The power of your daily standup questions

Published on
January 25, 2024

Daily standup meetings (or daily scrum meetings) can be an important key to starting the workday off on the right foot. In these quick meetings, you have the opportunity to ask team members questions to check in with each other — which can help the team keep on top of their goals.

You just have to make sure you’re asking the right questions. ✅  Sometimes "What did you do yesterday" isn't the right question to surface insights that accelerate the team. And asking the same exact questions day in and day out is repetitive and might cause folks to tune out or phone it in.

To help surface insights that actually matter to your project, consider some other daily standup questions. In this article we'll cover some of the most common types of standup questions, plus 25+ personalized standup questions for each role on your team. Look alive!

The 3 basic standup questions

Bringing everyone together at the beginning of the day with a quick standup meeting can get everyone aligned and help narrow the day’s focus on the highest-priority tasks — and standup questions can be a big help with this.

Traditionally, most standups focus on a few basic questions about what you did yesterday, goals for today, and blockers or challenges in your way.

What did you accomplish yesterday?

This question serves as a status update, allowing team members to share their progress with the rest of the team. It helps keep everyone in the loop on what their fellow team members are doing, helping promote accountability and transparency.

It also gives you the opportunity to recognize and celebrate your team’s accomplishments — which can go a long way toward keeping team members motivated and engaged.

What will you do today?

This standup question shifts the focus to the day’s upcoming tasks. By having team members outline their plans and objectives, you can ensure that individual efforts are aligned with the project’s overall goals.

Discussing planned activities helps ensure everyone is on the same page, minimizing misunderstandings and paving the way for improved teamwork and synergy.

Are there any blockers in your way?

This question addresses any obstacles or challenges that might be standing in your team’s way. Relying on team members to bring up these issues on their own doesn’t always work, but asking them directly about the issues they’re facing tends to be much more effective.

Asking team members what blockers they face each day encourages open communication and helps foster a collaborative environment where team members can brainstorm solutions together. 🧠

Types of questions for effective standups

With the basics out of the way, now let’s look at some different types of standup questions based on the topics they cover, their intention, and their role in helping teams hold more effective standups.

Progress and goals

Questions about progress and goals are key to understanding the team’s past and future objectives. 

"What milestones did you reach yesterday?" and "What are your priorities for today?" are some questions that fall into this category.

Questions like these help foster transparency and alignment while also providing a great chance to motivate your team members and recognize their accomplishments.

Challenges and roadblocks

Standup meetings are a great time to address any challenges (or potential challenges) your team faces. 

To encourage team members to share their concerns, you can ask questions like, “Are there any obstacles hindering your progress?” or “Do you foresee any issues with your upcoming tasks?”

Collaboration and alignment

Standup questions focused on collaboration and alignment help ensure that team members are working together effectively toward common goals. 

A couple of examples of questions that can help accomplish this goal include, “How can the team support your efforts today?” and “How did your tasks yesterday align with the project’s objectives?”

Learning and reflection

These questions allow team members to share any lessons they’ve learned, and they can be a useful way to encourage continuous improvement. 

To get your team members to discuss the new things they’ve learned, consider asking questions like, “What insights did you gain from the tasks you did yesterday?” or “Did you come across any new tools, techniques, or information that might be beneficial to the rest of the team?”

Motivation and well-being

56% of employees worldwide say they struggle with their well-being. If you want your team members to do their best work, making sure they’re motivated and thriving is a great place to start. 

Questions that can help with this might include, “What accomplishments are you proud of this week?" and “Is there anything affecting your well-being that the team should be aware of?"

The types of team members in a daily standup 🧑‍💻

Standup questions are more effective when personalized for your development team's individual roles. After all, your designer’s needs will probably be a lot different than your product manager’s, engineers, etc.

To help you develop standup questions designed to help each role on your team succeed, here’s what to consider — plus some sample questions to help you better support them.

Engineers or developers

While software engineers can estimate the complexity of a specific task or how long it might take to complete, it's impossible to account for all possible variables and scenarios they may encounter. Accurately predicting a project timeline is super challenging (if not impossible).

This is why daily standup is so important for your engineers. It's where their estimates meet reality, and where the team has the opportunity to support each other to accelerate the work or reset stakeholder expectations.

Remember: Daily standup is for supporting your team, not for reporting to managers.

Asking “what are you working on today?” or going ticket-by-ticket often doesn't cut it. Instead, try to focus on creating an environment where engineers are comfortable sharing blockers and issues, and focus on getting them the resources they need to keep things moving forward.

Standup questions for engineers

  • Who do you need support from?
  • Were you asked to do work (or attend meetings) you didn’t anticipate? 
  • Are there any challenges or blockers to your progress? 
  • Are there any unexpected issues you’ve come across that will delay delivery? 
  • Would pairing up with another developer help you?

Product managers

Product managers focus on the future. They keep a close eye on market trends, have a solid understanding of the end user’s needs, and help prioritize product features and capabilities. 

Because this role is forward-focused, their needs are, too. They tend to focus less on what’s already happened and more on what’s in progress and what still needs to happen.

Product managers can provide business context and help the team keep priorities aligned, so the whole team understands which items to handle first.

Standup questions for product managers

  • High level, are we on track to deliver and what’s at risk?
  • Do you need better information or detail from anyone on the team?
  • Are you concerned about any specific deliverables?
  • Is there anything you see that management could help us accelerate? 
  • Are there any trade offs we can make to ensure priority features get released?

Tech leads

Tech leads oversee the development and delivery of a finished product or solution. Their responsibilities overlap somewhat with product managers in that both roles focus on delivering a successful product — which is why these roles work closely together. 

However, whereas product managers are more product-focused (obviously), tech leads have engineering leadership responsibilities in addition to performing technical work themselves. This includes responsibilities like architecture, training, upskilling, project planning, and goal setting/monitoring.

During daily standup, tech leads can level-set progress towards sprint goals (or sprint backlog), organizational changes and improvements, or areas that need focus. Questions for these team members should focus on emergent issues that have the potential to snowball and impact other departments and customers. 🤝

Standup questions for tech leads

  • Any unexpected coding issues? 
  • Do any tickets need to be escalated?
  • Are there any new requests coming in that need discussion?
  • Do you need another pair of eyes on anything?
  • Are you working on any unanticipated items?
  • Any long-term concerns or implications here?


Designers are critical members of the dev team. They review project requirements and user stories to understand the goals of a particular feature. They research user behavior to inform design decisions. And they collaborate closely with engineers to make sure the final product is consistent with the user experience they designed. 

If your designers aren’t aligned with the rest of the team or feel stuck, blocked, or overwhelmed, your goals and timeline will be at risk. 

Standup questions for designers

  • Do you have enough input from customers?
  • Are the problem statements clear?
  • Are there any new or unexpected requests coming in? 
  • Are there any upcoming design reviews that may set us back?
  • Were you asked to do work (or attend meetings) you didn’t anticipate? 
  • Do you need to pair up with any engineers today?

Guidelines to follow for keeping standups productive

Standup meetings can provide a major boost for team productivity — when they’re done right. Along with choosing the right standup questions, here are some best practices for keeping your standups productive:

Set a time and stick to it

Standup meetings are meant to be short — no longer than 15 minutes. This helps keep the meetings laser-focused 💥 and prevents them from disrupting the team’s productivity. 

If you’re having trouble with your standups running long, it can be helpful to use a timer so that everyone knows how much time they have to speak. Or, incorporate a tool like Spinach so speakers can keep track of how long they’ve been talking.

Ensure proper preparation

Standup questions don’t do a lot of good if no one is prepared to answer them. To ensure a productive meeting, team members need to come prepared to discuss their progress, goals, and potential challenges. Send out an agenda ahead of time — even if you ask similar questions each day. 

With Spinach, you can send automated agendas that allow team members to fill out their discussion points ahead of time, helping keep the meeting on track from the get-go.

Facilitate it with a tool that increases meeting efficiency

When you’ve got less than 15 minutes to work with, efficiency is a must. Thankfully, tools like Spinach can help standup meetings run much more quickly and efficiently while still ensuring every important point is covered.

Spinach is an AI-powered Scrum master that can take notes, generate meeting summaries, record key decisions and action items, and more. This frees everyone on the team up to focus more on what’s being said and less on recording everything that needs recording, leading to more efficient, productive standups.

Problem-solve after the standup

Standups are a great place to bring problems to the team’s attention, but effective problem-solving takes more time and discussion than standups allow. If you get carried away trying to solve problems as they come up, you won’t have time to cover everything else on the meeting agenda. 🗒️

Use Spinach’s Action Items feature to earmark assignments for follow up. This is an automated way to assign tasks to relevant team members based on the standup discussion.

Additional questions to ask in standups

There’s no such thing as having too many options! If you’re still looking for some powerful standup questions to ask your team, here are a few additional examples to work into your rotation:

  • Does everyone have what they need to focus on their highest-priority tasks?
  • What work items have you completed since our previous standup?
  • How likely are we to achieve our Sprint goal?
  • What can or should we do differently?
  • Who has time to help someone else?
  • What small thing would make your day better today?
  • What’s the most important thing for us to talk about today?

Get more value from your standup meetings with Spinach 🥬

Asking the right questions is a major factor in making your standups productive and valuable — but it’s not the only one. If you need a simple way to improve the efficiency of your team’s standup meetings, Spinach can help!

  1. Runs meetings: Spinach helps you run faster, more-focused standups with a visible agenda directly in Zoom, Teams or Google Meet.
  2. Takes notes: Spinach captures a summary formatted specifically for daily standup and shares it via email or Slack.
  3. Captures transcript & video: Spinach gives you access to transcripts and video recordings in case you need extra detail
  4. Updates the board: Discuss a new bug? Spinach will draft a ticket, so you can update the board in a single click
  5. Knowledge base: Spinach can store summaries in Notion, Google Docs or Confluence creating a searchable history of team meetings

Spinach helps teams spend less time running meetings and taking notes and more time contributing to each other and the project.

Try Spinach for free and see the difference we can make for your team!

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