A year and a half ago I talked about how I was running scrum meetings with my team. Since then, we've refined the process but have consistently held scrums on a regular basis. Note that I'm not running a full Scrum system with sprints and product backlogs and such but rather just adopting the scrum meetings from that system. Currently we have a team of 8 test developers. We meet twice a week for 1/2 hour. The format is simple. We go around the room and each person answers three questions:
Doing this helps me keep the pulse of the team and--more importantly--helps the team keep its own pulse. It also encourages the team to act as a team. It is easy in software to put yourself into a silo. You have a task and you disappear into an office for a few weeks to get it done. You might talk to your manager about it, but you don't talk to people outside your dependency list. The disadvantage of this approach is that you don't get help from others. In a scrum meeting, everyone learns what everyone else is doing. If someone has experience in something someone else is struggling with, they offer their assistance. In this way, the team starts supporting itself and the overall output increases.
Along the way, we did things wrong. We learned from our mistakes. Here is at least some of that knowledge: