What is a daily stand up / daily scrum?

A daily stand-up meeting is a short, time-boxed team status check, held every day, usually at a set time. The Scrum framework calls the daily stand-up a ‘Daily Scrum’.

The inspect and adapt nature of agile ways of working operates at a number of levels, from unit testing code which is done multiple times a day to reviews and retrospectives which can be held as rarely as every month. Communication is at the heart of building good teams, so getting a team to synchronise daily is a good idea – if done well.

Who leads, what’s the focus and how long should they take?

Organised and facilitated by the Scrum Master, the intent behind a daily stand-up is that the team come together for a status check – to make sure that everyone is aligned and has visibility over what is going on, good and bad. The traditional format is to gather in a circle near the relevant task board and answer these three questions:

  1. What did I do yesterday (to help achieve our goal)?
  2. What will I do today (to help achieve our goal)?
  3. What obstacles do I have that need resolving?

Even with a big team (ten or more) the daily stand-up can be done in under 15 minutes.

A common problem with teams is that they find the daily stand-up will go on too long. This can lead to people not paying attention; at which point they just become a formality, their value is lost and they end up getting scrapped.

Daily stand-up top tip

A top tip is to keep the focus. Just stick with answering the three questions as succinctly as possible. Don’t try and resolve problems in the stand-up – that can be done later. Also avoid distractions – it’s not a social event. It’s worth noting that the Scrum Master should make sure any issues raised are dealt with and that the stand-up keeps on track.

Regardless of approach, a daily stand-up is a good tool to bring the team together, create alignment and highlight problems that need resolving. Used positively, it can be a brilliant way of increasing team cohesion and performance.

Daily scrum factsheet

Daily Scrum Factsheet

Relevant Courses:

Agility in Mind run the following courses where daily stand-ups are explained in more detail and practical workshopping takes place.

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