigator had mapped out for that day. We also discussed water sources, and when we would fill up, how much water we would pack, and when we could pack light. It was a quick meeting, sometimes less than five minutes, which would allow each team member to get up to speed on the route and be comfortable with the plan for the day.

Why Is this Critical?

The ninety mile journey was new to us. We had a guide only for the first two days of hiking; the rest of the trip we were on our own. At all times, we needed to know where we were, where we came from, and where we were going. At any moment one of the crew members could ask the navigator to show us where we were on the map. Within a few minutes, we all knew our location within about half a mile. When we came to a decision point, our navigators would all take the time to orient the map, make sure they knew where we were on the map, and determine which path we should take. The entire ninety miles, we only made one wrong turn resulting in less than a mile detour. That's quite remarkable, especially when we talked to other crews who were late getting to the next campsite (sometimes several hours) because they made a detour.

The Pattern of Success

Small, incremental wins are how we can achieve large scale victories. It is by the small daily tasks where we succeed or fail. For our Philmont crew, we all needed to work as a single unit; each member of the crew taking care of their own supplies, equipment, food and water. We trusted each other to not make any stupid decisions, and to stick to our plan. If we came to a point where we felt the plan for the day was not going to work out, we each had the responsibility to speak up, ask questions, and propose a different plan.

With this type of collaborative approach, we made it to our destination each day on schedule, and with the least amount of energy expended possible. Maybe that is what the adults’ goal was. The scouts never even looked like they were working at all.

Scrum and the Daily Standup

The foundation of Scrum is the daily standup. Sometimes organizations sole implementation of Scrum is the daily standup. We all know the importance of communicating with our team on a daily basis. If we can determine where we are, where we came from, and how far away we are from our goal, we can achieve success. It is impossible to be successful on a regular basis without this crucial communication within our team. Scrum provides a framework that, if implemented fully, will provide software teams the ability to more regularly achieve success. The truly great teams we have worked with all embraced Scrum.