The Daily Standup

Photo of Sohrab Salimi
Sohrab Salimi

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4 Minutes

In Scrum, the Daily Standup is one of the 5 events that make successful product development possible in the first place. Why the Daily Standup Meeting is so important, what the agenda looks like and who has to follow which rules, you will learn in this article. A proven pro-tip for the Daily Scrum can be found below.

The Daily Scrum Definition & Rules

The Daily Scrum Meeting is by definition a daily meeting where the development team informs each other about the current status of their work with regard to the sprint goal. The coordination among each other ensures that everyone in the Development Team has a good overview of progress, questions and possible obstacles and knows what the others are working on. This way, each team member gets an accurate overall picture of the project.

In order for the Daily Standup meeting to be purposeful and motivating for everyone involved, you and your team should follow the following Daily Scrum Rules:

  • Development Team members must be on time for the Daily Standup.
  • The Daily Standup duration is a maximum of 15 minutes (time box).
  • The participants stick to the Daily Scrum Meeting Agenda and usually answer three questions (see below).
  • As the name says: It is a Standup Meeting, which means that the active participants stand there (preferably in a circle).
  • The Scrum Master intervenes in the Daily Standup at most in a moderating role (if absolutely necessary) and notes down the impediments mentioned by the Development Team. - He then ensures that these are eliminated (not necessarily by himself).
  • The Daily Scrum Meeting is attended by the Product Owner as often as possible to answer questions from the team on the "What?" and to stay up to date on the Sprint progress.

The Daily Scrum Meeting Process

The Daily Scrum Meeting has usually a set flow with three key Daily Standup questions to structure the meeting and good preparation.

The Preparation

  • The Development Team - possibly supported by the Scrum Master - determines the place and time for the Daily Standup. Both should remain constant for all upcoming Daily Standup meetings.
  • Each team member should prepare individually for about 2 to 3 minutes before each Daily Scrum Meeting by asking themselves what they did the day before.

Three typical Daily Standup Questions

The central point of the meeting process is usually centered around three Questions (that were in the Scrum Guide before the 2020 update), which each member of the Development Team answers:
1 What have I done in the last 24 hours (yesterday) to achieve our sprint goal?
2 What will I do in the next 24 hours (today) to achieve our sprint goal?
3 What obstacles are keeping me or us from reaching our sprint goal?
It is important that team members do not digress when answering the questions, but always focus on the sprint goal in their update.

What else belongs to the Daily Scrum Meeting Agenda?

During the Daily Standup Meeting the Development Team updates the Sprint Burndown Chart. Moving the PBIs or Tasks on the Scrum Board is used to document the Sprint status.

The Scrum Master can note the obstacles mentioned by the team on cards and include them as open items in the Sprint Backlog so that they are not forgotten.

You should avoid these Daily Standup No-Gos with your team.

  • Especially when a team has just started working with Scrum, members tend to digress in the Daily Standup. Suddenly, the development team then finds itself in detailed discussions about how to work around obstacles and solve problems. So make sure you and your team stick to the 15-minute time box and have deeper conversations in follow-up one-on-one or small group conversations.
  • Development teams that have been used to classic command-and-control hierarchies for years tend to report and be accountable to the Scrum Master or Product Owner in the Daily Standup Meeting. But instead, the focus is solely on reporting to your own Development Team colleagues.
    Further important tips on how you and your Scrum team can avoid certain mistakes, especially in the initial phase, can be found, for example, in the training Scrum Kompakt. If you have the role of Scrum Master, concrete Scrum Master trainings will help you.

Pro-Tip: The Daily Standup Ball

You want a little more dynamic and fun in your Daily Scrum Meeting? Then a Daily Standup Ball might be the right thing for you: All you need to do is organize a ball (e.g. a tennis ball or foam ball) or another object like a funny stuffed animal. Whoever is currently answering the 3 Daily Standup questions holds the ball in their hand, and then tosses the Daily Scrum Ball to another team member whose turn it is.

If individual team members tend to talk too long and too rambunctiously in the Daily Standup, you can also use a 3 kg medicine ball as the Daily Standup Ball. The respective speaker must hold the ball with an outstretched arm. After 3 minutes at the latest, everyone will be anxious to finish speaking and pass the ball on.

Summary of the Daily Standup

A successful Daily Standup ensures that the development team is updated daily on what the members are currently working on and if and how they need support. In the meeting, the product owner learns where the team currently stands with respect to the sprint goal and answers questions that arise, while the Scrum Master finds out whether there are obstacles to be removed that are keeping the team from achieving the sprint goal. The daily standup meeting is therefore essential for sprint success and should never be missed.

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