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November 2, 2023
8 min read

9 Steps to Run Agile Scrum Daily Standup Meetings Efficiently

Daily standup meetings provide numerous benefits, such as improved communication, productivity, transparency, agile adaptability, and more. Keep reading to learn the 9 key steps to effectively extract standup meetings' benefits.
Anton Versal
Anton Versal
Let's look into the benefits and pitfalls of Daily Standup Meetings.

The daily standup meeting looks pretty simple to implement, as it looks just like a normal meeting. However, the daily stand-up process is an integral part of the Agile Scrum framework, leading to effective collaboration and communication between team members. It helps the team prepare for the next action and prioritize the plan for the next 24 hours. Therefore, it is very crucial that teams conduct daily standup meetings efficiently. In this article, we will explore daily standup meetings, talking about benefits, steps, pitfalls, and all other details Scrum teams should know about.

What is a Daily Standup Meeting?

A daily standup meeting in Scrum is a time-boxed meeting session conducted every day to discuss the project's progress. The meeting makes every team member discuss three main questions:

  • What did you accomplish yesterday?
  • What will you work on today?
  • Are there any bottlenecks/issues hindering your progress?

Every team member takes turns and openly answers the above questions while the rest of the team tries to resolve the issues (if any). The main purpose of the daily standup meeting is to evaluate and synchronize the team's progress towards the sprint goal. Therefore, every member should be transparent with the day's schedule and what they intend to complete today.

The duration of the daily stand-up meeting lies between 5 minutes to 15 minutes. In fact, Scrum's best practices state that the meeting should not exceed 15 minutes, as the emphasis is to make everyone get the updates quickly without spending more time.

Benefits of Daily Standup Meetings

Just like backlog estimation, sprint planning, sprint review, and sprint retrospective, the daily standup meeting is also one of the core events of Scrum. When done rightly, the Daily Standup helps the team sync on their current position and what measures they need to take to complete the sprint successfully. The other key benefits of the daily standup meeting are as follows:

1. Easier to See Progress

The daily standup meeting allows team members to see the sprint progress every day. This ensures that the team is heading in the right direction and will likely complete the sprint on time. Furthermore, it helps to create an environment of transparency and accountability within the team.

2. Help Stay Focused

Scrum standup meeting makes every member present their previous day's progress and what they intend to work on today. This makes them focus on their daily goals and tasks. They show more commitment and align their efforts to achieve the objectives. This leads to an increase in productivity and fewer distractions.

3. Improved Communication

The daily Scrum meeting requires the participation of all Scrum team members. Even Scrum Master and Product Owner can participate in the meeting. When all members interact with each other every day, it increases the communication environment. This leads to better collaboration, shared understanding, and improved alignment towards the sprint goal.

4. Improved Productivity

The daily standup meeting is one of the effective keys to improving the productivity of team members. When members are aware that they have to update the team about the progress the next day, they show more commitment to work and avoid activities that can cause distraction. This leads to a significant boost in productivity.

5. Quality & Timely Sprint Completion

The daily standup meeting empowers the team to identify and mitigate the risks or issues it faces during the execution of the sprint. By discussing and resolving issues collaboratively, the team ensures that its sprint objectives are fulfilled timely and effectively. This leads to quality releases and more satisfied customers.

6. Continuous Improvement

The daily standup meeting triggers a culture of continuous improvement. Teams can reflect on their work, learn from mistakes collaboratively, and mutually discuss the areas of improvement. So, the continuous improvement culture associated with the standup meeting leads to improved operational efficiency and better outcomes.

9 Steps for Effective Daily Standup Meetings

Daily standup meetings promise many attractive benefits that every Scrum team wants to achieve. However, it requires the effective execution of standup meetings to extract those benefits. Therefore, follow the below steps to run Agile Scrum daily standup meetings efficiently:

1. Clearly Define the Purpose and Objectives

The daily standup meeting can only be effective if team members know its purpose and objectives. Therefore, it is important that all Scrum team members are well aware of the goals and what they should achieve through standup meetings, such as prioritizing daily tasks, addressing complications, and sharing progress.

2. Consistent Timing of the Meeting Everyday

Daily standup meetings should be conducted every day at the same time and in the same place. This helps team members develop a routine habit of participating in the standup meeting every day. Moreover, it is recommended to conduct the meeting during the early hours of the day, such as within 30 minutes after everyone has reached the office.

3. Participation of All Scrum Team Members

All the team members should participate in the daily standup meeting, as each member's unique expertise can help address obstacles other members face. Moreover, Scrum Master and Product Owner can also participate in the standup meeting, as the former can help streamline meetings, while the latter can answer product-related queries. However, their participation is not mandatory, and it depends from team to team.

4. Set up a Leader

The leader of the daily stand-up meeting moderates the meeting and ensures it proceeds exactly as it should. The leader looks into all matters, from time-boxing to facilitating the flow of discussion. Therefore, setting someone as the leader of the stand-up meeting can result in fruitful outcomes. If Scrum Master participates in daily standup meetings, then he is the best leader choice. However, if Scrum Master is not playing a role in standup meetings, the team can choose a leader from the inside.

5. Keep it Time-Boxed

The effectiveness of the daily Scrum meeting is highly associated with its time-boxed aspect. It is highly recommended to conclude the meeting within 15 minutes. The time must be visible to the team during the meeting, and everyone should focus on providing concise updates within that time frame. However, if the team size is large or it is challenging to complete the meeting within 15 minutes, then Scrum allows such teams to adjust the duration as they want.

6. Remove the Distractions

Smartphones, laptops, or side conversations are common distractions during office meetings. Since the standup meeting is just a few minutes long, team members should avoid distractions that divert their attention. Everyone should listen to the person speaking and actively engage in the discussions.

7. Stand Up

The "stand up" phrase in the daily stand-up meeting is not just a fancy name, as it actually encourages the team to physically stand during the meeting. It is because it increases activeness and focus, leading to productive meeting sessions.

8. Everyone Gets to Speak

The daily standup meeting not only requires the participation of all team members, but it also demands everyone to speak. The recommended approach is establishing a speaking order where every member gets to answer the three questions. Going in a circle or sequence allows every member to input their updates and ensure equal participation.

9. Post-Standup Discussion of Lengthy Elements

If some team members point to serious issues or some discussion points need deeper conversation, they should be addressed after the standup meeting. The target should be to keep the daily standup meeting brief and time-boxed, while the post-standup discussions can provide a dedicated space to address lengthy or complex elements. This way, the purpose of the standup meeting does not deviate, and the team still gets to address lengthy or complex elements effectively.

4 Pitfalls to Avoid in Daily Standup Meetings

Despite knowing the basics, benefits, and steps of executing daily standup meetings, many Scrum teams still unintentionally fall into certain pitfalls. Therefore, below are four pitfalls to avoid in daily standup meetings:

1. Overly Long Meetings

It is common for meetings to exceed the planned duration due to various reasons, such as detailed discussions, going off-topic, lack of time management, etc. Since daily standup meetings are conducted every day, they should not exceed the 15-minute limit.

If the team keeps spending more time on standup meetings every day, they will lose the core purpose of the meeting and even compromise productivity. Therefore, always try to ensure that meetings remain concise and time-boxed.

2. Lack of Preparation

The time-boxed nature of daily standup meetings requires that the team members come prepared with the answers to the three standard questions. However, if they come unprepared, it can prolong the meeting and compromise the meeting outcomes.

Therefore, it is important that team members should review their progress, plan their tasks, and identify challenges before coming to the meeting.

3. Lack of Active Listening

The daily standup meeting highly relies on the active listening of the team members. When members don't listen to others or help them address challenges, it takes away the true essence of the standup meeting.

Each member should pay attention to others' updates, no matter if they can or cannot help resolve their concerns. Moreover, members should avoid side conversations and multitasking. This eventually encourages collaboration and a culture of respect.

4. Lack of Adaptation

Scrum gives teams the flexibility to execute the daily standup meeting the way they want. So, if the team is struggling with the standard standup meeting practices, it has the flexibility to adapt the meeting as per the team's needs.

For instance, if the team finds that the three-questions approach is not providing fruitful outcomes, they can add additional questions or modify the existing questions. In short, teams have all the flexibility to run the daily standup meeting as they like.

Wrapping Up

A daily standup meeting is an essential and must-do activity in the Agile Scrum framework, helping teams complete the sprint timely and effectively. Therefore, it is essential that Scrum teams execute standup meetings efficiently to extract the required outcomes. The steps discussed in this article can help any size of Scrum team to conduct effective standup meetings. Besides that, it is important that the team regularly evaluates the effectiveness of standup meetings to address loopholes and have more rewarding results. Therefore, the article will conclude by recommending keeping daily standup meetings the core event in your Scrum-based projects to streamline development and deliver quality products.

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