Let’s start with a definition. A daily standup meeting is ‘a 15-minute, time-boxed event for the development team to plan for the next 24 hours’. In other words, it’s a routine update that keeps your developers in-sync.

Every daily standup revolves around three core questions:

  1. ‘What did you do yesterday?’
  2. ‘What will you do today?’
  3. ‘Anything blocking your progress?’

By this point, you can start to understand the three main benefits of holding a daily standup meeting. The updates help everyone understand who did what yesterday, what still needs to be done today, and is there anything specific that’s stopping a team member from tackling today’s tasks.

But while the purpose is relatively straightforward, running an effective daily standup meeting is anything but.

Here are the rules and best practices to follow to ensure every standup stays on-point.

Daily Standup Meeting: The 9 Best Practices To Live By

‘Rules and best practices’ may sound a little … dry. But they are crucial in avoiding a 15-minute update from morphing into an hour-long debate.

We’ve spoken to thousands of people who enjoy quick meetings that last no longer than ten minutes yet still get everyone on the same page — and they achieve this feat by sticking to the list of pointers we share below:

  1. Stand UP: it’s called a standup for a reason. If people are standing, they won’t want to stand for long, encouraging short, sharp updates.
  2. Speak one at a time: updates should arrive one-by-one, so only ever let one person speak. You can pass around a ball or a toy to show who’s in the hot-seat and feel free to pass it at random to avoid a specific order.
  3. Keep updates brief: if one individual slips into a blow-by-blow account of how they tackled a bug, the facilitator should gently nudge them to stick to only the most relevant details before passing the ball on to the next teammate.
  4. ‘Park’ items: if the standup loses focus and threatens to turn into a discussion, the facilitator can step in and say, ‘Let’s park that item for after the meeting’. Doing so avoids people getting side-tracked by a point, while the facilitator can list ‘parked’ items on a whiteboard and talk them through after the standup is over.
  5. Offer support: when a teammate talks about a problem that you’ve tackled before, don’t wait for them to report a blocker or ask for help — instead, offer support right away and help them out if they need it.
  6. Maintain attention: just because someone has finished their update, don’t let them disengage, play on their phone or leave the room. Everyone needs to pay attention in case they can help with a blocker. And it’s only a ten-minute meeting, so there should be no need to rush off.
  7. Avoid hangers-on: a daily standup is for the development team only. If someone hangs around to ‘listen in’, politely remind them to remain as a spectator only and stay quiet throughout the meeting.
  8. Play with timings: if you notice people are exhausted, unmotivated or unfocused during a daily standup meeting, consider moving the meeting to a different time of day. Different teams like to hold standups at different times of day, so it’s all about finding what works best for yours.
  9. Reward the right behaviour: when teammates turn up on time and stick to the allotted time-frame, find a way to reward them (no matter how small). Equally, if the meeting starts late or someone babbles on, use a penalty jar to collect fines and use the money to contribute to a team event.