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Team rhythm

For a lean, balanced team, each week should be peppered with this set of cadences. Maintaining this rhythm promotes speed, collective understanding, unity, and camaraderie.


Team standup

When: 8:06 a.m. ET
Duration: <10 mins. (depends on team size)
Definition: A standup with the members of your engagement team. As the name implies, standups were traditionally done standing, usually in a circle, when teams went into the office every day.
Purpose: To enable the team to discuss accomplishments from the previous day, share any relevant information, ask for help, determine pairs for the day (when applicable), and outline intent for the day (what each team member or pair hopes to accomplish).

Product Manager role

  • Understand and help to mitigate blockers
  • Remind team of any action items/milestones
  • Ensure team members take turns facilitating standup
  • Call time if a topic goes on too long or needs a side conversation (everyone is empowered to do this)


Iteration Planning Meeting (IPM)

When: 9-ish a.m. ET Monday morning
Duration: 1 hr. or less
Definition: A planning and estimation session that allows the team to move forward with the next iteration of work.
Purpose: To bring the balanced team together to review the stories (and any design deliverables associated with them) in the backlog, adjust prioritization as necessary, assign points to prioritized stories, and ensure that there are enough stories to occupy the team for at least the next iteration cycle.

Read more about IPMs

Product Manager role:

  • Read through each prioritized story and walk through any applicable design mocks, ensuring that the user and business value are well understood by all
  • Answer questions and clarify
  • Update or edit stories on-the-fly
  • Re-prioritize based on input from design and development

Stakeholder update

When: Friday
Duration: 30 mins.-1 hr.
Definition: A weekly touch-base with the team’s stakeholders and supporters.
Purpose: To share progress, relate user-validated learnings, provide demos of working software, disclose any blockers or issues that need attention, and convey what the team plans to do next.

Updating stakeholders effectively

Retrospective (Retro)

When: 4 p.m. ET Friday
Duration: 1 hr.
Definition: A team meeting wherein members can write (usually on a whiteboard in three columns) things that went well, things that were confusing, and things that went poorly during the last iteration. A ceremony to officially close out the week.
Purpose: To enable the team to candidly and safely share how things went in the previous iteration. In retro, the team gets a chance to celebrate successes (“happys”), address any questions or points of confusion (“mehs”), and ponder difficulties they may have encountered (“sads”). Sincerely sharing these experiences at the end of each week helps build a sense of camaraderie and trust amongst the team, provides opportunities for improvement for the upcoming week, as well as tying a nice bow on the week's end.

Product Manager role:

  • Share your own experiences sincerely
  • Probe items identified by others to understand the origins of issues
  • If facilitating, capture any Action Items identified
  • Encourage each team member to facilitate in turn

Read more about retrospectives



When: Right before IPM
Duration: 30 mins.-1 hr.
Definition: A preparatory meeting that takes place just prior to IPM.
Purpose: To ensure that the prioritized stories in the backlog are ready to be pointed during IPM, and to give the developers and designers a chance to discuss as necessary before pointing. Only one design and one engineering pair need to join Pre-IPM; the entire team is not needed.

Product Manager role:

  • Confirm prioritization and splitting of stories
  • Ensure that stories are well-written and comprehensible
  • Address any questions developers might have that should be accounted for in stories


Pivotal Tracker -- to assist with IPM
Trello or Miro -- we use these for remote retrospective meetings

Further reading

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Humana, Inc.

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