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Daily Stand-Up's do make a difference

Daily Stand-Up's
Daily Stand-Up's

Why stand-up meetings?

Stand-Up meetings became a thing when the University of Missouri published a paper in 1999 about an experiment they did with 555 students broken into 11 groups. Half the student groups assembled in rooms with no furniture (no chairs), and the other half in regular meeting rooms. The ones in standing meetings were 34 percent faster than those in the seated meetings, although there were no significant differences in quality. One reason could be the "power pose" theory by Social Psychologists Amy Cuddy. Standing in a posture of confidence can boost feelings of confidence and might impact our chances for success. Still not convinced - sitting or sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of Type II Diabetes (Reference: Research 1 and Research 2

What is Daily Scrum?

It's a technique from Scrum Methodology for teams to meet daily for 15 minutes (ideal scenario) to provide status updates on work progress. The team members do this by speaking in turn while standing. Each member will describe what they have completed, working on now and if they have any issues. The only reference for all this is the Daily Scrum Board, which is a physical board on the wall (more about this later)

Daily Scrum Board, Explained

Daily Scrum Board
Daily Scrum Board

A Scrum Board is a large enough board on the wall (again, ideally) divided into five sections - Category, To-Do's, Work-In-Progress (WIP), Done and Issues. The sections are pretty self-explanatory, but just in case, the tasks you have not started go into To-Do's and the ones currently in progress are under WIP. Anything completed goes to Done, but if any of the tasks hit an issue, it goes to Issues.

Getting started.

You don't have to be a true practitioner of Scrum to start with Daily Scrums, and you don't even need to call it Daily Scrums. Instead, call it Daily Huddles or Daily Wall-Up's or Dailies.

Create the Team To-Do's
Create the Team To-Do's

Step 1: Set-up the board.

  1. Define the Goal of the project or job at hand. For example - you are part of the communication team in your organisation, and you have a monthly newsletter to deliver. The Goal is to send the digital copy of the newsletter to all employees by month-end.

  2. Define the Categories of work. Create logical categories, Knowledge "Articles", "News Articles", "Announcements" or if you prefer, by stages of the work like "Content Sourcing", "Drafting", "Editing" etc.

  3. Populate the To-Do's. The team members can start populating all the tasks they need to perform to meet the Goal by categories. Keep it simple (one word if you can) and a single job per post-it note.

  4. Get a Facilitator or Scrum Master if you are part of Scrum Team. This is an important role, especially when the team is starting. He/She will facilitate the timing and flow, even if it's just for 15 mins.

First Daily Scrum is not going to be easy
First Daily Scrum is not going to be easy

Step 2: Have the first meeting.

  1. The first meeting will be longer but must focus on getting everyone to list tasks they will start working on now.

  2. As a general guide on selecting tasks to work on first, select based on priority and dependencies with other tasks on the board.

Schedule Daily Scrums
Daily Scrums Should be Scheduled

Step 3: Keep it regular.

  1. Schedule it to be regular and aim to keep it short (~15 mins)

  2. It takes discipline, but the Facilitator must ensure everyone speaks and no discussions happen during the session. Take those discussions offline, especially on issues.

Daily Scrums are a Habit for the team
Daily Scrums are a Habit for the team


1. Daily Scrum is a habit at a Team level. Like every habit, build a trigger like scheduling and a reward at the end like recognition.

2. You could also try the stick approach - set up a fine for those who don't turn up or even if they are late.

3. The Facilitator should not be the "boss". The team shouldn't feel like they are reporting to the Facilitator. Get someone neutral but can command the team's attention, especially when lengthy discussions start happening or if there are constant interruptions.

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