Daily Standup Meetings: Top Tips To Make Them More Effective

How effective are your current daily standup meetings? Check out these tips to re-energize and make them even better.

August 22, 2022
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Everybody hates meetings. Well, almost everybody. 

According to this report, the average worker spends up to three hours in weekly meetings. The same report shows that 71% of those meetings are considered unproductive. This is because most meetings are not organized, focused, or fun. 

Are your daily standup meetings part of these statistics? You can fix that.

This article will outline practical ways to make daily standup meetings more effective for your team. And you’ll be back to hosting effective standups with preparation, experimentation, and motivation. 

Let’s break it down.

What is a Daily Standup Meeting?

A daily standup meeting is a short meeting where teams come together to align and ensure everyone stays productive. Standups typically hold daily and last about 15 minutes. They are often called daily scrum, daily huddles, or daily check-ins. 

Traditionally, team members are required to stand during these short meetings and report on their progress. Standing up during the meeting is typically an incentive to keep it short, but an effective team standup goes beyond standing. 

They’re an efficient way to overcome roadblocks, share progress, boost productivity and stay aligned as a team. When done correctly, daily standups help teams set priorities, share task status, and get help with any roadblocks they may face. Although they are most common in software companies and organizations that use agile development methods, they have become useful in other industries.

Since daily standups are typically short, specific things should (and should not) be discussed.

Let’s explore some of them.

What Should be Discussed in a Daily Standup?

An effective daily standup meeting should explore these questions:

  1. What Did You Do Yesterday?

It is important that every participant answers this question at the standup meeting. Its goal is to elaborate on the productivity of each team member on the previous day. If a team member gives a similar answer to this question for several days in a row, it indicates non-progress. And the team lead will know where to focus more attention. 

  1. What Are You Working On Today?

This question ensures the effectiveness of a standup meeting. It helps team members tell what tasks they plan to work on that day. The answer to this question should technically be the answer to question one the next day. One or two short sentences should suffice. 

  1. What Roadblocks Are In Your Way?

In most cases, this is the last question that participants should answer during a standup meeting. The aim is to identify the blockers to each member’s productivity. It is common for participants to delve into problem-solving conversations at this point, resulting in longer meetings. To avoid this, have team members answer in one short sentence. 

When a blocker is identified, the team lead can make quick recommendations and move on to the next question.

Assembly focuses on making every meeting productive! Watch the video below to create an effective workflow for your next Team Standup.

Book a demo to learn how Assembly’s daily/weekly agenda template can help you add structure, visibility, and consistency to your workflow.

What Should Not Be Discussed in a Daily Standup?

Some key things to not discuss during a standup meeting include:

  1. How To Solve a Problem or Challenge

Engaging in problem-solving or elaborate conversations during a standup can make it ineffective. The best way to tackle a blocker is to schedule another meeting with the teammates directly involved in that task. 

  1. Non-relevant Information

Having conversations about things unrelated to other people’s work is one way to run a standup to the ground. Nobody would like to listen to information that does not apply to them directly. 

That time can be spent working on tasks or solving other problems. When team members hear discussions they don’t need to be present for, they tend to check out mentally and may miss critical updates.

  1. Team Member Feedback

The standup meeting is not a performance review meeting. So, it’s not the time to give team feedback, except when absolutely necessary.

Whether good or bad, managers can give employee feedback at a different meeting or one-on-one. This will ensure that the meeting doesn’t exceed its typical 15-minute mark and everyone can get to work still energized.

What Is The True Value of a Standup Meeting?

A team standup is about collaboration, organization, and transparency. The actual value of a standup meeting is in facilitating teamwork, camaraderie, and achievement of organizational goals. 

An effective standup meeting should bring roadblocks to light and keep every team member in the loop if anyone needs to jump in and help. It ensures that everyone focuses in the same direction.

Now, how do you ensure that standups stay valuable and efficient?

7 Ways To Make Your Daily Standups More Effective

  1. Keep it short, small and focused
  2. Have an agenda
  3. Use templates to guide your standup
  4. Infuse some fun
  5. Use a checklist to speed things up
  6. Gather feedback
  7. Try an asynchronous approach

  1. Keep it Short, Small and Focused

The longer your standup meeting goes on, the less productive it becomes. It should not run long enough for attendees to get uncomfortable standing.

You should also consider the number of attendees. For example, if your standup has more than 15 participants, they each have less than 1 minute to speak. If you have a large team, the best approach is to rearrange teams so everyone can attend a smaller, more effective standup.

  1. Have An Agenda

Consistently having an effective standup meeting requires creating a routine that works. And learning how to write effective agendas is the first step to achieving that. 

The daily standup meeting agenda should be ready before the meeting. This helps all stakeholders understand what to expect during the meeting. It also ensures that everyone is focused and productive.

An agenda should typically outline who should attend the standup, where and when the standup will hold, and the discussion.

You should aim at organizing something that fits your team’s personalities, organizational goals, and the company’s culture. 

Book a demo to learn how Assembly’s daily/weekly agenda template can help you add structure, visibility, and consistency to your workflow.

  1. Use Templates To Guide and Re-energize Your Standup

Templates are another way to ensure efficiency and productivity. With a daily standup meeting template, you can help team members align and work better together. 

A standup meeting template can help you facilitate the meeting process easily, keep track of plans and overall progress, and highlight areas that need managerial input. It’s also an excellent tool for improving transparency. 

Assembly’s customizable Standup Meeting workflow has helped several teams have effective standups and achieve company goals. Book a demo to learn how to customize it to fit the unique needs of your team.

  1. Infuse Some Fun

Injecting fun into the meeting is a great way to keep attendees engaged. Some simple ways to keep the meeting fun and energetic are:

  • Playing a catchy song, meme, or joke at the start of the meeting.
  • Having a token item that teammates can pass to the person whose turn it is to speak.
  • Having a team cheer that members can chant to sign off at the end of the meeting.
  1. Use a Checklist to Speed Things Up

Hosting a standup unprepared is a recipe for disaster. With no agenda, the meeting is bound to drag on and become unproductive. Checklists can help you ensure that you’re prepared and that everyone else is ready to go. You can also use checklists during the meeting to keep track of key information.

Some key items to check off your list are:

  • Attendance (take note of absent team members and why)
  • Updates (take note of each attendees task update)
  • Confirm outputs (confirm general understanding of individual and iteration progress)
  1. Gather Feedback

Set aside time to find out how participants feel about the ideas, tasks, and suggestions discussed during the standup. You can do this with a follow-up meeting. The feedback gathered from your team can help you improve the flow of your standups to better align with the needs of your team.

Be sure to ask for suggestions on how to better empower the team. This way, you can initiate a holistic conversation that will help improve your next standup.

  1. Try an Asynchronous Approach

Standups do not need to have a synchronized time and place. It helps to mix things up from time to time to avoid monotony. Just make sure to carry everyone along. You can even have attendees vote on the venue and time for the next standup. 

For remote or hybrid teams, you could choose to host standups on Slack instead of video conferencing. To make this work, pick a time when the questions need to be answered.

Although the status update won’t be as immediate as with a physical/daily standup, you will get every member of the team to participate, regardless of their location. 

Get The Most Out Of Your Standup

While it might be a simple 15-minute daily routine, your standup is an incredibly valuable tool.

When run effectively, standup meetings can help your team figure out how to achieve the company’s goals. They’re also a perfect opportunity for fostering a richer team culture among employees.

While there's no single strategy for instituting daily standup meetings, getting to the point quickly and talking in a language everyone understands is the key to getting the most out of it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at support@joinassembly.com.

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

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