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By Pavel Kukhnavets

Scrum Stand Up

15 minutes that will help teams up to date without spending a lot of time writing piles of status reports.

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The role of a 15-minute meeting is often underestimated. For some, a regular meeting is a powerful tool for collaborative productivity. For others, it’s just another routine event that takes time away from what they really should be working on.

A Daily Standup meeting is everywhere in the Agile world. Moreover, it seems that the concept of a Standup in Scrum has gone far beyond the Agile philosophy, and it is not difficult to find such an event in any company.

Stand Up in Scrum

What is its essence about? What is typically discussed in a Scrum meeting? Are Daily Standups effective? If this is your first time reading about such a meeting and you have never had to organize it, then you will have a lot to learn. In case are a constant participant of Stand ups, then there are some certain points that should be improved or modified. This article will help you with that.

Let’s start with the basics.

What Is a Daily Standup Meeting in Scrum?

The term is actually self-explanatory. It is about the meeting where all attendees are standing. The meeting allows coming together to update each other on their status, set priorities, and get help with possible obstacles.

The main idea of the standing format is that standing up rather than sitting down will stimulate you to keep the meeting short and to the point.

Also known as:

  • Daily Stand-up – came from Extreme Programming (XP) which recommended meeting participants to stand up to encourage keeping the event shortly.
  • Daily Scrum – by reference to the name of Scrum (meaning the huddle-like appearance of a rugby scrum).
  • Huddle – “roll-call” or even other options.

Stand yo meeting

What Are the Origins of the Term and Concept?

The term came from rugby sports. There was a famous team that had a habit to meet every single day to discuss how they were performing. Getting everyone together in a room was key as it gave them the opportunity to self-organize around challenges. The idea was to get the most actionable and valuable info in the minimum amount of time.

  • In 1993 Jim Coplien wrote the original StandUpMeeting pattern.
  • In 1997 Ken Schwaber described the “Daily Scrum”.
  • In 1998 the Stand up meeting was listed as one of the key practices in Extreme Programming.
  • 2004-2006: the Daily Scrum is generalized as a core Agile practice.

What Are the Rules and Guidelines? What Is the Standard Standup Format?

You may logically ask “How do you do Daily Standups?” The common Daily Scrum format has been well established. It can be broken down into the following steps:

  • Start of a working day at the same time and place.
  • The meeting should be short (no more than 15 minutes).
  • The meeting should be facilitated by the Scrum Master.
  • The event is held with the whole team standing up.
  • Each team member is expected to answer the three questions (that will be mentioned below).
  • Every participant should take no more than 2-3 minutes to answer.
  • You can meet exactly where the work happens (in front of a whiteboard or a digital Kanban board is ideal). Don’t waste time trying to coordinate extra rooms.
  • The meeting should not be postponed if someone is late.
  • All team members should attend.

What Are the 3 Questions Asked at a Scrum Standup Meeting?

Standup meeting provides an opportunity for the entire team to sync up on everyone’s individual progress against the iterated Sprint, feature, or story point estimations.

This status update event, time-boxed to fifteen minutes assumes answering the three basic questions visualized in the picture below:

Scrum meeting three questions

What Is the Purpose of these Questions?

The Daily Scrum meeting is the key event during a Sprint that is designed to quickly inform everyone in the team of what’s going on.

Why Do You Need a Daily Standup?

Daily standup meetings assist Scrum teams in keeping valuable information flowing smoothly. The information flow must be strictly regulated in a traditional hierarchical management structure. It should pass down to employees to make its way through layers of middle management.

Nowadays more and more teams, especially Kanban teams, value a flat management style and member autonomy. Standup meetings bring teams together to collect and share information in a transparent way, keeping all participants up to date with the project progress.

Look at this table to systemize everything written above:

Scrum meeting scheme

What Are the Expected Benefits of Daily Scrum?

  • Sharing of information on a regular basis in an energetic and focused meeting contributes to team cohesion.
  • The meeting helps to prevent a failure mode of teams.
  • It helps teams to synchronize work and adapt a daily plan and Sprint backlog.
  • It allows tracking progress by reviewing and updating the Burndown chart.
  • Daily stand-ups are reliably shorter, more pleasant, and more effective than sit-down ceremonies.

What Are the Possible Pitfalls?

  • The most common mistake is to turn the Daily Scrum into a Status Report meeting with each member reporting progress to the same person. All exchanges during the Stand up should be on a peer-to-peer basis.
  • A meeting that drags on and on is also a mistake. Address this issue by improving facilitation skills.
  • Often teams may find little value in the Daily Standup meetings. They can forget to have them unless the Scrum Master takes the initiative.
  • One more mistake is when no team member ever raises obstacles, even though the team is manifestly not delivering peak performance. Such a “no problem” meeting will not lead to success.

What Are the Best Practices of Daily Standup Meetings?

In order to avoid or minimize the mistakes above, try to follow the best practices to turn your Daily Standup from a nuisance into a productive event. Here’re some of them:

  • In case a status update turns into a lengthy discussion, then the facilitator should step in and propose to dissect it after the standup is over.
  • In case someone starts to unnecessarily recount a play-by-play of how he/she debugged a certain problem, the facilitator should step in and remind about a quick and concise update.
  • In case team members tell that they’re working on a problem you’ve already faced before, tell them that you can propose help if they need it.
  • The Daily Standup is an internal meeting. But in case others are present, the Scrum Master ensures that they do not disrupt the process and act only as spectators.
  • In case your teammates seem exhausted from the workday, perhaps it may make sense to move the Daily Scrum to a different time when people are more energized.

daily standups in Scrum

How to Keep Standups Effective?

Running a productive and topic-focused meeting with your colleagues is pretty achievable. Here we share 7 rules that will help you to reach success during stand-up meetings:

1. Be Mindful of the Participant’s Time

No one should be taking the time to get comfortable in the meeting room. That is why a stand-up meeting is called a stand-up meeting. Remember that the event should only take 15 minutes, so keep it short and brief.

2. Stay Focused

Stick to the meeting agenda and key goal. The Scrum Master will help keep the meeting organized, stay on track and maintain the structure.

3. Set Clear Goals

Stand-ups force teams to prioritize and this is a real benefit. By address people’s goals at the beginning of the meeting, you make the most of everyone’s time.

4. Make the Format Flexible if Necessary

There is no ideal approach for Stand-up meetings (even despite their clear rules and regulations). Each team has its own culture and requirements. Try to use a round-robin style to let everyone get a chance to speak every time.

5. Involve Distributed Employees

Sometimes managers overlook remote teammates for Stand-ups since they aren’t physically in the building. Luckily, there are many robust software solutions for arranging creative remote daily meetings.

6. Stay Consistent

By being consistent, you can accelerate productivity, enhance the way your team communicates with one another, and make the condense the meeting to be even shorter.

7. Follow Up

Do not forget to follow up and make sure your conversations and projects are progressing while establishing your stand-up meeting’s goal. This will stimulate transparency across your team. All expectations should be reiterated, and team members should be held accountable.

Scrum ceremonies

Standups for Remote Teams

Thanks to Hygger’s functionality, distributed teams that have members all over the globe can arrange Standups remotely to keep everyone connected across geographies.

This main tip for virtual team members is rather simple — to join a video meeting on their own computer. With all attendees in their own dedicated space and on the same video call, the team can level the playing field. Everyone can see and hear the same information at the same time.

Tips for Remote Stand-Ups:

  • Make team members visual using an appropriate video-conferencing tool. For example, Zoom provides visibility to all team members so you can connect with more than just the person that’s talking.
  • Reference your Scrum or Kanban board. Be sure, gathering around your online task board can be a powerful way to keep everyone on the same page.
  • Be open to asynchronous meetings. Sometimes teams have no overlapping work hours. In this case, they can comment on their work board to share updates as they come online.

Wrapping Up

Daily Standups have become a common ritual of many teams, especially in the Agile software development world. We hope, that our post has provided some valuable insights into the subtle details of efficient Stand-up practices.

Remember that a Daily Scrum Meeting is not just standing up together every day. They are just one part of a healthy Agile program. Just like other Scrum ceremonies, Stand-ups take time and iteration to get right.

Don’t hesitate to make improvements that suit your team. Make your Daily meetings useful and fun!