Daily standup meetings present an opportunity to share updates with your team, form stronger team bonds, coordinate collaborative tasks, and more. However, without a well-defined meeting agenda, it’s easy to veer off course. If you want to see how bad it can get, just type "daily standup" into Reddit and enjoy the comment section.
Creating an agenda for your daily standup meetings is very simple and allows you to better align the meetings with business goals and ensures that they’re targeted and purposeful. In this complete guide to planning daily standup meetings, we’ll show you how to create a simple meeting agenda that your entire team will enjoy.
Why standup meetings should follow an agenda
You might be wondering why agile standup meetings need an agenda if the meeting is already short to begin with. Simply put, without an agenda you don’t have any guarantee the meeting will stay short – or even accomplish its goals.
Below are a few of the ways that following an agenda during your standup meetings can help unlock their true potential.
Clarity of purpose
From meeting time to check-ins to the specific goals, impediments, and updates the meeting will cover, a meeting agenda sets a clear purpose for the standup.
This makes it easier for you, as the meeting leader, to keep the meeting focused and aligned with business objectives. It also helps your team understand the purpose of the meeting so that they can appreciate its importance and stay engaged.
Efficiency and focus
Creating an agenda for your daily standup meetings keeps everyone on point and on time. It sets clear expectations about what needs to be discussed, promoting an environment where the essential updates take center stage, and distractions get left at the door. As a result, your team can come in focused and ready to contribute.
Proper time management
One big benefit of agile standup meetings is the fact that they are brief and to the point. But without a well-structured agenda, what should be laser-focused standup meetings can often start to meander.
A good agenda helps ensure that you spend every minute of the meeting discussing important topics and that none of the brief time you have available is wasted.
Ensuring equitable participation
In a team meeting, it’s easy for some voices to hoard the spotlight while others go unheard. However, the best ideas typically come when everyone is engaged and participating.
Setting an agenda for your standup meetings allows you to structure the meeting in a way that encourages team-wide participation. With an agenda, you can set aside time to hear from everyone in the room.
Understanding the structure of a standup meeting
Now that we've looked at why an agenda is key to a productive standup, let's dive a little deeper into the structure of a good meeting, and why it makes a difference.
Standup meetings go by many names in the tech world. Some call them daily scrum meetings, while others refer to them as daily huddles, morning roll calls, or quick syncs. The names might vary, but the purpose stays the same: to synchronize, to share updates, and to prepare for what lies ahead.
Whether you're calling it a morning roll call or a quick sync, the essence of a standup is in its structure. And yes, that structure revolves around a clear, concise agenda.
The 3 common standup meeting questions
If you've ever attended a standup meeting, you'll probably recognize these three simple yet powerful questions. They form the heart of the meeting, driving the conversation and helping you zero in on what matters.
What did you do yesterday? This isn't just casual small talk—it's a way of recapping your progress and showing your contributions to the team. This keeps everyone in the loop about what you've been up to and how it's pushing the project forward.
What will you do today? This is all about setting clear intentions for the day ahead. It helps each team member articulate their priorities and ensures the whole team understands where their efforts will be focused.
What blockers are in your way? Here's where we air our dirty laundry. This is the opportunity for everyone to voice any obstacles they face that might hinder progress. Being open about these issues means they can be addressed promptly, ensuring they don't snowball into more significant problems down the line.
These three questions form the essence of any standup meeting, helping maintain focus and progress. But remember, they're more than just a formality. They're tools to foster transparency, communication, and cooperation within your team.
The answers to your three standup questions can also generate action items and new tickets for your team. If you need help tracking decisions, actions, and blockers, consider using Spinach.io, the AI Scrum Master that integrates seamlessly with existing tools, helping you lead effective, engaging standups.
Typical standup responses
Now, let's put ourselves in the shoes of a team member in a software development project. Here's how we might respond to those three pivotal standup questions:
What did you do yesterday? "Yesterday, I finalized the design for the new user profile page, incorporating feedback from our UX review. I also collaborated with the backend team to ensure we're aligned on the data points needed for this feature."
What will you do today? "Today, I'll start working on coding the front end for the new user profile page. I'll also attend the API integration meeting with the backend team to discuss the data exchange for this feature."
What blockers are in your way? "I'm waiting on final approval from the product team on the design elements. I'll need this before I can complete the front-end coding. I've already flagged this for them and hope to have the green light by end of day."
These responses are clear, concise, and stick to the point, making it easy for the agile team to understand your status, plans, and any potential roadblocks. Remember, clarity and brevity are key. You're aiming to keep everyone updated, not to delve into every minute detail of your workday.
What does a good standup meeting look like?
The first step to creating an effective daily standup meeting agenda is understanding the secret sauce that makes daily standups beneficial. With that in mind, here are a few key characteristics that define a good standup meeting:
Brief and focused
Standup meetings are brief—typically around 15 minutes. With so little time to spare, these meetings need to be highly focused. You can set aside time for things like icebreakers, check-ins, and team bonding. But you should always keep your meetings moving quickly and focused on the task at hand.
Regular and predictable
Standup meetings should ideally occur at the same time and place every day, and they should follow the same basic schedule or agenda. This regularity not only fosters a sense of routine but also allows team members to plan their day effectively.
By knowing when and what to expect from the standup, team members can come prepared and ready to contribute.
Uses tools and visual aids
The right tools and visual aids can make standup meetings more engaging and help team members digest information quickly. Visual aids, such as charts and graphs, can help you clearly illustrate the meeting’s key points and also cater to different learning and communication styles.
Tools like Spinach.io allow you to streamline and focus your meetings even further by automating key tasks like meeting summaries or action items.
Spinach.io is an AI-powered Scrum Master that helps you hold purposeful, effective daily standups. It includes features like instant meeting notes sent to email or Slack, automated action items and meeting summaries, and seamless integrations with all your other tools.
In short, Spinach.io helps team leaders better plan, conduct, and evaluate their standups.
Daily standup/scrum meeting agenda template to follow
Creating an effective standup meeting agenda doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler, the better.
We’ve put together a sample agenda that can turn your standup into a quick, engaging, and productive event. This format works great for in-person or remote teams! Remember the golden rule of standups: keep it to 15 minutes max. Any longer, and you risk losing focus and turning your sprint into a marathon.
Icebreaker (2 minutes): You can start with a little something to break the ice and set the tone for the meeting. Icebreakers are brief, fun activities or questions that help the team warm up and foster a positive, collaborative environment.
They can be as simple as "Share one fun fact about yourself" or "What's your favorite breakfast food?" These icebreaker questions aren’t a requirement for standup meetings, but they can be an effective way to get everyone loose and engaged before the real work starts.
Project updates (3 minutes): This is where you’ll briefly provide a status update to the team on the overall state of the project. It's a bird's eye view of where things stand, whether you’re on track, ahead, or lagging. This keeps everyone in the loop about the bigger picture.
What did you do yesterday? (3 minutes): Each team member quickly shares what they worked on the previous day. It's all about transparency and ensuring everyone knows how the project is progressing.
Be sure to keep this section of the meeting brief and focused, and instruct each team member to provide only a high-level overview of what they accomplished the previous day.
What will you do today? (3 minutes): Here, each team member outlines their tasks for the day. It's about setting clear intentions and ensuring that everyone knows what's on the day's to-do list.
Again, this section of the status meeting needs to be short, allowing only a few seconds of time for each team member. It can also be helpful to provide some brief feedback to ensure that everyone’s plan for the day is aligned with business goals.
What blockers are in your way? (3 minutes): This is the opportunity for team members to share any obstacles they're encountering in their workflows. These could be anything from technical issues to dependencies on other team members.
It's all about flagging these challenges early so you can swiftly address them. If issues come up that don’t have an immediate resolution, set them aside for later so that your meeting doesn’t get overly side-tracked.
Surface issues (1 minute): Similar to identifying blockers, surfacing issues is a chance for team members to raise any potential problems they foresee, even if they're not directly affected. It's like a radar scan for challenges on the horizon, helping you proactively tackle them before they become full-blown problems.
This section should stay focused on pertinent issues that team members can quickly explain and discuss. After all, solving all the world’s problems in one short meeting is a little too much to hope for.
Common standup challenges that can be avoided with an agenda
Before we wrap up, let's address standup challenges. Even with the best intentions, without a proper agenda, standups can sometimes feel like a detour rather than a fast track to productivity.
Let's examine some common pitfalls and how an agenda can help you and your team avoid them. Remember, a well-crafted agenda isn't just a schedule—it's your trusty guide to a successful standup.
When discussions spiral, meetings can stretch, turning a brisk 15-minute update into a drawn-out affair. This is where a standup meeting agenda shines. By allocating specific times for each agenda point, you ensure discussions stay concise and on track.
A good agenda respects everyone's time and encourages focus and brevity, ensuring that the meeting stays within its time frame. It's the secret to transforming your lengthy standups into efficient syncs.
Standups get off track from side conversations
Raise your hand if you've ever been in a standup that got hijacked by a side conversation. 🙋 It happens, and before you know it, your quick sync has veered off into uncharted territory. You're suddenly discussing the finer points of server configurations or debating color schemes when you should be focusing on the tasks at hand.
Having an agenda can help you avoid detours by serving as your meeting compass, pointing the conversation in the right direction and keeping side conversations at bay. An agenda is a subtle reminder of what needs to be discussed, helping you gently steer the conversation back on track when it strays.
Team members come to the standup unprepared
We've all been there. A team member shows up to the standup unprepared, fumbling through their update—or worse, with nothing to share. It can disrupt the flow of the meeting, and frankly, it can be a little awkward for everyone.
That's where an agenda steps in to save the day. A clear agenda not only provides structure for your standup but also helps team members prepare ahead of time. They know exactly what they'll be asked and can prepare their updates in advance. No more fumbling, no more awkward pauses—just smooth, efficient sharing of information.
And here's the best part: with Spinach.io, your AI Scrum Master, team members can easily keep track of their tasks and progress, making preparation a breeze. Thanks to features like Slack notifications and automated meeting reports, Spinach.io helps ensure that every team member comes prepared.
Unbalanced participation and decreased engagement
The best agile meetings are ones where everyone is involved and engaged. However, it’s not uncommon for just a handful of team members to dominate the discussion while everyone else sits idle.
Even worse, you might find that an overall lack of engagement sinks your standup meetings. If team members don’t feel that the meeting is important and you don’t make efforts to keep them engaged, the end result is likely to be boring, awkward, and unproductive.
That’s why you need a meeting agenda designed to elicit engagement from everyone in the room. You’ll get a wider range of ideas and feedback when everyone gets an equal chance to contribute, plus it encourages more collaboration and teamwork.
It turns into a problem-solving meeting
Sometimes, a routine standup can unexpectedly morph into an in-depth problem-solving session. This happens when a team member brings up a complex issue, and suddenly, your quick standup is derailed, turning into a lengthy brainstorming round. While tackling issues is important, the standup isn't the right place for that.
This is where your trusty agenda comes into play. It helps you maintain the focus of the standup, which is to share updates and flag blockers, not solve them right there and then. If in-depth discussions are needed, note and tackle them separately, ensuring your standup remains a quick sync.
To avoid getting side-tracked by problem-solving during a standup, Spinach.io helps you keep track of flagged issues and ensure they're addressed at the right time, in the right forum.
Harness the power of daily standups with Spinach
In a nutshell, an effective standup isn't a stroke of luck—it's the result of structure and best practices. Using a standup agenda keeps meetings on track, ensures everyone is prepared, and prevents standups from turning into problem-solving marathons. With an agenda, your standups become a powerful tool for productivity and collaboration.
But why stop there? Give your standups an extra boost with Spinach.io, your AI Scrum Master. From automatically generated meeting notes and action items to customizable meeting templates, Spinach.io provides all of the tools you need to host effective standups.