5 Common Mistakes at Daily Stand Up Meetings

Generally, people don’t love meetings. Especially recurring daily meetings. Common mistakes happen around meeting structures, pace, attendees, and if they aren’t flagged as mistakes they may end up being adopted as ‘the norm’. Being ineffective isn’t normal.

What if the Daily Stand Up Meeting could be the most productive part of the day? What if the contributions from the meeting could fuel the Scrum Team to move the project forward more efficiently and to identify obstacles before they become full-blown problems? Here are 5 common mistakes to watch for at the Daily Stand Up Meetings:

1. Cancelling the meeting if the Scrum Master can’t attend

The Daily Stand Up is not meant to be a status update to the Scrum Master (or any stakeholder). It is meant to promote communication amongst your team. Keeping the meeting occurring daily strengthens working relationships across the team.

2. Allowing individuals to dominate and dictate

Team members take turns, each answering the 3 daily questions. Each team member’s contribution is as important as everyone else’s, and if one person leads the meeting, they could end up allocating time inefficiently or rushing through a team member’s input.

An important distinction to make is that the Scrum Master facilitates this meeting, overseeing the team contributions and ensuring value is being brought forward; they are not being reported to nor are they dictating the flow of the meeting.

3. Discussions around full-fledged problem solving

Deep discussions are not part of the agenda during a Daily Stand Up Meeting, as they could derail the flow of the meeting, and not allow everyone to participate.

Once a topic which needs a deeper dive is identified, the team members can wait until the meeting is over and continue their discussion separately with whomever needs to be involved.

4. Allowing distractions

The goal of the meetings is to get the team up to speed with current activities and to kick-start problem-solving sessions if problems arise. It is a fast-paced, highly-engaging meeting, and if anyone is distracted or zoned-out, they can’t be helpful/resourceful to the team. A good Scrum Master will engage all team members to stay focused.

5. Inviting managers or stakeholders to the Daily Stand Up Meeting

At the risk of sounding repetitive, the Daily Stand Up meeting is not a status update.  When managers or other stakeholders are invited, teams inevitably start to feel the need to report their status to the senior leadership team.  

If a situation arises when you need to invite a manager or other stakeholder, clearly communicate that they are not expected to participate in, or manage the meeting.

It’s best to keep the meeting invitees limited to the Scrum Master and the Scrum Development Team; Product Owners are of course invited, and are generally not required.

Even high-performing teams make mistakes.  Recognizing the instances of these mistakes will allow for the Scrum Team to work more collaboratively with each other, and will increase the quality of the work delivered.