Thursday, November 20, 2008

Don't use a germ ball...

I know about the pattern where scrum groups use a talking token during their standing meeting. It's some random object that is used to signify who is in control of the conversation. If I'm holding it, it's my turn to answer the three questions. If what I say leads to a short conversation, I am responsible for reeling it in and getting the meeting going back around the circle.

Some groups keep it interesting with random rules around the token. Last one in gets it and starts off. We go in different directions each day which is decided by the first person. We can refactor our standing sequence to change order of turn mid-meeting. Some groups pass it to someone in random order to keep everyone on their toes.

This is all good stuff, but do me a favor. Don't make it a germ ball. I've had this happen in two groups now. The token is something everyone touches. The first flu season comes around and suddenly it's the germ ball. It's the reason that everyone is sick at the same time. No amount of anti-bacterial spray can clean that stupid thing, and the talking token doesn't work if everyone is scared to touch it.

In my group, we have a squishy rubber ball. We kick it around. The downside is that it gets disgustingly dirty on the floor. We call it the dirt ball, sometimes the snot bugger ball. BUT, nobody touches it with anything other than their shoes. Nobody gets sick from it.

We even built a house for it out of a shoe box. I'm sure the cleaning crew is confused by the dirtball house with the dirtball at rest at night... but we don't get sick, so it works for us.

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