Do you know that there are some very simple and effective tips to make a standup meeting super successful. We have the complete list. Read on!
Stand up Meeting
The literal meaning of Stand Up Meeting is simply to stand up and attend the meeting. All the participants circle in a particular area and share their daily progress and discuss obstacles. Standup meeting has become a popular tradition for Agile teams.
Such meetings are great to keep an organization centered and in the same direction. Even though their implementation is not challenging, there is a requirement of practice and experimentation to make the most of your regular meetings with co-workers.
The digital era has made it easy for remote teams to have stand up meetings as well. In this article, we will discuss the best practices, rules, participants of a daily stand up meeting, and how to set up the meeting agenda.
What is a standup meeting?
A stand up meeting is a brief recurring meeting that happens between a team. The aim is to get an overview of the crucial tasks that have been completed, are in process, or are yet to be started.
Virtual stand up meetings are common for software development teams but are becoming increasingly prevalent in other fields of operation – marketing, project management, product creation, and many more.
This is because having a short scrum meeting offers a fresh and above all effective alternative to traditional round-table meetings, which many of the current employees dislike. The challenge is not only because of the length of these typical sessions but also because they can be carried off-track quickly.
This happens even if a clear agenda is established which results in wastage of time, resources and reduced potential for workflow. To deal with these issues, a standup meeting is the best solution.
Did you know? It has been found that the number and length of meetings have escalated in the last 50 years. Executives are said to spend about 23 hours a week on average on meetings. The numbers have risen from under 10 hours in the 1960s.
What are scrum stand ups?
As per the Scrum guide and framework, the purpose of scrum standups or agile stand up is to check the progress of the sprint goals and align the sprint backlog accordingly. The duration of the scrum daily stand up meeting is of max 15 minutes attended by the development team and scrum master. There are 3 daily scrum questions discussed in a scrum daily standup meeting.
Daily standup meeting format
The standard daily standup meeting format has been explained in simple terms below,
- Meetings ought to be short – not over 15 – 20 minutes must be the target.
- Hold the daily standup meeting consistently, that is, at the same time and on the same platform. It’s a fun practice to play a special song to call the members.
- Every member of the team must attend the meeting.
- Meetings must not be delayed if a member is late or cannot make it to the meeting.
- In the scrum meeting format, the key participants of the stand up meeting are the development team, scrum master, and the product owner
- The three critical scrum meeting questions discussed are: what did you do yesterday, what will you do today, and are there any impediments or risks. A mandatory inclusion in the standup meeting format.
Tip: Conduct the daily scrums in the morning for better workflow.
How to set up a scrum meeting agenda?
A standard standup meeting can sometimes feel fragmented and too focused on individuals. Members might think that the focus is not on the progress of the entire project. This can lead to meetings becoming chaotic and time-consuming and therefore, they will lose their strength.
Thus, it is very important to have a stand up meeting agenda in place so that it remains short and addresses the necessary pointers. Include the following morning meeting questions in the daily agenda,
1. What was done by you yesterday?
This is a short overview of what happened yesterday (and if something was not completed, why?). In the stand up meeting agenda, ensure each participant focuses on the following aspects of what was done yesterday,
- The tasks completed
- Obstacles faced
- Guide or assistance required for conducting any activity
The participants must not unnecessarily engage in detailed discussions or deal with out-of-the-track topics in a stand up meeting. This is not the moment for every person to take their whole to-do list. The work that composed their intense focus time and the activities relevant to everyone in the team should be the focus of attention.
2. What goals have you set for yourself today?
Here, every team member can tell what they want to achieve for the day. This will make them responsible for what they will say at the standup meeting the following day. This element allows the scrum master to get a sense of how his team feels about how their efforts have an effect on the team’s general goals and how participants feel about the speed of the sprint.
Each participant must speak about the goal to be achieved in alignment with the overall program objectives and strategy. The scrum master monitoring the daily standup agenda must ensure this aspect is strictly adhered to. As per the goals stated the next day’s scrum agenda can be decided upfront.
Setting up Scrum meetings agenda aids in tracking the progress of the sprints and the backlogs which eventually impacts the product backlog and the fulfillment of the user stories. This increases the comfort level of the entire scrum team. You can fulfill your objectives to be attained as specified in the stand up meeting agenda.
3. What is blocking your progress?
Is there something that prevents members from doing a job? There may be technical limitations here, dependence on departments and teams, and personal constraints (reservations for holidays, sickness, and the like).
It is a best practice to track all the blockers both technical and non-technical in the daily scrum meeting agenda. Each of them can be tracked to resolution and closure after due deliberation. You can then mark them as closed in the stand up meeting agenda document.
Also Read: Employment History | A comprehensive guide
Remote standup management – how to conduct effective remote standups?
Conducting virtual stand up meetings can be quite tricky in the beginning. Therefore, it is essential to know the requirement for how to have effective remote standup meetings.
1. Establishing a meeting in a daily standup
To get going, pick a time that is consistent for every person who should be present for the regular stand up. We highly recommend you schedule it at the beginning of each workday. It allows you to synchronize your plan for the day and avoid communication errors.
The focus on the process in a daily standup meeting is followed in the Kanban methodology. Whereas the focus on the people is more prominent in stand up agile methodology.
In both approaches, it is vital for stand up management to firm up the date and time of the stand up meeting convenient for all the stakeholders. Set the agenda according to the approach you want the meeting to take. There are two approaches to a standup meeting. These are,
- Focus on the process
- Focus on the people
Tip: It is recommended that you choose to focus on the process to achieve a clear idea of the status of your project in a short time. Laying focus on people can lead to long meetings at times.
2. Determining the order of speakers in key in stand ups
Determining the order of speakers is vital in stand ups so that everyone speaks about their progress and next course of action. Some scrum calls are held as per the sequence of the product backlogs or sprint backlogs depending on the scheduled completion dates.
This approach assists in maintaining efficient stand up management meetings. Some of the ways in which you can determine the order of speakers are,
- Passing the baton – When a person is done with his/her presentation, he/she passes the turn to a team member of his/her choice. Following this, the person chosen has to speak and the process continues until all members have spoken.
- Workflow state – Make those team members who are closest to finishing their tasks talk first and the order follows.
3. Give an alarm before the daily scrum meeting starts
We suggest you pick either a funny tone or song or any classic music from a film to give the meeting a positive connotation. Queen’s all-time hit “We rock you” will be a perfect example.
Another way to practice this stand-up idea would be to set up a calendar notice just ahead of the meeting. Better still, set an alarm to show that 15 minutes went by since the meeting was launched. This acts as a timekeeper and allows you to provide information more concisely.
An alarm eventually alerts the participants in the daily scrum meeting of the duration spent and the time left for further discussions. Normally the scrum master acts as the timekeeper in the standup meeting. He or she may also appoint some other participant to keep track of the time.
Also Read: Team Building | Everything you must know
4. Hold meetings for small teams
Conducting a standup meeting for large groups defeats the purpose of keeping it short. Divide large groups into smaller groups and conduct different meetings for each of them. Ensure that each is not more than 15 minutes long.
Usually, as per agile methodology and scrum framework, the scrum teams are divided into a maximum of 3 to 9 members, not more than that. This helps in the smooth execution of scrum standup meetings. The reason being the teams are segregated based on similar user stories or product backlogs.
5. Begin the meeting with a physical activity
Nothing can crank up your energy in the morning like some physical activity. We recommend that you select an easy activity like jumping jacks or squats. When choosing the number of reps, bear in mind the form of your team.
The concept of initiating the scrum stand up meeting with some physical activities is more prevalent when you have a team working remotely at various locations. It acts as an icebreaker and boosts the energy level. You can select between light or medium-level exercises depending on the eagerness of the participants.
Also Read: Disgruntled Employee | A complete guide
6. Begin the meeting according to priorities
The only way to keep the team engaged and on the same page is to address items with the highest priority at the beginning of the stand-up. There are two types of workflows – initiatives and tasks. Initiatives are major projects that are divided into several tasks and linked together.
When the meeting is held, first talk about the initiatives and mention the tasks done only if they are not associated with an initiative but still have higher priority. You will only be able to stay abreast of progress on the very important things by going through the initiatives and not getting distracted by personal tasks. These tasks are anyway an inevitable part of the workday.
Any prevalent risks hampering the schedule of the program must be prioritized and discussed at the beginning of the stand up management discussions. It is important to segregate the tasks on hand according to their importance and priority, for easy tracking of the status in the daily call stand up meeting.
7. Always keep the project management tools visible to all members
This can be in the form of software such as Sprintly. Doing so will help you see what has been accomplished and what takes longer than planned for your team. For groups that spend a long time answering key questions, this is particularly useful. It also results in a big productivity boost for the team to study the project management tool just before the meeting.
For members working remotely, the screen must be shared displaying the status progress in the project management tools leveraged by the teams. For a face-to-face stand up meeting, the project management tools can be projected on a big screen for clear visibility.
Streamlining daily standups
Daily standups, when done incorrectly, are another blockage that hinder the progress of your team. Take stand up meetings as a platform to completely use collaboration rather than a number of individual records.
A standup meeting is a quick and efficient way to inspire your team to be on the same page on a daily basis. Here are some suggestions on how to organize and effectively run your standup meeting,
1. Focus on the overall picture in daily meeting
The progress of the entire project should be supported by individual progress. When they share their progress, make sure that team members keep this in mind.
In the daily meeting, it is recommended that the team members understand the big picture of the program. This will help them to share their progress or achieve their outcomes more efficiently. Besides, it will be easy for the scrum master to conduct the stand up meeting effectively.
2. Take on the board from right to left
Concentrate on what you have nearly completed and how you can wrap up in order to keep a watch on the baton. We tend to read information from left to right instinctually, but the tasks nearest to completion are on the right of the team development board.
Each success generates momentum, like ticking things off the to-do list. Starting with the “about done” and “done” activities is an excellent way to improve the morale of the team. The more you tick off the completed activities from the To-Do List starting from right to left in the standing meeting, the easier it is to calculate the % of progress.
The team is inspired to work towards the goal. Besides the pending items in the daily standups can be listed down separately and as per the scrum format, receive concentrated focus.
3. Emphasize on what is critical
Check for the blockages that the entire project suffers from. Take this time with team members to ask about obstacles hindering workflow. Do not allow the meeting to be sidelined by little discussion and brand new topics, but you can have a thorough discussion of how to tackle the most urgent challenges.
Discussing the immediate challenges affecting the overall progress of the program is essential. Seek for resolution of the issues in the scrum standup meeting but do not overindulge. If some concerns require additional focus, conduct separate additional meetings for resolution.
4. Address blockages
Even when work is ongoing, bottlenecks are being created and debt flows up. Take a look at the oldest elements of the project during stand-ups. Aging diagrams display how long each element spends in the process and in each process state.
This will help you know where the project is slowing down. Priority must be given to finishing work items that go beyond the normal cycle time.
Try to understand the blockages for the specific items, exceeding the expected completion time. Address them one by one in the daily scrum meeting involving experts from the particular technology or domain. The product owner and the scrum master play a critical role in these activities.
5. Come to an agreement on the priorities for each day
Moving the project forward would rely on the right order for many people to perform dependent tasks. Utilize the daily standup for the objectives and top priorities for the day to get everybody on the same page.
It is advisable to utilize the daily Kanban board to understand the tasks at hand. Prioritize the tasks based on the list mentioned, who are the owners and the expected completion time. Seek consensus from all attending the daily standups on the action items.
6. Make use of engaging language with your team
Instead of posing questions such as “what did you do yesterday,” begin the conversation with “what obstacles have you overcome?” If you are the leader, remember that you have the potential to encourage and discourage your team members.
Choose your words wisely. Progress is linked to the energy of the team. The daily standup is an inspiration if the leader is understanding. Respecting each other’s work and assisting members to resolve their issues are the key success criteria of most of the work stand up meetings.
Be polite, gentle, and kind while interacting with the attendees of a technical stand up meeting. Usage of engaging languages by both the Scrum Master and Product owner boosts up the motivational level of the team.
7. Strive to maintain a healthy and positive meeting environment
If performed incorrectly, standups may feel like surveillance, indicating a lack of faith in the ability of members to handle themselves. Standups are mistaken as reporting at times. However, encouragement and guidance from the rest of the team are the greatest advantages in standups.
Remember that standups establish the mood for the day for all team members. Keep them upbeat and positive. Do not discourage, but encourage the team during the stand up meeting.
Daily standups are not merely to scrutinize the progress of each team member but to ensure their obstacles are addressed too. Guide and assist them to perform better and ensure they stay positive in completing their work.
Tip: Always remember that standup is a collaborative effort. Guide your words and behavior accordingly.
Stand up meetings rules & guidelines
Follow these stand up meeting rules to earn maximum benefits from your daily remote scrum meetings.
1. Do not wait for every team member in daily stand up meeting
Start the meeting at the scheduled time so that your time and that of those already present in the meeting do not go to waste. Daily stand up meeting is of shorter durations and hence proper utilization of the time is important. Besides one of the best stand up meetings rules is not to slice away the bandwidth of the members as it may severely hamper the deadline of the program.
2. Keep stand up meetings short
This is the most important point for a standup meeting which is why it has been emphasized again. Go by the agenda and stay efficient. As per scrum meetings rules, the duration of the stand up meetings must be 10 to 15 mins maximum.
The agenda must be fixed with action items. Cumulatively the items must adhere to the time frame of the stand up meeting. Never overshoot the duration.
3. Agile standup meeting is best when everyone stands up!
The meeting is called a standup meeting because members are expected to stand up and talk. Remember to do so. Even for remote teams, this can work over video calls. One of the recommended rules in scrum stand up meeting is not to remain seated.
This helps in conducting the meeting fast and with due attention from all members. Status updates can be collected efficiently and issues discussed constructively. Hence instill this particular aspect in your list of stand up meetings rules.
4. Do not let team members ramble
It is very important that the team members stick to answering the 3-4 morning meeting questions concisely. Every point that they make must be relevant to the whole team. Ensure that you intervene when a member begins talking about something that is not associated with the whole project.
Usually, it is the responsibility of the scrum master to ensure each of the members are specific in their responses and do not engage in unnecessary conflicts. All the agenda items in the agile stand up meeting must be covered within the time frame with proper resolution and future action items.
5. Do not introduce new ideas
Remember that this is not a meeting for planning. Refrain from bringing up any new ideas in a standup meeting.
One of the stand up meetings rules is to discuss the daily or weekly progress or scrum update, issues faced and any guidance needed. Refrain from introducing discussions on new requirements, new prospects, new technological advancements, or new domain concepts in the standing meetings.
6. Do not make it like a status review meeting
The goal of every speaker must be to keep the team aligned with the overall progress on a project. Do not formalize your presentation too much. It is recommended that detailed explanations of each initiative or task be avoided.
Since the duration of a stand up meeting is short, the discussion on the status update or progress must be limited to the scope of the activities. For detailed discussions on any specific subject, arrange separate meetings with only the concerned stakeholders.
Stand up meeting best practices
Stand up meeting best practices must be followed strictly to ensure the smooth functioning of the discussions. You can adapt the stand up meeting ideas from the following subsections about daily scrum best practices and apply them in your daily or weekly stand up meeting.
1. Duration of a scrum session
You must limit the duration of a scrum session or daily stand up meeting between 10 to 15 minutes. A daily scrum standup meeting for a long duration tends to become unproductive, and monotonous. It is one of the stand up meeting best practices companies must follow to respect the bandwidth of the team members.
2. Scrum meetings best practices on behavioral characteristics
Here are some of the recommended scrum meetings best practices on behavioral characteristics of the team attending agile daily standup meetings,
- Be punctual and on time in the stand up meeting
- Be polite, gentle, and kind
- Be a good listener
- Participate as a team; one of the important stand up meeting best practices
3. Daily stand up for remote members
The audio and video conference facilities must be efficient while conducting daily stand up for remote members. You must form a dedicated digital workspace where remote members can participate in effective stand up meetings. The progress reports can be shared online and screens shared for faster delivery of the stand up meeting.
Also Read: Employee Referral | A comprehensive guide
Who must attend a stand up meeting?
In this section, we will discuss the key stakeholders that need to be present in a stand up meeting. In the daily scrum call or stand up meeting, there can be representatives from multiple teams. The reason being in agile methodology, scrum teams are segregated based on technological or domain expertise.
1. Participants in daily standup meeting
The key participants in a daily standup meeting are,
- Development team members must mandatorily attend the stand-up meeting
- The Scrum Master owns the development team and hence should attend the Agile Standups
- The Product Owner may or may not attend. Recommended to attend since the person defines user stories and prioritizes the product backlogs.
2. Participants in scrum of scrums meetings or standups
Scrum of Scrums meetings or standups is important for managing multiple teams working in parallel in a program. The key participants are,
- Chief Scrum Master for coordinating between the teams in the stand up meeting
- Scrum Master of each team
- Any important member from each scrum team like a senior technical person
3. Participants in weekly standup meetings
In the weekly standup meetings, the key persons who need to be present are,
- Program or Project Manager for tracking the progress and status in the stand up meeting
- Product Owner to share the progress and discuss issues or risks
- Scrum Master(s) to share the details on the backlogs completed
When, where and duration of a stand up meeting
A stand up meeting or daily scrum meetings usually occur for 15 minutes. The stand up time is fixed and is monitored strictly for any overshoot. Some programs demand weekly scrum meetings which can be extended to 30 mins.
The scrum daily meetings are held either in a discussion room, meeting room, or the team assembles at a central place near their workstations. For remote teams, the stand up meeting is conducted through audio and video conferencing.
Top 3 tools recommended for a stand up meeting
The top 3 tools recommended for a stand up meeting are specified below,
- Cadence – Can be used daily in a stand up meeting for progress update leveraging its standard agile standup meeting template.
- Neo – Provides meeting workspace for remote teams and provides stand master template for checking daily progress and assign action items
- DailyBot – Automates stand up meetings, and daily progress reports.
Also Read: Rejection Letter | A complete guide
Comparison – Scrum vs Stand up
Scrum vs Stand up, a comparison matrix is below,
|Sl No||Scrum||Stand Up|
|1||An event that is defined and has to be followed as per the scrum guide||An event that is not restricted by the scrum guide|
|2||Only the development team speaks, not the Product owner or the scrum master||Stand up meeting includes participation from all|
|3||Time-boxed for a fixed duration||Not strictly time-boxed|
What are scrum three questions?
The key scrum three questions in a stand up meeting are,
- What tasks were accomplished yesterday?
- Which tasks are you planning to complete today?
- Did you face any risks or hindrances to finish your work?
Each team member answers the scrum 3 questions to the scrum master. He or she can easily judge what work has been completed and what is left to be achieved.