Daily Standup format

Running an Effective Daily-Standup

The latest Scrum Guide (2017) has softened its stand on the 3-question Daily Scrum format and offers it as one of the options among many – leaving the format decision to the team based on what they find most effective. Yet, I often find experienced Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches swearing by the 3-Q format. The moment you mention you are having challenges running an effective daily-standup, they are quick to ask the question – “Are you sticking to the 3-Q format?”

In my experience the 3-Q format is a good way to start a new team so they get into the habit of pulling work and being transparent with the team about their task status. But pretty soon, it gets too ritualistic and monotonous.

Below are some questions (in rough order) that I have found useful as a Coach in breaking the monotony of the “3-question round-robin” daily standup format while still keeping the meeting short and useful:

  • Is the board up to date? Is it reflecting the latest work status?
  • What tasks/stories have got done since yesterday’s standup?
  • What tasks/stories are expected to be done before our next standup?
  • Are there any tasks/stories that are taking longer than expected?
  • Is anyone stuck with something, or needs to discuss something with the team?
  • Is there anyone who needs me for something?
  • Is there anything that needs the team’s attention, but has not come up in the discussion so far?

This format has worked for me irrespective of the process – whether team is using Scrum, Kanban or a combination.

That being said, healthy interaction is more important than a specific format. As a team coach, below are some questions you can ask yourself to evaluate the quality of your daily standups:

  1. Was there good energy? Were people engaged/ tuned in?

2. While sharing their updates, were team members looking towards the entire team or a single person, or into the blank?

3. Did the updates indicate a sense of commitment and urgency?

4. Did members pay attention to other work items than their own?

5. Were there instances when members asked each other questions?

6. Were there instances when team members offered help to each other?

7. Was there at least one moment when people smiled or laughed?

8. Did the meeting end on a positive note?

Thanks for reading this post. Look forwards to hear your views.

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