Daily standup meetings are an essential component of agile team management. They are focused on tracking the progress of each team member working on a project. Team leaders (and scrum masters) need the daily stand-ups to understand each team member’s efforts, as well as the obstacles they might run into.
In this article, we are going to discuss daily standups in an agile environment. What does a daily standup entail? How can you benefit from conducting a daily standup? We will also look at some of the best practices for daily stand-ups in agile. Let’s dive in:
What is Daily Standup in Agile?
Agile Daily Standup meetings are short meetings that team leaders use to track the progress of a project. Each member of an agile team is expected to give a status update on a project. As the name suggests, most of these meetings take place with the attendees standing up– this ensures that the meetings do not take any longer than they should.
As the team leader, you must develop a solid agenda for daily stand-ups, as well as a structure to follow.
Daily Standup Types - Scrum Standup vs Kanban Standup
You will choose the best type of daily standup based on the nature of the project at hand. You can either go with Scrum standup or Kanban standup.
Scrum standup focuses only on the status update on a project. It follows a simple structure where each member answers these three questions:
- What did you work on since the last standup?
- What will you work on today?
- What obstacles are standing in the way of completing tasks?
This is all well and good, but if you want to go above and beyond, an excellent ice breaker will help your team settle in. Find something fun and engaging to make your daily agile standups enjoyable. For instance, appreciate the other team leaders and introduce a speaking tone. You could do something like passing around a ball to signify whose turn it is to talk.
Kanban standup meetings focus on discussing and resolving the team’s issues while working. The Kanban standups are primarily used in the software development industry for continuous improvement of work processes.
When is the best time to hold a daily standup?
Daily standup meetings allow team members to update one another on their work progress.
Conducting daily agile stand-up in the morning reflects on the work that’s already done. It also helps you strategize for the day, as well as for the scope of the upcoming tasks toward project completion.
Note that these meetings are restricted to 15 minutes, where every team member gets a chance to speak. The time is limited to accommodate only relevant information only. This means that if your team has other issues, you should arrange another meeting for such discussions.
In any case, once you decide on the time for the daily standup - keep it as is. Running the daily standup “at the same place at the same time” everyday will allow it to become a regular routine no one misses.
Best practices for daily standup meetings
Now that you understand how daily standups impact your project delivery, let’s discuss the best practices for daily standups:
- Define your daily standup agenda
- Follow up on recurring issues
- Accommodate remote team members
Define your daily standup meeting agenda
You should establish your daily scrum meeting plan early enough to prevent irrelevant discussions at the standup. Remember– you have less than 15 minutes to let your team communicate their progress and challenges.
In a basic setup, the agenda is for each team member to answer the three questions we discussed earlier:
what did each member do yesterday?
What are they doing today?
What are the blockers toward project completion?
A good structure for daily agile standups includes scheduling at consistent timing. This will help your team to stay organized and punctual. Also, maintain your leadership so that everyone gets to speak and focus on the purpose of the meeting.
Follow up on recurring issues
Agile team management is all about speeding up the productivity of your team. However, do not ignore recurring issues delaying completion. For instance, your marketing manager could be delaying working on a newsletter. Perhaps, they keep telling you that they are working on the template for three days in a row. Follow up with them and identify why they are delaying on a single task. This way, you can work with them to resolve the obstacle.
It is crucial to ensure that everyone gets to speak at your daily scrum meetings.
Accommodate remote team members
Working with remote teams is now more common than ever. Working with remote teams means having video conferencing in your daily agile stand-ups. In addition, every team member must attend and share a status update on their assigned tasks.
You may also consider displaying your task board at the daily agile meetings. They will help you identify tasks that may need refocusing.
How To Run a Daily Standup?
When done correctly, daily stand ups can be an excellent productivity driver for your organization. In addition, when your team works collectively in a way that encourages collaboration and communication, you will find that solving and identifying business issues becomes more stress-free than ever before.
So if you are trying to get your remote team to be more engaged and interactive, here is how to run remote daily stand-up meetings:
- Think about evening vs. morning. Some teams also refer to these as sunrise and sunset meetings. While some people prefer planning for the following day in the evening, others want to conduct it early in the morning before starting their work.
- Give proper infrastructure to remote teams. You should provide good internet connectivity, web cameras, and laptops to the team members. In addition to this, it is essential to spend some time encouraging and training people regarding these processes.
- Don’t include a lot of questions. Asking too many questions can defeat the purpose of the meeting and confuse the members. Stick to 3 or 4 questions to keep your remote daily standups effective.
- Focus on how and what. For example, if there is a point of debate and contention about a task (like should you fix a specific bug today), and the conversation is elongating, ask for a side-bar. Then, motivate the involved people to meet individually and sort it out!
Templates / Formats For Standups
Here is a good template for your remote daily standup meeting to follow.
- Start time. Decide on a start time depending on the local office time, members’ availability, and where your remote standup meeting originates from.
- Short physical activity - 30 seconds. This is completely optional, but it can be daunting for people before level-setting their task work. A few companies have embraced this to help the meeting flow faster and better
- Begin. Select the member who entered the meeting room last or maybe the person closest to the videoconference or remote technology
- Get the answers. With the time limit of 30 to 60 seconds, every team member should have answers to the following questions:
- What did they do yesterday?
- What will they do today?
- What issues stand in their way?
- Closing/end. End your remote daily standup meeting with a cheer, reminder of your organization’s mission, and team clap
Every month, the host of a remote daily standup, usually the project or account manager, should meet with senior executives to discuss what is working well and what isn’t with the meeting. Then, try to improve and streamline the process and the plan by soliciting feedback to benefit everyone.
Tips And Tricks For Standup Meetings
The COVID-19 outbreak has propelled companies to go virtual and manage teams digitally while re-evaluating traditional processes. As a result, many of these companies started doing remote standup meetings. When you aren’t able to gather members in the same space physically, it changes the meeting dynamics drastically.
So to conduct effective and fruitful daily standup for remote teams, here are some tips:
- Follow an asynchronous format to be inclusive of various time zones, personalities, work styles, and schedules
- Use team-building or icebreaker questions to enable every team member to get to know each other and connect, even when they are far apart
- Make it possible and easy for folks to take part– try leveraging communication channels that your team already uses to make engagement seamless
- Motivate and inspire the participants to share more valuable context to make sure that everyone has a proper and accurate understanding of the work, without requiring you to track members down for follow-up discussions
- Establish a solid recorded account of your remote standups so that it’s easier for anyone in the team or project to access information or get in touch with the right folks when they have to
Final thoughts about running a daily standup
Agile team management enhances collaboration between team members faster delivery. Daily agile standups focus on frequent status updates to promote transparency and align the work of each team member to the goals of the project and the company. Running daily standup meetings allow you to team members whenever they encounter blockers and then follow up their progress. Agile daily standups also promote accountability at the workplace. Each member has to share their progress and other critical information with the others. This kind of transparency promotes trust among team members, which enhances team collaboration.