Daily Standups – the how and the why

Daily Standups – the how and the why

Jem Henderson

Agile’s famous daily stand up meeting – also sometimes referred to as the daily scrum – can be a fantastic way to check progress and share ideas with your team. Here we look at what is involved in a daily standup, and how to get the most from them.


The initial format is that every member of the team stands in a circle at the start of the day and shares any information that the rest of the team should know.


More of a co-ordination than a status meeting, a daily standup is about finding what has happened in the last 24 hours and forecasting what will happen in the next 24.


The standard set up is:

  • A pre-set time and place is arranged for the standup every day.
  • A time limit should be laid out, to avoid people’s attention wandering and the meeting dragging on.
  • You do indeed need to stand up. This will help keep the meeting short and focused.
  • Encourage and engage every team member to speak, with three questions: “What did you do yesterday?”, “What are you doing today?”, “Are there any blocking issues that require help from the team?”.
  • Make arrangements for follow up conversations after the meeting, to ensure the meeting flows and progresses, but also that important issues are dealt with appropriately. A notice board nearby can be a useful tool to make notes of matters that require further discussion.


Not everybody loves the daily standup, with the most regular accusation being that they are a waste of time. This is worth bearing in mind, and addressing.

If people feel that there is always one person who does most of the talking, set time limits.

If your team members delay communication until the next standup this can hinder progress, so ensure that communication is always fluid.

Sometimes people will arrive late, delaying everybody. The standup should start at the appointed time every day regardless of latecomers; this will hopefully encourage people to arrive on time, and also drive the standup to have a purpose.

Finally, you should stick to the time limit. Sticking with the 15 minute structure ensures that the meeting doesn’t take up much time, which will reduce resentment; once someone stops resenting the standup, they are more likely to get something from it.

Are Daily Standups For You?

You should assess whether or not you and your team gets anything from the daily standup. You can also bend the rules and make changes to the structure as you see fit. Daily standups are not a one size fits all solution, but if these guidelines are followed they can be a valuable addition to your daily routine that can help keep team members engaged and up to speed, whilst helping problems get resolved more quickly.

Jem Henderson

Author Jem Henderson

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