The Daily Stand Up Meeting (or Daily Scrum Meeting) has a very specific purpose andScrumMeeting_SeconImage-2.jpg format. The purpose of the meeting is to encourage accountability, chart the progress of the iteration, and identify any issues that may impact or derail the iteration. The format is specific so that side conversations do not disrupt the report of progress. The meeting should not take longer than 15 minutes. The Scrum Master starts the meeting by calling on the first team member. Each team member reports:

  • What tasks were completed and worked on since the last Daily Scrum?
  • What tasks will be worked before the next Daily Scrum?
  • What impediments may disrupt today’s work?

When the team member finishes their report, they pass the floor to the next team member by saying, "I am passing to NAME." This “passing of the meeting to the next team member” is an important part of the process. Most of the teams schedule 30 minutes and use the second 15 minutes for Action Items or a discussion of Issues. If your Stand Up Meetings are taking longer than 15 minutes with 15 minutes of additional Issues discussion, one place you can look to potentially mediate this is your Backlog Grooming meetings.

From the Scrum Guide, here’s the definition of a Daily Scrum:

The Daily Stand-Up Meeting

  • The stand-up meeting is conducted daily
  • The meeting time-box is 15 minutes
  • All team members attend and participate (Others may attend, but do not participate)
  • The Development Team is responsible for conducting the Daily Scrum (not the Scrum Master)
  • Same time of day and meeting location for all meetings
  • Each team member presents three topics (my wording slightly differs from the Scrum Guide)
  • What I have accomplished since the last meeting?
  • What I am going to accomplish before the next meeting?
  • What obstacles are preventing progress?
  • A trainer/facilitator (in Scrum, this is the Scrum Master) teaches the team about the stand-up and enforces the process

Also Read:  12 Principles of Agile Methodology

While any stakeholder can attend the Daily Stand Up meeting, they should not participate in the meeting until the entire team has had a chance to share their report. It is not a status meeting. This is important to note because I've seen many DSU's turn into status meetings when the Scrum Master moves from a focus on individual accountability to a focus on deliverable timelines and micromanagement. To avoid these pitfalls, I have five rules I follow.

#1 - Be Consistent

It is preferable that the DSU occurs at the same time each day although there may be a few instances when the times must change to accommodate various events. Attendance is expected, occasional absences are tolerated.

The format is important. If the team is colocated, they all stand up in a circle and answer the following:

  • What did I work on since the last daily scrum?
  • What do I plan to work on before the next daily scrum?
  • What are the impediments that are preventing me from making progress?

Impediments should be identified but NOT solved. The discussion of solutions should be a separate conversation.

#2 - Be on Time

Come early and make sure you are prepared...“early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable!” ― Eric Jerome Dickey

Start the meeting on time regardless of attendance and you will soon get the message across that promptness is important.What is the best time for this meeting? Whatever time is best for the team. My preference is as early as possible in the morning and I think most teams prefer a morning meeting, but if that does not work for the team, then select a time that accommodates everyone.

#3 - Be Engaged

There's nothing worse than a meeting where its attendees are not engaged. I like to start at least one meeting a week with am improvisation exercise. You can find a whole list of sample exercises at Warm Up Games. Most take no more than 2-3 minutes and you would be pleasantly surprised at their affects. Each team member should pass the meeting to another colleague. Try to avoid passing the meeting in a predictive order such as alphabetical order.

As a member of the delivery team, you should engage with your team not the Scrum Master. Your comments should be directed to your team as impediments will more than likely affect other members of your team. Listen to other team members for their connections to your tasks. And above all, please do not multitask. It is rude and will negatively impact what you get out of the meeting and how other team members view the meeting.

#4 - Be Accountable

The DSU is not a status meeting. The meeting is facilitated by the Scrum Master but does not belong to the Scrum Master. It belongs to the team members. By reporting out what you accomplished since the last meeting and what you will work on, you are reconfirming your commitment to team goals and objectives.

#5 - Be Respectful

Do not talk over other conversations. Allow everyone to finish their report and wait for the floor to be passed to you. Do not exceed the 15 minutes for stand up meetings. Long updates should be saved for a later discussion. Typically I schedule 30 minute meetings with the first 15 minutes reserved for the stand up and the second 15 minutes reserved for additional conversations on impediments if they are needed. In that way anyone not involved in additional discussions can get back to their own tasks.

What are some practices you have employed to improve daily standup meetings? Let us know in the comments below!