Scrum vs Standup Tools: Understanding the Difference

Published on
August 10, 2023

Ever find yourself caught in the middle of 'Scrum' and 'standup' discussions, wondering about the actual differences between these two approaches? You're not alone, and we’re here to help. Understanding the differences between these Agile terminologies can help you find the perfect tool for your team. 

Here's the deal: scrum and standup tools, while they seem to exist in the same realm, have unique characteristics that make them suitable for different scenarios. And the differences aren't limited to the tools themselves. Even daily scrum and daily standup meetings have nuances that can impact how your team operates.

In this blog, we're about to deep dive into the sea of scrum and standup tools, outlining their similarities, highlighting their differences, and helping you select the one that fits your team's needs best. By the end, you'll have a clear picture and be able to make confident decisions for your team. Let's get started! 🚀

What is a daily scrum meeting?

The daily scrum meeting, distinct from a daily standup, is a pivotal part of the Scrum methodology. Following the Scrum guidelines, it's a short, time-boxed event that lasts no longer than 15 minutes. This is where the development team gathers to align on the work that was done the previous day, the tasks for today, and any hurdles in the path. 

Here's the structure: every team member shares three critical updates:

  1. What did I complete yesterday?
  2. What is on my agenda for today?
  3. Are there any obstacles slowing me down?

These focused daily meetings are all about quick alignment and efficient obstacle clearing. The key goal is transparency and continuous progress towards the sprint goal. It's not the place for solving problems or dissecting tasks in detail.

If issues surface during the scrum, they're taken offline to be tackled separately, keeping the meeting crisp and to the point. The purpose of the daily scrum is to provide a quick pulse check on team alignment and flag potential issues for later discussion.

What is a daily standup meeting?

Daily standup meetings, while often used interchangeably with daily scrum meetings, have a slightly different flavor. Also known as stand-ups, these are short, regular check-in meetings designed to align the team and set the direction for the day's work, similar to daily scrum meetings.

However, the key difference lies in their flexibility. While daily scrum meetings strictly follow the Scrum framework and are often part of sprints in Scrum teams, standups are more flexible and can be adapted to fit the needs of any team, irrespective of the methodologies they're following. They aren't required to strictly adhere to Scrum guidelines, which gives teams more room to customize the meeting structure to their needs. 

In a daily standup, team member updates generally follow the same format as the questions asked in daily scrums.  While these prompts resemble the ones used in daily scrum meetings, the conversations in standups can be a bit more flexible. They could touch on longer-term objectives, strategic priorities, or even include kudos to team members for jobs well done.

Daily scrum and daily standup: Similarities and differences

So, now that we've covered the basics of daily scrums and standups, you might be wondering how they stack up against each other. Let's break down these Agile practices side-by-side and get a clearer picture. You'll notice some striking similarities, but also some important differences that can affect which approach is the best fit for your team. 

Time and place

The essence of both daily scrum and standup meetings lies in their consistency. Both are typically held at the same time and place each day, whether it's first thing in the morning or right after lunch. This consistency helps set a rhythm for the team and encourages regular communication.

However, in terms of location, standups can be a bit more flexible. While daily scrums, especially in teams strictly following Scrum, are often held in a specific physical location or designated virtual meeting room, standups can take place anywhere that suits the team. From a casual huddle around a desk to a quick call while remote working, the standup's location can be as flexible as your team needs it to be.

Meeting length

The daily scrum meeting length is pretty rigid — 15 minutes is your limit. This is to ensure the meeting stays focused and doesn't eat into the team's working time. If a discussion threatens to overrun, it's taken offline and addressed separately.

On the other hand, while standups aim to be short and sweet, they offer more flexibility. If there's an important issue that needs a longer discussion and it's beneficial for the entire team, the meeting might extend beyond the usual 15 minutes. However, efficient teams still strive to keep standups concise to maintain productivity.

Attendees

In a daily scrum, the attendees are usually limited to the development team, the Scrum Master, and sometimes the product owner. It's all about keeping it within the Scrum framework.

Standups, however, aren't as strict. While they usually include the core team, they can also invite stakeholders, other teams, or anyone else who can add value to the meeting or needs to be in the loop. This flexibility can be a boon when working on cross-functional projects or when needing quick alignment across a broader group.

Format

When we look at the format of these meetings, daily scrum meetings follow a very strict routine. Every team member is required to answer the same three questions: what they accomplished the previous day, what they aim to achieve today, and any roadblocks they might be facing. This strict adherence to a set format is what sets daily scrums apart. It's a space for tactical updates and a check-in on sprint progress, leaving problem-solving for later discussions.

In contrast, the format of a standup meeting can be a lot more flexible. While many teams choose to stick to the traditional three questions, there's room to discuss other relevant topics too. You might talk about strategic goals, celebrate successes, or delve into more detailed problem-solving if needed and time allows. This more relaxed format can lend itself to a wider variety of discussions and might feel more organic to some teams.

Brevity

Both the daily scrum and standup meetings share a common attribute: brevity. Despite their differences in formality and strictness, both of these meetings are designed to be quick and efficient. The idea is to facilitate clear and concise communication without taking up too much of the team's valuable time. These are not hour-long meetings but brief touchpoints to ensure everyone is aligned and to swiftly identify any potential issues. Short and sweet is the name of the game.

Formality

Formality is where we see a clear difference between the two. The daily scrum is a formal event in the Scrum framework, with a prescribed format and specific rules to follow. It has a structured environment where the Scrum Master ensures adherence to Scrum guidelines.

On the other hand, standup meetings formats can be much less formal. There's room for casual conversation and a more laid-back approach, as long as the team is still effectively communicating about their work. Some teams might even mix in a bit of fun, starting with an ice-breaker or ending with a quick team cheer. The level of formality in a standup is really up to the team's preferences and the culture of the organization.

Scrum tools vs. standup tools: Which suits my team better?

Navigating the landscape of project management tools can be daunting, especially when you're deciding between Scrum and standup tools. Both come with their unique benefits and potential drawbacks. Let's break down what these tools offer and when one might be a better fit than the other.

Scrum tools

Scrum tools are designed to provide comprehensive support for Scrum practices. They can facilitate everything from sprint planning and backlog management to conducting meetings like daily scrums. For teams strictly adhering to the Scrum methodology, these tools can be highly beneficial, offering a structured approach and ensuring Scrum guidelines are met.

The key advantage of a Scrum tool is its ability to centralize all tasks and track progress, which is crucial when managing intricate projects. It offers transparency and promotes alignment, keeping all team members abreast of the sprint's status.

A Scrum tool could be your preferred choice if your team is keenly following the Scrum methodology, or if you're managing complex projects that need a higher degree of organization. It enforces Scrum discipline and ensures everyone stays aligned.

Standup tools

In contrast, standup tools are designed to be more flexible and informal compared to their Scrum counterparts. These tools primarily facilitate daily standup meetings and can fit teams that favor a less structured approach to Agile practices.

However, it's worth noting that standup tools can have their limitations. Many are asynchronous and might not support live meetings, which can limit real-time interaction. They may also lack the versatility to cater to diverse team needs or different styles of meetings.

A standup tool could be suitable for your team if you operate in a less formal environment, manage more simple projects, or prefer asynchronous communication. The flexibility and simplicity of these tools can be advantageous in a more casual Agile setting.

If you’re looking for a tool that offers the benefits of both Scrum and standup tools without their respective drawbacks, you may want to try Spinach. Spinach is an AI Scrum Master that accommodates both Scrum and standup practices, because it’s designed specifically for dev teams. Spinach seamlessly integrates with your meetings, whether you’re doing Scrum or a standup. It uses AI to document decisions, action items, and blockers, which can save your team hours every week on note taking and follow ups.

Benefits of using a Scrum tool for Agile meetings (including standups)

When you're managing an agile team, finding the right tool can be a game-changer. There are a ton of great benefits of using a Scrum tool for standups and other agile meetings. 

Centralized communication

With a Scrum tool like Spinach.io, communication is a breeze. These tools offer a centralized platform where team members can log in and participate in the standup virtually, wherever they are. For distributed or remote teams, this is particularly crucial, ensuring everyone can attend and stay connected regardless of their location. It brings everyone onto the same page, fostering collaboration and alignment across the team.

Structured updates

Scrum tools often come with predefined fields for daily standup updates, so everyone can prepare their reports with ease. The most common prompts are "What I did yesterday," "What I plan to do today," and "Any blockers?" This structured approach keeps the meeting on track and ensures consistent reporting across the team. It's a simple yet effective way of keeping everyone informed and focused on the tasks at hand.

Documentation and history

One of the core benefits of using a Scrum tool for standups is the ability to maintain a historical record of your team's progress. The tool records all daily standup updates, creating a comprehensive documentation of team achievements and blockers over time. This is particularly valuable for future reference, retrospective analysis, and tracking trends in team performance. It's a treasure trove of data that can inform your team's future strategies and improve efficiency.

Task management integration

Scrum tools don't work in isolation. They need to integrate seamlessly with task management systems, enabling team members to link their standup updates directly to specific tasks or user stories. This integration simplifies the workflow and provides a clear view of progress on individual work items.

A tool like Spinach takes this a step further by integrating with a multitude of task management tools. It connects your meetings and tasks, ensuring that every update, decision, and action item is captured and tracked efficiently. It's the kind of tool that takes your agile ceremonies to the next level. 

Revolutionize all of your meetings with Spinach

Now that you have a better understanding of the differences and similarities between Scrum and standups, you can choose the right tool to improve your team’s Agile meetings. If you’re looking for a blend of structure, flexibility, and integrative features, Spinach can be a game changer for your team. Spinach is your AI Scrum Master that delivers instant meeting summaries, documents action items, and even suggests ticket updates based on your discussions. It works seamlessly whether you're using Scrum or doing a standup. 

With Spinach, you're not just managing your meetings; you're revolutionizing them. It easily fits into your existing workflow, allowing your team to fully engage in discussions, keeping everything documented and nothing overlooked.

If you're ready to supercharge your Agile meetings and bring your team to the next level, start with Spinach

try spinach for free

Get instant meeting notes. No credit card required.