5 daily standup killers and how to avoid them

Published on
July 5, 2022

A strong daily standup routine can be one of the most effective ways to drive team productivity and wellbeing. However, establishing and maintaining healthy meeting habits is a lot harder than it sounds. In this article, we'll walk through the 5 most common issues that dev teams face in daily standups, and how Spinach can function as your AI Scrum Master, keeping all your meetings on track, solving some of these common standup killers, and supercharging your team's productivity.

First let's jump into what you need to be on the lookout for. Most dev teams struggle with at least one of the 5 common pitfalls listed below.

1. Drifting off topic

In daily standup, you should share relevant updates and identify blockers. Sounds simple enough…but many dev teams find it hard to stay on topic.  It's common for standup to turn into a status update where people are sharing actions that have nothing to do with the release (ie. "Yesterday I had a meeting with my manager" or "I took an HR course"). Few things frustrate top producers more than people who drone on about irrelevant topics during standup.

2. Winging it

Most people do not prepare for meetings. And standup is no exception. So when it comes time to share your updates, you either ramble or you forget to share an important piece of info.  When people are not prepared, it's very common for our long-winded teammates to take center stage, think as they speak, stray off topic, and burn the clock. It's also very common for people to feel anxious about sharing updates when they are not prepared.

3. Too much detail

When technical teams are heads-down in a big project, it’s tempting for the focus to shift from sharing a tangible result to sharing how technical puzzles were solved. Talking about the inner-workings of a coding problem is dialogue that’s best left for another time, and not during daily standup.

4. Wasting time waiting

Not to get all "hall-monitor" on everyone, but another pitfall that plagues daily standup is a lenient attitude regarding start time. When people are stuck waiting on team members who don’t show up on time, it discourages them from showing up on time too. Some people have zero patience for chronically late coworkers. This tug of war between punctual people and those more cavalier towards the clock creates an incentive for the punctual folks to ignore meetings, tune out, or multi-task.

5. Lack of consistency

Most people who are really good at something do that something consistently.  You want to get good at guitar or learn a new language? You got to practice consistently. This rule applies to building healthy meeting habits as well.  Many teams lack a clear and consistent structure for their standup and team syncs.  If the team doesn't know what structure to expect, it's hard to get into a good flow.

☘️ 3 easy steps to avoid these standup pitfalls

Provide a clear structure

There is no right or wrong way to structure your standup. That said, most teams use a simple YTB approach (Yesterday, Today, Blocker). By having a clear and consistent structure, and starting on time, the team knows what to expect and can get into a good rhythm.

Think before you meet

Taking 2 minutes to think about your update helps clarify your thoughts and articulate more succinctly with less anxiety. To help build this habit, Spinach has a Slack integration that triggers reminders. The process is quick and painless using the Spinach "My Updates" feature, which captures each person's updates in one place using intuitive prompts.

Keep tabs on time

Protecting your team’s time is critical when resources are already stretched thin, so daily standup meetings should be around 15 minutes. Spinach has a timer for each person’s update which creates awareness of how much you have to cover, and how long you've been speaking.

Read More: How to Run and Effective Daily Standup

Try Spinach to optimize your daily standup

When it comes to daily standup meetings, having the right software on your team is an essential tool for success. Spinach is your AI Scrum Master, built specifically to help accelerate your dev team. Spinach creates smart meeting agendas that keep your team on track. Plus, having Spinach at your meetings is like having an AI-powered assistant that takes perfect notes, curates action items, identifies blockers, and assigns tickets, so no detail falls through the cracks. No more forgetting what was said in a standup meeting, or having to go back through a long recording or transcript to find what you're looking for. Spinach handles all the details, so you can focus on delivering results.

Learn how Spinach.io can help you run faster, more-effective daily standups. Try Spinach for free!

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