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7 tips to improve your standup


1. Check your time.

Five minutes is too little, this means people are rattling off tasks but not really communicating. More than 15 minutes is too long, usually this indicates that some people are going into deep discussions which can be parked until after the standup.

2. Who is there?

Only people working on tasks with the team and the team should be there. Personally I think the Product Owner should be there as often as possible. IF you have more than 10 people in your standup its too big. Indicators are that most people don’t know what others are working on and so lose interest.

3. The 3 questions

The three questions: What did you do yesterday? What will you do today? Do you have any impediments? Each person should be answering these everyday. It helps if each person spends a few minutes before the standup thinking about what they will share and comes to the meeting prepared. It’s also important to listen to each person. When someone has been working on the same task for a few days, they should be offered assistance, and encouraged to break the task down.

4. Impediments

Most people answer that they have no impediments and yet the words they use indicate there are many. Take a look at our free impediments video to learn how to listen for these words. We also have a great fourth question you can ask that will help uncover impediments.

5. Updating the board and burndown

The people doing the work need to control the board. It is their board. So if the ScrumMaster is doing this, get them to stop. Ask the team to update the board to reflect what they have just said during the standup. At the end of the standup, ask someone to update the burndown chart – which should be visible at all times, preferably next to the board and not in some online tool.

6. Checking the commitment expectations

Often teams have a great sprint except for the last 2 days when they realise they are not going to finish all their commitments. As soon as the burndown chart has been updated (by someone in the team)  ask the team if they are on track to meet their sprint commitment. If not, ask them what they can do to get back on track. Often a quick conversation with a Product Owner can result in simplification of a story in order to have it completed within the sprint. This is also an indication that the team could and should break down their stories smaller.

7. Start on time, same time everyday

Its much easier to attend a meeting if it is same time and same place everyday. Always start on time, even if there is only one person there. As the others arrive, don’t catch them up. Soon the team will learn to arrive on time and respect each others time and commitment to the meeting.