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May 19, 2013

Stand-up: Party Meter

Party meter has many other names to it like Ice-cream meter, Sandwich meter, Snacks meter etc. It is a dashboard that displays the team members names in the first-column. And the number of times each member has defaulted or has broken the ground rules for stand-up, is logged as bars against their name in the second-column.

This defaulting count is logged for a specific duration of time (say, a sprint or two), or for a specific total count of defaulting bars (say, 10,20,25, etc). Once the specific time duration or total count is reached, the team celebrates with a party - call it a team outing or get-together for snacks/ice-creams/beer/whatever. The resulting expenses is shared by the defaulters in proportion to the number of bars against their name.

This is yet another gaming technique of bringing in discipline or order in the team.

Party-meter

A sample of how the ground rules for Party-Meter looks like can be read below:

  • Not being punctual to stand-up, invites a bar.
  • Absenting oneself from stand-up without sufficient and reasonable prior notice, invites a bar.
  • Forgetting to mention or wrongly mention the pair's name with whom the person worked invites a bar.
  • Deviating from the consensual update template, invites a bar.
  • Forgetting to mention a done task, invites a bar.
  • Forgetting to update the physical story wall and/or Project Management Tool, before the stand-up begins, invites a bar. For instance, if I've played a story and completed it, but have missed moving the story-card from one lane to another, say from Development-In-Progress lane to Development_Complete lane, and this is caught during the stand-up, then I and my pair with whom I worked would get a bar against each of our name in the pairing meter.

Note: Each of the above ground-rule should be set in consensus with every team member, that way every-one becomes accountable and committed.

 

Some common concerns

1. Its a costly affair, right?
It depends on what the team accepts on the party to be like. The key is not to punish anyone here, but still make them face a little penalty for defaulting. Let the team decide on the items that they can purchase, say, at the end of each sprint? Do the math to see how the cost will turn out to be, and decide on the items accordingly. The key is it should not be too costly or too cheap and mostly the team agrees to  it ;)

2. Who'll take responsibility to log the defaulters?
Do not impose it on one person as much as possible. Understand that this is a game, and play it as a game. Let one of the team members at random, do the service of logging the defaulters at the end of the stand-up. That should do good.

Okay, so let the party begin... ;)