“The daily standup is like a compass for a team, keeping everyone aligned and moving in the right direction.”
Daily standups are at the core of agile software development. They are a vital part of modern-day flexible work environments. However, there are many questions and discussions regarding what a daily meeting should be. First, you must understand that running a daily scrum doesn’t automatically make your team agile.
Daily scrum meetings’ primary focus should be assessing yesterday’s activity, today’s tasks, and potential obstacles of your agile team that may prevent participants from accomplishing the goals.
Daily meetings in scrum teams help bring your people together to discuss ongoing projects quickly. This fast communication can help improve your organization’s project management and product development efforts.
With that in mind, this article will help you understand the importance of embracing effective standup practices for keeping your agile team up to speed.
What is a daily standup in scrum?
Daily standups are status meetings where agile teams share updates on progress and potential roadblocks. These meetings last up to 15 minutes and distribute the current status of the team’s effort to accomplish the sprint goal. There are also different ways of running effective daily standup.
Purpose of a daily standup
A daily standup conversation aims to bring the core team together, including the meeting facilitator, scrum master, developers, and the product owner, to discuss previous tasks, current progress, and potential issues. These quick meets help large teams align on completed tasks and upcoming projects.
Teammates meet at a convenient meeting time on a daily basis to share their insights into past and current tasks and obstacles that may obstruct their progress. Daily standups are popular scrum events that give every active participant a communication opportunity to exchange vital information with the rest of the team.
Since these meetings are among the standard social events for agile teams, they improve team focus and help your employees stay agile to cope with ever-changing conditions. They also empower the self-organizing skills of scrum teams to increase progress efficiency.
Rules of the daily scrum
Daily scrums keep you and your team up to speed with the latest developments to give you a clear picture of the project. Therefore, these meetings must be engaging, motivating, and productive enough to get everyone on board and receive an informative overview of progress.
To ensure the highest daily scrum efficiency, software development teams should follow the daily scrum agile practices or rules to build a thriving environment of trust.
Here are the rules to follow:
Set a fixed time for daily standups and make sure every development team member respects the timeline (consistent meeting cadence).
A scrum meeting should take at most 15 minutes (time box).
The meeting leader facilitates the daily standup agenda that the entire team must follow.
The daily standup agenda includes up to three standard questions.
The daily standup cornerstone questions should address your team’s activity in the last 24 hours, tasks at hand in the next 24 hours, and potential issues.
Every active participant stands in a daily standup.
The scrum master writes down potential development issues that require immediate solutions and assumes a moderate role in the meeting (they intervene only when necessary).
The product owner should be present as often as possible to receive updates on sprint progress and provide insightful information for the development team.
Benefits of a daily standup
Many software development businesses still underestimate the potential of daily standups. They think a daily standup is an inconvenient meeting, too short to hold elaborate discussions on things that matter.
Some even think daily standups are a waste of time. However, daily team meetings can benefit your agile project management efforts in various ways.
Daily standups are a common practice for enhancing team communication
Standups help agile teams develop a healthy daily habit of sharing crucial updates by answering team improvement questions. This practice can create a boost of energy among teammates and motivate the average person to come forward and connect with the entire team.
These meetings eliminate the lack of trust among team members and stimulate team transparency necessary for improved communication and collaboration. In addition, clearly outlined priorities help your employees focus on accomplishing the common goals.
Align your teams to keep everyone on the same page
Improved team alignment is probably the most significant benefit of daily standups. Since daily meetings gather your entire team daily, they are perfect for aligning your team, discussing challenges, and solving ongoing problems.
That way, every team member will stay clear on sprint goals, previous accomplishments, and future assignments.
Solve problems as early as possible
Early detection of problems empowers your organization to provide timely solutions without disturbing daily workflows and creating delays in product delivery. Standups are all about solving problems before they escalate.
They allow your team to handle bottlenecks, roadblocks, and other issues that may prevent your organization from meeting deadlines.
Boost morale and promote positive company culture
A daily standup shouldn’t be an inconvenient meeting or a waste of time. On the contrary, it should increase energy levels among participants to energize and motivate them to solve problems and deliver the expected results.
Since these meetings connect people, they can give your employees a sense of ownership and connect them to the larger team. Instead of seeing work as an obligation, your team will see their responsibilities in a broader context, like they are a part of something greater than themselves.
That could increase team productivity and stimulate your employees to take the initiative and work harder toward accomplishing common goals.
Elements of a successful daily standup
When planning a successful daily standup, there are a few things to remember.
Start with the preparation phase. This step involves determining the time and place for all upcoming meetings and giving your team members enough time to prepare individually.
Then, assign a person who will be in charge of leading the meeting. Decide who must always attend these meetings.
The next step is to work on the three daily standup questions every participant should answer. These typically include:
What tasks did you accomplish yesterday (last 24 hours)?
What are your responsibilities for today (next 24 hours)?
Are there any roadblocks the team should know about?
Each participant should answer these questions with the sprint goal in mind. In addition, scrum agile teams usually gather insights during standups to keep the Sprint Burndown Chart up to date. They also document the Sprint status by moving the Tasks or PBIs on the Scrum board.
Strategies for conducting daily standups
Once you have the time, place, and standup questions ready, including the meeting leader and participants, you can use these strategies to conduct a daily standup more efficiently:
Walk the board – instead of opting for standups in person, you can use a Kanban or scrum board to address each task in order, from completed and near-completion cards to the newest cards.
Cards – each participant receives a card with a number as they join a daily standup. Use numerical order to allow each team member to speak when their number shows up.
Token – determine an object that you can use as a meeting token. Pass the token from participant to participant. Whoever holds it gets the floor.
Round robin – form a circle and go from team member to team member until you come full circle.
Popcorn – this daily standup strategy allows each participant to call on a new team member when their update ends. The Popcorn strategy is the best daily standup approach for remote teams.
Kanban daily standup – visualize current project progress, identify obstacles, and sift through previous, current, and upcoming tasks.
Daily standups in Ayanza
Ayanza is an excellent AI-powered project management tool that combines note-taking, time orchestration, and task management. The app gives you access to daily standup templates and cross-team collaboration channels to help you bring all project-related conversations under one roof. You can use the Rhythms channel to generate daily standup events automatically.
In addition, the Daily Prep channel gives you ready-to-use meeting templates to help you build a standup meeting routine for documenting past accomplishments, ongoing tasks, and upcoming events.
Ayanza provides everything a team needs to improve communication, collaboration, and alignment. Thanks to these functionalities, you’ll have better team transparency into individual tasks, priorities, potential problems, mistakes, pending responsibilities, etc.
Getting started with Ayanza is as simple as it can be. Download the Ayanza mobile app, open it, and fill in your daily standup. Check the received feedback, add or remove participants, and engage with your team in a social media-like environment.
Daily standups are a critical part of agile teamwork. They empower your organization to stay on course with ongoing projects and ensure clients receive the required products on time. They can foster team connection, boost motivation, and spread positive energy across your organization—if you properly execute them.
If you want to help your team stay connected and aligned on the latest projects, we recommend using daily standup tools like Ayanza. Such tools give you and your team an interactive virtual environment where you can quickly go through essential tasks and potential problems to assess your team’s performance and determine the best course of action for the time ahead.
What are the common challenges in daily standups, and how can I overcome them?
The most common daily standup challenges include:
Lateness – persistent delays may prevent team alignment. If you have latecomers in your team, communicate the importance of standup meetings for the whole team.
Distractions – mobile phones, chatting, and extraneous noise may prevent your team from completing a daily standup. Run standups in specially arranged rooms to minimize distractions and ensure all participants turn off their mobile phones.
Trying to conceal or solve problems – since standups only last 15 minutes, they may be too short for all participants to address their concerns. Since early problem-solving is one of the purposes of a standup, every participant should communicate their issues clearly to avoid a snowball effect. In addition, a standup is not a place to solve problems, as most issues require more than 15 minutes.
Unclear updates – chances are that most of your teammates aren’t eloquent speakers and will have difficulties expressing their concerns. Help them to convey the necessary details by allowing them to provide the general points of a task or problem.
Inconsistent meeting time – if you leave the meeting time floating in the air, most participants won’t be able to attend. Stick to the fixed meeting time to avoid that.
How can remote scrum teams effectively conduct daily standups in an agile way?
The best way to make remote scrum meetings as agile as possible is to use video conferencing tools like Zoom to give visibility to all participants regardless of their location.
You can also consider asynchronous standups via software solutions like Jira and Slack. Both allow your teammates to share updates as they join the meeting.
Are daily standups only suitable for agile teams?
This type of meeting can benefit any business team working on a complex project. For example, design, product, sales, and marketing teams adopt a daily standup approach to meetings to improve operational efficiency.
How can I start a daily standup in a scrum team?
Structure a daily scrum standup around three questions, set the fixed time, decide who must participate, and determine the meeting leader. Use one of the strategies above to find the best approach that works for your team. Limit your meetings to 15 minutes and stick to it.
What is the goal of a daily scrum?
The goal of a daily standup in scrum is to answer three questions and learn about yesterday’s activity, today’s responsibilities, and potential problems that may cause delays in project completion and product delivery.