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Frans Riemersma, 24 Jan '17

Daily Standup Do’s and Don’ts - 19 One-Liners

Meetings are out. Standups are in. Use 19 tips to master the perfect Daily Standup and get your team engaged.

45 minutes into a meeting, attention levels will have decreased by 42%. Attention levels fall as meeting duration rises. To keep everyone interested and engaged, meetings have to be short and focused. But how? Agile gave us the Daily Standup.

For those unfamiliar with Daily Standups, here is a quick introduction…

Standups are an increasingly popular way is to hold short meetings, normally at the beginning of each day. And yes, all attendees do indeed stand up during the meeting.

The concept of daily standups originates from agile development. It soon proved so effective that other departments quickly started to discover the benefit for their own department. Daily standups are now twice as popular as 2 years ago.

Holding daily standups can have a profound effect on your organization. But it may require a little practice to really get it right.

How to switch from the traditional hour-long sit-in meetings to daily 15 minute standups? We scoured the Internet for ‘daily standup’ wisdom until we had a list of all there is to know. We bundled everything others are saying and combined it with the experiences we’ve gained being VPs and entrepreneurs for over 10 years. We are happy to share our secrets of the ‘perfect daily standup’ recipe. In just 19 one-liners.

Here are 19 daily standup one-liners listing do’s and don’ts, to get you up to speed. Here we go.

Daily Standup Do’s and Don’ts

1. Stand up to energize the group.

  • Don’t give people a chance to slouch and doze off in their chairs.


2. Have individuals report in a three-part structure.

Ask people to tell: 

  1. What they did yesterday
  2. What they’ll do today
  3. What blockers they have
  • Don’t randomly switch between present and past (and the far future).


3. Schedule a regular time to meet.

  • Don’t delay or reschedule. Ever. Pick a time and stick to it. No matter what.


4. Decide upon a fixed duration for people to speak.

  • Don’t allow people to extend their speaking time. That only adds detail, not focus. Set your timer to 1 - 3 minutes. Childisch? May be. Working? Most definitely!


5. Focus on priorities only.

  • Don’t try to be (overly) complete. Don’t mention anything and everything as fast as possible. Don’t ‘outsource’. Don’t leave the interpretation of your status update to the team. Think of presentations as speed dates rather than fireplace conversations.


6. Give the floor to one person at a time.

  • Don’t go into dialogue or discuss anything in detail. Meet afterwards if you want to discuss further.


7. Allow people to be vocal about anything they think is important.

  • Don’t create a judgmental atmosphere only to discover the real issues after the sprint.


8. Report on things that are relevant to everyone in the meeting.

  • Don’t ramble on about personal issues, or complaints about how other teams hamper your progress.


9. Report to the team, peer to peer.


10. Hold meetings next to your scrum board.

  • Don’t assume everyone will know by heart how everyone’s tasks relate to each other. With a scrum board nearby, people can point out how their tasks fit the bigger picture.


11. Refer to the card on the scrum board you’re talking about.

  • Don’t talk about anything that isn’t on ‘the board’; it’s irrelevant.


12. Move cards on the scrum board during the daily only.

  • Don't fumble with cards or change their status whenever you feel like it. Make sure everybody can see when changes are made. Add drum rolls if you feel like it.


13. Mention blockers briefly.

  • Don’t solve problems in ‘the daily’. Ask people to raise hands if they think they can help out and then only engage in actual problem solving during ‘stay after’ meetings.


14. Book ‘sprint planning meetings’ if you want to talk about new tasks.


15. Listen to others when they talk.

  • Don’t internally rehearse your upcoming minute of fame to a point where you can’t pay attention to others presenting. Rehearse BEFORE you enter the Standup.


16. Challenge the issue at hand.

  • Don’t become personal by challenging the person.


17. Schedule meetings for urgent matters that surface after 'the daily' is done.

  • Don’t postpone important and urgent meetings in favor of  tomorrow's daily. The daily is to update each other regularly, but it is not the only place to quickly align. 


18. Be weary of those who repeatedly say they have ‘nothing new to report’.

  • Don’t assume everything is fine when things are suspiciously quiet or predictable. People may be afraid to say something or working on an irrelevant side-project.


Now you know how to discuss task progress on a daily basis, it's time to take your agile transformation one step further. It's time to align tasks with strategy.

Use a scrum board to discuss task progress daily, and start using the 'Infographic' or 'Collection' to discuss goal progress weekly.

Which brings us to the last tip...


19. Use the Infographic or Collection to align tasks with strategic goals.

  • Don't discuss tasks that don't serve a goal. 

Boardview Infographic


Boardview Collection

Keep your agile strategy aligned from top to bottom, and from left to right, at all times.

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