Daily Standup: Go beyond just standing up

Teams are moving to the idea of needing to connect and check-in with each other consistently. See what to do and what to avoid

January 25, 2022
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How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

More and more teams are moving to the idea of needing to connect and check in with each other more consistently. It makes a lot of sense, especially in this hybrid/remote work environment. Even though daily standups started as primarily an engineering team activity, there has been a lot of adoption amongst other teams. So what is a daily standup? At its core, daily standup in a short, concise team meeting focused around highlighting what a person has done the day before, what they are working on that day, and what they might need help with. The critical thing is to keep it short and to the point so that the team doesn't get distracted.

If having a good daily standup is so important, how do you make it not boring? Let's take a look at what habits often take the standup meeting from yay to nay. 

🚩 #1. Misalignment

The biggest offender is definitely misalignment amongst the team on what needs to be discussed. If people start talking about topics that are not related to other people's work in any way. Or perhaps something that only applies to 1 other teammate in a ten-person standup. What do you think the rest of the team is doing when that happens? 

Not ideal, I am sure you agree. 

This is important to catch and redirect because when that happens, teammates might mentally check out for the rest of the standup and miss essential updates.  So focus on discussing updates and issues relevant to everyone or almost everyone. Everything else can be taken offline. 

🚩🚩 #2. Too long 

Welcome to the era of 40-second attention spans. No one wants to be stuck in a meeting for an hour at the start of the day while important work/calls/tasks are not getting done. There are a few reasons why standups sometimes go on for too long:

  • Folks chatting about off-work topics (not a bad thing but can derail the meeting) 
  • Someone is rambling and takes 5 mins to find the end of the sentence. 

There were too many people at the meeting. According to the Scrum Guide, standups should be kept to a nine-person maximum. When teams run standups with overly large groups, it tends to be ineffective and go on much longer than people can pay attention to.

Solution - keep your standups at 15-20 min max and stick to that time. It might seem shocking at first, but it will help the team highlight the crucial updates and figure out the action plan sooner. 

🚩🚩🚩 #3: Solving problems right then and there 

Standup shouldn't be the time to solve a person's issues. Solving it right then and there or elaborating discussions after possible solutions is what tanks standup meetings' effectiveness. Sync after the meeting to go through the issue so that the standup is reserved for highlights and roadblocks. 

🚩🚩🚩 🚩#4: Not Listening to Teammates

Raise your hand if during standup you were either figuring out what you were going to say or doing something else entirely?

While this makes sense (since nobody wants to embarrass themselves or stumble during their turn), you will likely miss out on valuable information by not paying attention to other people's updates. Everyone'sEveryone's time is valuable, so encourage people to stop doing everything else and just pay attention to this meeting. 

🚩🚩🚩 🚩 🚩#5: Skipping Standups

Just because the meeting is internal does not mean it is any less valuable than a client-facing one. Make sure everyone treats the meeting with importance and can find value in connecting; also, not having an established daily standup routine and consistent meeting cadence can lead to people skipping/forgetting standups.

With the Daily Standup Flow, you can easily choose a cadence and time that works for your team long term. Long-term commitment = long- term results.

Now that you know what to avoid in your standup meetings, you can get the whole team onboard and more effective in no time. Ready, set, STANDUP.

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