If you’ve ever watched a football game you know what happens before kickoff — the huddle.
Both teams gather in a tight circle, but they’re not gathering to talk about the season finale of Stranger Things. They’re strategizing and making a plan for the upcoming play.
Huddles in football are like daily Scrums — daily meetings that allow teams to coordinate their plans for the day.
You may be familiar with the concept of daily Scrums. But what does a daily Scrum actually entail and how do you run an effective meeting?
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at what daily Scrum is and how to plan a daily meeting with your Agile team. We’ll also give you an actionable template you can use to plan and run an effective daily Scrum meeting.
What is a daily Scrum?
A daily Scrum or “stand up meeting” is a short meeting (usually 15 minutes or less) where a team gets together to share progress updates. It helps you create a plan for the day and measure progress made during sprints.
The focus of a daily stand up meeting is to answer just 3 questions:
- What did you accomplish yesterday?
- What are you working on today?
- Are you facing any roadblocks?
Daily Scrum meetings are held each day at the same time, usually in the morning. They allow the entire team to keep tabs on what everyone is working on. It makes collaboration easier.
The daily Scrum is an essential piece of the Scrum framework.
In case you’re not familiar, or need a refresher, let’s provide a quick recap of Scrum before we continue.
Scrum is a framework that helps teams work faster. It’s based on the Agile methodology which takes an iterative approach to delivering projects.
Work is split up into “sprints” — short periods of time (typically 2 weeks to a month) where teams focus on one part of a project.
Here’s an example of how teams use monday.com to plan their sprints:
The work that teams focus on in each sprint is determined during Agile planning sessions. Once a sprint is complete, the team then works on the next sprint.
The Scrum framework allows teams to break down projects into smaller components and work on them over shorter periods. When done right, the end result is faster delivery of projects.
But getting everyone on the same page is key to keeping things on the right track when you’re moving fast. And it’s not always easy, especially for more complex projects.
Daily Scrum s enable you and your team to stay in sync and focused. But, they’re most effective when they have a clear structure.
How do you run a daily Scrum meeting?
Whether you’re working on a major product update or squashing bugs in your application, a daily stand up meeting can help you better plan your work.
Here’s how to run an effective daily Scrum meeting.
#1: Narrow down the attendees
Daily Scrum meetings work best when they involve a small team. It makes communication between individual team members easier and keeps things more close-knit.
The more people you add, the more likely for distractions, drawn out meetings, and wandering off topic.
A Scrum team typically consists of the following roles:
- The Scrum master: The Scrum master facilitates the Scrum framework and helps the development team solve any problems they may run into. But not every team needs this role. We don’t have a Scrum master at monday.com. Everyone is self-managed.
- The product owner: The product owner defines what the final product will look like. This individual helps translate the client’s needs and wants into defined features and functions. They also oversee the management and prioritization of the product backlog (list of features).
- The development team: The development team is the people who do the actual work to turn vision into reality. They’re the ones who execute the sprints and produce the product increments.
If someone doesn’t fit into one of these roles, they shouldn’t be in your daily Scrum meeting.
#2: Schedule a time and place
Ideally, Scrum meetings should be held in the same time and place to establish a consistent schedule.
First thing in the morning tends to be most useful as it helps get everyone on the same page before starting the day.
If your team primarily does remote work and you have people in multiple time zones, it can get a bit trickier to find the perfect time. But, you can and should still meet virtually with your distributed team every day.
Our team at monday.com uses Zoom for their daily standup meetings.
#3: Set a fixed time limit
A lot of time is spent (and wasted) on meetings.
Professionals waste an average of 2 hours a week on unnecessary meetings. That’s valuable time that’s better spent on more productive work.Just like the football huddle, daily Scrum meetings are meant to be short. This isn’t the time to catch up on the latest celebrity gossip.
Set a time limit of 15 minutes to keep things as focused as possible.
You can even display a giant timer somewhere for the whole team to see to encourage everyone to keep it short and sweet.
#4: Focus on the 3 main points
Daily Scrum meetings work because they’re tightly focused — there’s no fluff.
Each meeting should always focus on the following 3 questions:
- What did you accomplish yesterday?
- What are you planning to work on today?
- Are you facing any roadblocks?
Team members take turns answering the three questions. Each person should be prepared to answer these questions before walking into the meeting to keep things going as efficiently as possible.
Unless someone’s run into a significant roadblock, it should take no more than 90 seconds each to give an update.
#5: Note down issues in a “parking lot”
Issues are important to bring up, but they may not affect the whole team, and you might not be able to solve them within your 15-minute time frame.
So attempting to address them in a daily Scrum meeting isn’t a productive use of time.
Instead, add any issues that can’t be quickly resolved to a “parking lot” — a space where you note down issues or topics to address at a later time.
This can be a section of a whiteboard dedicated solely to issues. Or you can use Agile management software to record and track roadblocks that team members are experiencing.
Here’s an example of how teams use monday.com to track issues and view their status:
After the daily stand up, schedule another meeting with the affected individuals to tackle those issues.
How to optimize your daily Scrum meetings even further
There’s a lot going on in the Scrum framework — iteration planning, sprints, tasks, meetings, etc. Keeping track of everything isn’t easy, especially when you have larger teams working on complex projects.
Before the meeting, your team needs to be able to understand and quickly sum up their answers to the 3 main questions. You don’t need someone spending 10 minutes trying to explain a roadblock.
During the meeting, everyone on the team also needs a way to follow along.
When someone on the Scrum team is answering the 3 questions, everyone else has to be able to quickly understand how it impacts them and their plan for the day.
If no one can see how their daily plan interacts with the others, everyone might as well give their updates to the mirror and skip the meeting.
Using a sprint dashboard solves these problems.
Check it before the meeting to pinpoint what (and who) else in the sprint might hold you up today.
Then refer to it in the meeting during updates. So everyone can see a visual of what people are talking about and how it falls in line with their own work.
This daily task tracker template will help everyone highlight what they’re working on, and where they need to draw people’s attention.
You can even put your updates in the comments section if you’re worried you might forget what you were planning to say.
Daily Scrum meetings keep your team in sync and facilitate collaboration as you work towards the sprint goal. Follow the steps described here to run more effective stand up meetings.
Then use the daily task tracker or this Scrum sprint planning template to plan and track your next daily Scrum meeting.
Both templates are fully customizable. Add additional items or rearrange any of the blocks to fit your team and workflow.