From Mundane to Meaningful: Rethink and Reevaluate Your Daily Standup Meeting
How many of you start your day with a recurring standup meeting? Daily check-ins have become such a normal part of the workday most people don’t give them a second thought. That may be why so many people seem to dread theirs.
The trouble with daily standups
A daily standup meeting is a short, structured meeting where members give updates on their work. Their primary purpose is to keep everyone aligned and ensure people are able to work without blockers. Certain teams may hold daily standup meetings, or you may have daily standup meetings for specific projects or work initiatives.
Standups used to be hailed as the pinnacle of agile methodology, but they’ve been slowly falling out of favor. Many people have argued that standup meetings take up more time than they save, while others come right out and say that standups inhibit innovation. Some even question whether daily standups should still exist in a world where asynchronous work is becoming the norm.
Improve your daily standups
We have some pretty strong opinions about meetings at Guru. People shouldn’t be spending their time in inefficient or pointless meetings, but the key words there are “inefficient” and “pointless.” Daily standups can still be a valuable part of everyone’s day, they just have to be managed the right way.
Before you remove another daily standup from your calendar, see if it can be salvaged. After you follow the advice in this post, you may start to see some of your daily standups in a new light.
Narrow your scope
Keeping your meetings laser-focused will be an essential part of running more effective standups. Most traditional SCRUM guidelines recommend that you keep your meetings focused on three questions:
What did you accomplish yesterday?
What are you doing today?
What roadblocks did you encounter?
These three questions can cover almost everything you need to learn in a standup, but they aren’t the only ones you can ask. Think about the core information you want from every meeting, then think of 2-3 questions you can ask everyone to get what you need.
Keep things short
The ideal standup meeting usually takes no more than 15 minutes, and some can even take as little as 5-10 minutes. If your standups are constantly going over time, you should re-evaluate how you’re using your meeting time.
Make it a rule that you have a hard stop at the end meeting time. Take note of what you’re able to cover, where you tend to end, and whether or not everyone has been able to give an update. That can give you greater insight into how your meetings are handled and help you determine your next steps.
Consider adding another meeting
It’s important to keep in mind that standups are designed to get quick updates about people’s work. While it’s possible that these updates could create more questions or discussions, you’re still supposed to be focused on the task at hand. If you keep going off-topic or stray into talks about strategy and timelines, it may be time to add a different meeting to your calendar.
Before you panic at the thought of adding another meeting to the calendar, remember that it doesn’t have to be a daily or even a recurring one. You may find that having one meeting to focus on an issue can be enough to handle things or that you need a few meetings to get alignment.
Make things asynchronous
Schedules change, priorities shift, and maybe taking 15 minutes for a synchronous update isn’t the best use of anyone's time. People may be running short on time, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your standup to save a few minutes.
Consider moving your standup to Slack, Teams, or wherever your team tends to chat the most. Set up reminders in a special channel dedicated to standups to ensure that people don’t forget and hold others accountable for giving timely updates.
You may find that enlisting the help of a check-in app could be what you need. Some members of our marketing team use Geekbot for our standups, and we’re able to get the same level of insight into people's schedules without having to take more time out of our day.
Use our daily standup meeting template
How are you keeping track of everything that happens in your daily standup? If you aren’t keeping a log of what you’ve done, use our daily standup template to start!
Using this template doesn’t just help you keep track of what goes on during your standups; it can also help you add necessary information to your knowledge base. If team members miss a meeting or need a quick refresher now they can find everything they need in Guru.