How to facilitate effective daily stand-ups

Agile and scrum master, scrum training, agile training, servant leadership, Scrum Certification, Agile Certification, Scrum Certified

Have you ever been part of a daily stand-up meeting that left you feeling uninspired and unproductive? Daily stand-ups are a hot topic in the world of scrum and often create a sense of controversy.

It's not uncommon for teams to struggle with the purpose and frequency of these meetings. Some team members may feel uncomfortable with the daily routine, while others may be unclear on how to effectively run the stand-ups. It seems that everyone has their own thoughts and opinions on how these meetings should be conducted.

But don't let the differing viewpoints confuse you! In this article, we'll dive into all aspects of the daily stand-up and discover some simple rules that can help make your stand-ups a success.

Are you ready to learn how to facilitate effective daily stand-ups?


Rule 1: Same time, same place

Agile and scrum master, scrum training, agile training, servant leadership, Scrum Certification, Agile Certification, Scrum Certified

One important rule of daily stand-ups is to have them at the same time and in the same place.

Consistency is key! Imagine if you had to attend a daily meeting and its time and location changed randomly. Even if you added it to your calendar, you would probably still miss a few of them. 

This is because human beings naturally do best with rhythm and it can be seen in all aspects of our lives. Imagine yourself taking a train or ride at the same time and same place daily and that it changed randomly due to a number of reasons. How would you feel about it? Frustrated? Rushed? Missed reaching work on time? Feeling that the organizers and owners of the ride service should stretch out of their comfort zone, make standard rule and expect everyone to abide by those rules, right?

Remember, people have busy schedules and multiple commitments in their work and personal lives. What helps us human beings is to establish a rhythm with things that are routine. 

So, to avoid disruption and ensure maximum participation, it's best to stick to the same time and place for these meetings. Make sure everyone knows the schedule and adds it to their calendars. This will help everyone stay on track and attend the meetings regularly.


Rule2: Start on time

Starting daily standups on time is crucial for their effectiveness. This is because if you allow team members who are running late to dictate the start time, it sets a wrong precedent that can continue in the future. To ensure daily standups start on time, set working agreements and expect team members to adhere to them.

Agile and scrum master, scrum training, agile training, servant leadership, Scrum Certification, Agile Certification, Scrum CertifiedHere's one example from my experience. I was Scrum Master for a team where team members were consistently late for daily standups. To solve this, I brought it up in a retrospective and we agreed on some rules. 

The team decided that while the standup was scheduled for 10:00 AM, we would actually start at 10:02 AM to allow a two-minute buffer for team members to settle in. If someone arrived after 9:03 or later, they would put $1 in a piggy bank, which we called the food fund. 

This fund was meant to grow until we had around $20, at which point we would go to Starbucks together. This incentive worked, and the food fund stopped growing as people became more conscious of not losing their $1 on a regular basis.

Another example is from Mike Cohn, who used to hand a heavy ball to each team member while providing their plans and updates. The “heavy” ball would create a sense of discomfort and members avoided long conversations while talking

In one team I was coaching, the manager and product owner took a more stringent approach. He set a rule where if a team member was one minute late, they would put $1 in the piggy bank, two minutes late would result in $2, and three minutes or more would result in $3. One team member was unfazed by the $1 penalty, but when he started putting $3 in the piggy bank every day, he soon started running out of dollar bills and eventually started coming on time. These are just a few examples of how to start daily standups on time and ensure focused participation.


Rule 3: Keep till 15 minutes

Agile and scrum master, scrum training, agile training, servant leadership, Scrum Certification, Agile Certification, Scrum CertifiedOne of the reasons many team members have a negative view towards daily standup meetings is due to the fact that if not managed effectively, they can easily exceed the allotted time. In my experience, I have seen daily standup meetings go on for over 45 minutes, or even an hour, which can be frustrating for team members who would rather focus on completing their work.

To make sure this doesn't happen, it's important to understand the purpose of daily standups. These meetings are not for team members to give updates to their manager or the scrum master, but rather a time for the team to self-organize and plan their work for the next 24 hours. It's also a time to call out any impediments and ask for help.

The three rules mentioned earlier can have a positive impact on daily standups if they are implemented effectively and understood properly. However, if they are not, it can often be a result of the prevalent culture within the team or the entire organization.


Format of the daily standup

When it comes to the format of daily standup meetings, there has been some debate around the use of the three traditional questions. While some leaders believe these questions are too limited and can stifle creativity, I believe that they can be a useful starting point, especially for new teams that are just starting with Scrum. Additionally, even for high-performing teams, these questions can still be a valuable tool as long as they help the team regularly track its progress through the sprint.

What is important is that the purpose of the standup is clear, which is to allow the team to plan their work for the next 24 hours and to call out any impediments that need to be resolved. The standup should be kept short and focused, avoiding going over time and wasting valuable working hours.

Instead of outright rejecting the three questions, I suggest that influential leaders in the Scrum community should focus on addressing the underlying concerns and helping teams find new ways to get the most out of their standup meetings. This can be done by coaching and observing teams, rather than making blanket statements that could potentially disrupt the flow of a well-functioning team.

 Daily standups are planning meetings for the day.

Agile and scrum master, scrum training, agile training, servant leadership, Scrum Certification, Agile Certification, Scrum Certified

Daily standups are planning meetings for the day (or next 24 hours)  where team members discuss their plan for the day, what they have accomplished so far, and how they plan to move forward towards achieving the sprint goals. This provides a platform for team members to come together and work towards a common goal. 

To make daily standups more effective, there are a few good ideas that can be implemented.

One idea is for team members to pair up and own a few stories in the sprint. This helps in promoting accountability and encouraging team members to work together. It also helps reduce silos and encourages cross functionality.

Another idea is to discuss stories from right to left on the board, starting with the stories closest to completion. This helps in increasing the process efficiency as stories would get completed faster (as opposed to lingering in ‘work in progress’ forever)

The third idea is to focus on finishing stories rather than just starting them(‘Stop starting, start finishing’). 

This attitude also helps in increasing process efficiency and positively impacting velocity. 

The fourth idea is to focus on the sprint goal(s) during daily standups. The sprint goal acts as a north star for the team, guiding the team conversation, collaboration strategy.

 Finally, the daily standup should end with team members having a good plan of execution for the next 24 hours.


In conclusion, daily stand-ups can be effective if teams follow a few simple rules. These include meeting at the same time and place, starting on time, and keeping the meeting under 15 minutes. By implementing these rules, teams can stay focused and productive during their daily stand-ups. The format of the stand-up can also be useful, particularly the three traditional questions, which can help new teams track their progress. However, it is crucial that the purpose of the meeting is clear to ensure that the team can self-organize, plan their work for the next 24 hours, and call out any impediments. With these guidelines in mind, teams can make their daily stand-ups more effective, efficient, and valuable for everyone involved. What other rules do you think could help make daily stand-ups more effective?

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Enter E-mail Address

We promise to keep your email address safe. You can check our Privacy Policy.

Patrick Foster

Agile Coach

Patrick Foster

I’m a leader who serves as an Agile Coach in organizations.

I help senior leadership plan long-term strategic decisions while embracing the Agile mindset.

I also work with teams to help them become self organizing on their journey of providing value to the customers.

I see my clients as creative, resourceful, and whole and I’m here to walk alongside them to achieve business outcomes.

Elena Vassilieva

Innovation Leader Coach & Agile Transformation Adviser

Elena Vassilieva is an executive leadership coach who uses virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate sustainable and immersive feedback for conscious leadership development. Elena integrates principles of Conversational and Emotional IQ and Systemic Team coaching with an Agile/Lean empirical approach to create a personalized holistic coaching
experience. Drawing on her years of training, mentoring, and coaching executives and teams in Agile transformation, she now serves as a trusted advisor for thought leaders who engage in digital transformation.
Elena is an experienced people development leader known for her ability to creatively align business strategy to people’s practices while keeping a passionate focus on workplace culture and values.
Elena is an ICF Certified Coach, ORSC, and AoEC Certified Systemic Team Coach, Certified Visionary Leadership Coach.
As the Scrum Alliance Certified Coach and Certified Agile Leadership Educator, Elena is teaching, training, and coaching teams and individuals to become great Agile professionals and Agile leaders. She brings together diverse and passionate voices dedicated to developing thriving workplace cultures, creating joy and value with the Agile approach, and embracing the agile mindset in work and life environments.
Elena works with leaders and teams around the globe, helping them engage in digital transformation and mapping out powerful organizational shifts to create a sustainable culture focused on learning and innovation. She helps executives in global companies find alignment around cultural and social diversity and aligns around shared purpose, shared values, and business goals.
Elena blends her diverse experiences as a trusted advisor, professional consultant, coach, researcher, and VR documentary producer.

Alireza Boloorchi

PhD in Computer Science

Alireza Boloorchi is passionate about efficiency for the whole. He believes leadership is about the courage in sacrificing localized efficiency for a greater goal. For the last 12 years, he has been helping several large and small organizations to adopt/adapt more efficient process using Agile/Lean values and principles.

He received his PhD in Computer Science and is Certified Scrum Professional by Scrum Alliance. His experience is rooted in software engineering followed up in roles such as Scrum Master, Agile coach, ENT Agile coach, and leadership in Agile organizations.

He has worked/consulted in several industries such as Finance, Game, Semiconductor, manufacturing , etc. Academia has been an important part of his professional life, and He is researching and teaching Agile in the academia as an Adjunct Professor at Oklahoma State University. And serves as reviewer for several journals such as Journal of Super Computing, Network Systems, and Information Science.

Zach Bonaker

Benevolent Trouble-maker

Zach Bonaker is a “benevolent trouble-maker” based in San Diego, California, USA and has more than 10 years of experience assisting organizations with achieving their goals through improved working conditions and team-centric systems of work. With experience guiding Fortune 500 companies to multi-million dollar startups, Zach draws upon agile principles, relationships, and systems thinking to redesign structures into safe, collaborative environments. Zach is an international conference speaker, frequent podcast guest, and contributor to the global agile community. When he isn’t thinking about next-generation agile ideas, Zach can be found enjoying the sunny California weather and connecting with people all over the world.

Michael de la Maza

PhD, MIT, CEC, Co founder

Michael de la Maza is the founder of Heart Healthy Scrum and a Scrum Alliance Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC). Previously, he was VP of Corporate Strategy at Softricity (acquired by Microsoft in 2006) and co-founder of Inquira (acquired by Oracle in 2011). He is the co-editor of Agile Coaching: Wisdom from Practitioners and co-author of Professional Scrum with TFS 2010 and Why Agile Works: The Values Behind The Results. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from MIT.

Jeff Patton

Chief Troublemaker

Jeff Patton helps companies adopt a way of working that’s focused on building great products, not just building stuff faster. Jeff blends a mixture of Agile thinking, Lean and Lean Startup Thinking, and UX Design and Design Thinking to end up with a holistic product-centric way of working. Jeff is author of the bestselling O’Reilly book User Story Mapping which describes a simple holistic approach to using stories in Agile development without losing sight of the big picture.

Jeff’s a Certified Scrum Trainer, and winner of the Agile Alliance’s 2007 Gordon Pask Award for contributions to Agile Development. You can learn more about Jeff, and find essays and past writing from his columns with, Better Software Magazine, and IEEE Software on his website: 

Amitabh Sinha

Execution Strategy Advisor, CTC

Amitabh (Amit) Sinha is a servant leader entrepreneur, visionary, mentor, trainer and coach. Amit is highly passionate about Agile, it’s principles, values, and the human side. Amit is a people champion and strives to bring out the best in his teams. Amit leverages his expertise in Agile, Scrum, Kanban and people skills to increase team effectiveness and happiness.

Amit has had huge success in transforming teams, departments and organizations. He has led, coached, nurtured and trained hundreds of teams into high performance and happiness! Amit’s teams have often been noted for their high levels of exuberance. Amit helps Scrum Masters, Product Owners, leaders and executives understand the Agile mindset and how to create effective products that delight customers. 

Amit contributes to the community by speaking at various forums and meetups to share his knowledge and wisdom with others. He delivered a popular workshop on happiness and productivity at the global Agile conference August 2019(AA 2019, DC). Amit lives with his wife and three boys in Palo Alto, California.

Rakesh Sadhwani

Business Strategy Advisor

Rakesh Sadhwani is an entrepreneur, businessman, and technical leader who possesses a wealth of industry experience and know-how.  He currently serves as the CEO of an award winning, Bay Area technical staffing and solutions firm, Vertisystem. Rakesh’s expertise includes on-shoring and off-shoring, staff augmentation, business strategy, business development and creating valued partnerships.

What sets Rakesh apart as a leader is his dedication to the relationship first, his genuine commitment to the community, enabling his staff’, and a commitment to doing what is right.  Rakesh is a true partner who sincerely listens and endeavors to deliver value above and beyond your expectations. Rakesh lives with his wife and two daughters in Fremont, California.