Seven Strategies for Effective Daily Stand-Ups

December 17, 2013 · 0 comments

The daily stand-up meeting is an important part of Scrum. It helps the team work together and gives everyone a sense of what the team is working on. Daily stand-ups don’t always have to be in person. I worked on a remote team that did our daily stand-up online through a wiki. While this was not nearly as impactful as if we were all in the same room together, it was better than nothing and helped give us a sense of community even though we worked remotely. Here are seven strategies for effective daily stand-ups.

1. Keep it brief and relevant
The stand-up meeting is called a “stand-up” because it should be so short there isn’t time to sit down. Even though the whole team is present this is not the time to discuss issues or problems, even if it affects everyone. This is simply a quick check-in where all team members say what they did, what they plan to do, and if they are blocked or impeded in any way. Avoid mentioning details that aren’t relevant. It’s OK to talked about what you worked on or are going to work on but keep it brief. The stand-up is mostly an opportunity for team members to support each other and generally know what everyone is working on.

2. Only Team Members Can Talk
Managers, stakeholders, and others are welcomed to attend but only team members can participate. The daily stand-up is meant to be a team check-in and should not be cooped into any other meeting. If needed, another meeting can be called right after the stand-up to address other topics but all team members present should have to opportunity to speak first.

3. Say what you did
The first thing that each person says is what they did since the last stand-up. Briefly describe what you worked on and give a context for it, if needed. You don’t have to go into any detail, just say enough so other team members have a sense of your current focus and why it’s useful to the team.

4. Say why you did it or what you learned
I like to briefly add a statement as to why I did what I did. This helps people better understand my goals and purpose for the task. When I complete task I like to briefly mention some of the things I learned by working on the task. This helps solidify my knowledge and amplify learning throughout the team.

5. Say what you’ll do next
Saying what you’ll do next lets the team know what you’ll be working on until the next stand-up. This is what you’ll be primarily working on until the next stand-up. It is also valuable to state your goals or what you hope to achieve.

6. Ask for help (optional)
If you are blocked or stuck on anything then you can ask for help. This is one of the main reasons for having the daily stand-up, so others know the challenges you are facing and can offer help. If you know what you need then say it. Otherwise, state your problem and see if anyone can suggest solutions. Again, don’t go into “problem-solving mode” yet, if they can then arrange to talk with them after the stand-up.

7. Offer help
As people are speaking about their challenges I sometimes get an idea of how I can help so I’ll offer to speak to that person after the meeting to see if I can help them. I might say, “See me after the stand-up,” or just approach them afterwards to offer assistance.

The daily stand-up helps the team know who is working on what, any challenges they are facing, and to ask for help or assistance, if needed. It can be a good way to kick off the day and give the team a sene of community. The daily stand-up should not be used for anything other than a brief check-in from everybody, if there are issues to be discussed then it should wait for another meeting.

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