5 Best Tips for Effective Daily Stand Up Meetings

When effectively structured, a Daily Stand Up Meeting can keep your Scrum Team on track with how each member of the team is progressing with the deliverables, as well as keep your project on track. However, when Daily Stand Up Meetings are not set up effectively, your Scrum Team is at risk for delaying deliverables; your project is at risk for not meeting its timeline; and your organization is at risk of losing thousands of dollars in wasted and unproductive time.  

These 5 best practiced tips are a proven way to keep your Scrum Team performing at their best level when meeting daily:

1. Timebox the meeting to 15 minutes. Have the meeting laser-focused on the purpose of the Scrum Team identifying and answering these three questions: What did I do yesterday? What will I do today? What problems am I currently facing? Leave the niceties and social bonding for break-time as they can bombard your allotted time to discuss project status updates (even though you really want to share your Game of Thrones theories with the team).

2. Keep the conversation on track. In addition to friendly chit-chat eating into your scheduled time, discussing project items that are above and beyond the 3-purpose driven questions can lead to a series of tangential conversations. A Certified Scrum Master will facilitate the team discussion to get back on track and keep within the timeboxed limit. Tangent conversations are encouraged to happen immediately following the Daily Stand Up Meeting.

3. Engage the team to collaborate in conversation. It would be easy and fast to have all team members share their answers to the 3-purpose questions in silos, without involvement or engagement from the rest of the team. While you would be well within your 15-minute time frame, the meeting outcomes would not be ideal. A Certified Scrum Master will engage all team members to collaborate with each other to aid in the deliverables identified in this Sprint. The Scrum Master will be able to assist in connecting the dots between team members, if it isn’t already apparent, and/or to keep tangent conversations at bay. 

Example scenario:
Person 1: “The problem I’m facing is I need gel pens because they write better than ballpoint pens.” Person 2: “I will work with you with my collection of gel pens. When do you want to use them?” Scrum Master: “Thank you, Person 2 for working with Person 1. The two of you can meet following this meeting to align on your next steps.”

4. In-Person or Face to Face Meetings. The dynamics of the Scrum Team are of utmost importance. In-person meetings help team members to connect, develop trust and openness, and work collaboratively with one another. For teams with remote members, find a medium that works where they can still can have face-to-face interactions, such as Skype or Zoom. When team members dial in on speakerphone, basic team elements get lost and may have negative effects on the performance of the overall team. Team members may feel isolated, left out or forgotten about, become distracted, or miss out on the collective energy of the group.

5. Determine the best time to meet. Not everyone arrives to work at the same time, so plan the Daily Stand Up meeting intentionally when all members can attend. Scrum Teams deliver significantly greater value when self-organized, which includes figuring out the best time to meet as part of a daily routine.