The Daily Meeting (or Daily Scrum) is one of the key elements of Scrum and some other agile methods. It is set to happen every day of a Sprint (= a set period of time during which specific work has to be completed) in order to foster communication and collaboration between the whole team. In order to be effective, a Daily standup Meeting should follow these 8 rules.
8 rules to run effective Daily Standup Meetings:
1 - Every day, same time, same place
It may seem obvious, but the very first rule to Daily Meetings is that it should happen every day of a Sprint, ideally at the beginning of a working day. Every team member must attend, as it helps to organize the work of the day and to make sure the team as a whole is working towards the completion of the Sprint objectives. It can also prevent two team members from working on the same task without knowing it.
2 - Stand up meeting AKA “Daily Scrum”
One of the core principles of the Daily Scrum is that it should happen standing up. It may seem a gimmick but it actually reduces rambling and helps team members staying focused. Being seated, it is very easy to take your laptop or smartphone out and start disengaging from the meeting. Moreover, standing up encourages everyone to keep the meeting short (ideally no more than 15 minutes) and focus on what’s important, keeping the discussions for after the meeting.
An easy solution is to hold the meeting in a room without chairs or to put all the chairs on one side of the room.
There are some exceptions here, some teams may comfortably sit down if they are using an online Scrum board; in that case, they share the screen, and everyone focuses on it.
3 - 3-question agenda
During the Daily Scrum, everyone is supposed to answer those three questions:
- What did you accomplish since the last Daily Meeting?
- What are you working on until the next Daily Meeting?
- What is getting in your way or keeping you from doing your job?
The Daily Meeting should not be considered as a status report to overlook teammates’ work or micromanage the team. It should really be about fostering discussion and collaboration among team members to make sure everything is going smoothly.
The best way to do it is to use a Scrum Board (physical or online) and post-its to visualize all the tasks to be completed during the Sprint, all the ongoing ones and the ones that are already done. Each team members can comment the task chosen during the last daily, discuss potential issues and select a new one to work on.
4 - Address problems without solving them
The third question of the Daily Standup Meeting is key: it’s the perfect occasion to share an issue or ask for help. But don’t you try resolving it right away. The Daily Standup Meeting shouldn’t be a technical one, talking about solutions and choices. If you want to respect your agenda and give the floor to each teammate in the allotted time, keep the technical discussions for after the meeting.
Likewise, new ideas should be addressed outside the Daily Meeting, in order to leave some space for discussion (which can’t happen in a 15-minute meeting).
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5 - The team decides what to do next
As I said earlier, the Daily Scrum Meeting is not an opportunity for the Scrum Master to micro-manage and impose what to do next. In fact, his or her main task is to ensure that the Daily Meetings are held, that the 3 main questions are answered, and that impediments are identified so that a possible resolution can be set in motion. Once the habit of holding Daily Meeting every day is set and the team understand the value of the meeting, they can hold it on their own, the Scrum Master no longer has to attend.
During the Daily Meeting, each team member can select a task he or she feels like doing, based on their competences, experience and the overall criticality of the tasks. Letting everyone being his or her own boss is the best way to get them excited and committed to the success of the project.
6 - Giving the floor to those who are committed
One of the golden rules is: the Daily Standup Meeting is a meeting for and by those who are committed, who are really working on the project. The very aim of the Daily Meeting is to provide a space and time for teammates to discuss. They should be central to the meeting – if other people who are just “involved” (directors, stakeholders…) want to speak, they should wait for the end of the stand-up.
7 - The Scrum Master makes the connection with the outside
While the Daily Meeting cannot be the sole means of team communication, it can be the opportunity for the Scrum Master to share information if he or she decides to attend. In fact, he or she should act as the information conduit in and out of the team boundary: passing external information to the team, and team information to external stakeholders.
For example: “Hey, just to let you know the other team is having a demo of their new feature tomorrow. Maybe you want to go and see.”
Or “I’ve contacted IT about expediting that new build server… I’ll have more info tomorrow”
Or “The marketing team is throwing a happy hour tonight.”
8 - Celebrate success and understand issues
Don’t make the mistake of taking the Daily Scrum Meeting for a shared to-do list. It’s also the time to celebrate successes and address issues as a team. Using a tool like TeamMood to measure your team members’ mood and feelings can provide you with great insights for your Daily Meeting.
During the Daily Meeting, you can take the time to check in on the history of TeamMood, see if there are small wins or developing trends. Identify small issues you can deal with today like “We ran out of coffee”. Of course, larger issues should be addressed during retrospectives.
According to one of our clients, “During our Daily Meeting, team members could share their thoughts and explain low ratings. TeamMood provided employees with the opportunity to speak up and got a dialogue going on among the team.”
Another client shares his use of TeamMood: “We take the TeamMood results into the retrospective from time to time, to share comments. However, throughout the sprints, I keep an eye on the team’s mood. Any concerning dips and I will start looking into the cause…”
Want to discover how TeamMood can help you improve your Daily Meetings?
Read the full success story here or try TeamMood for free.
Thank you Andy Cleff and Rene Martinussen for your comments and edits of the article.