It’s probably safe to say that, for standups, most of us have the same definition: short, synchronous meetings where team members come together, review progress, and triage new issues. But why do we need them?
Unfortunately, and commonly, only about 8% of leaders are good at aligning strategy with execution. This ends up creating an often messy situation around priorities, where questions abound, such as:
In order to get teams on the same page, various models have been developed over the past 10-20 years: the standup meeting and the scrum meeting. In reality, these are usually synonymous terms; often, teams will call their daily standup their “daily scrum.” If you want an extra degree of nuance into this discussion, one of the semantic differences in some organizations is that daily scrums are development team only, with no product owner participation and they look at the current sprint backlog.
In reality, the terms mean similar things: The goal is to get people on the same page for that day, so there is alignment around who is doing what, what is a priority versus what can wait, and any outstanding blockers and questions are addressed.Learn about Range for async team updates
The agenda of a standup meeting is designed to be short; ideally, it’s the same time each day and lasts about 15 minutes.
Pro tip: If you encounter an organization doing hour-long daily standups, which we at Range have seen on many occasions, those meetings are neither standups nor agile.
That brings up an important point about what standup meetings are not. Standup meetings are not a listing of every single thing people plan to do that day. They are not a listing of meetings and appointments. They are not a chance to have a back-and-forth conversation with one other team member you need something from. (That can happen after the standup meeting.)
Rather, standup meetings are designed as a focused way to align a team around what is happening in the business. They are a planning meeting, not a status meeting. Most daily standups go off the rails when they become a mishmash of everyone’s status for the workday.
The answer to this question varies by organization, but in general, there are three cornerstone questions that make up a standup or scrum meeting:
Here’s an example of how one might respond to these questions:
Quick and concise. Move to the next attendee.
If and when you’re back, co-located in an office with your team, some of the bigger offenses you can commit include:
Daily standup meetings work best when they are baked deeply into the process of the organization: Everyone arrives at a certain time, they begin at a certain time, and they last 15 minutes or less. If your team is working in the same office, broader issues and calendar discussions can happen between individuals before they return to their work areas after the standup is done.
Here are two basic rules that can help you avoid those common pitfalls that cause standups to be ineffective:
This is admittedly a challenge. While organizations have made leaps and bounds here in the past decade, overall remote buy-in to strategy, daily work, and culture are still somewhat nascent in many companies.
That said, if you are trying to engage remote team members or a hybrid team in a daily stand-up, remember the following:
Here is a great template you can follow for your daily standup agenda:
To make sure your whole team leaves each standup meeting aligned and focused, here are a few tips to remember:
Every month, the host of the daily standup — typically an account or project manager — should meet with senior leaders about what’s working well and not so well with the meeting. Solicit feedback and try to improve the process and the agenda for the benefit of everyone.
Range offers smart suggestions from the integrations with different tools, like GitHub and Asana, to make it easier for entire teams to collect and share work from all the various tools that are being used. You can also raise flags (e.g., blockers) within the product, which directs team members to items that need attention.
Overall, you can use Range to actually reduce the number of in-person standup and scrum meetings. You can do it all within Range, and save time for attendees to have those 1-on-1 discussions and tangents that always seem to derail the meeting.
Growth is good, but it can make knowing what your team is working on a serious challenge. Range will help your team plan and share daily Check-ins so that everyone remains in sync and aware of what’s happening.
So, if you’ve been experiencing challenges with your scrum or daily standup meeting — or if you’re simply looking to try a new approach — try us out and let us know what you think. You can learn more about how Range supports effective standups, create a free workspace, and be on your way to improving how your team runs daily stand-up meetings today.
Move status updates out of your daily standup and make meetings more productive with Check-ins. Create a free workspace today.