8 Key Rules on How to run Better Scrum Meetings

Scrum standup is a daily meeting that helps product teams to be more effective and analyze their routines. The recommended length of the meeting is 15 minutes, however, it depends on the team size. All members of the product team participate in the standups, not only the product owner and scrum master.

Scrum meetings or Daily Standups might help product owner to optimize development and prepare the product for the launch without delays and issues. It’s a beautiful theory. In reality, effective and short scrum standups can turn into nightmare routine where no one understands what’s going on in the team. How to run really effective daily meetings?

The main goal of the meeting in Scrum is sharing the statuses of the work for each member. During the standup, everyone tells about the current situation in the job to align the team and create a total vision.

There are no tables and сhairs on the scrum meeting. It’s called standup and attendees participate while standing to make this meeting as short as possible. Difficult and long questions might be discussed after the meeting between a team leader and member who has the issues, but not with the whole team.

Nowadays, scrum meetings sometimes are considered outdated and are criticized by some companies. However, scrum standups generally are very popular across development teams. Product owners claim that standups help them to manage the team more effectively.

Running effective scrum meetings is not a unique skill for product owners. It’s possible to understand how it works, practice, and improve its power. The following recommendations will help product owners and scrum master to run the best standups.

8 simple recommendations to run standups effectively

1. Define the meeting format 

In Agile, standup meetings run while the sprint that is usually 2-4 weeks period. The team should specify the set of features and requirements from the backlog for the iteration.

An important goal of the daily standups is defining a timeframe for the meetings and remember that standup is not a usual meeting or retrospective meeting. 

2. Invite the team and define the roles

The best solution for the scrum meeting is the team of 8-12 people. It simplifies communication and makes it short. 3 main roles should be on the scrum meeting:

  • Scrum master, who plays as a coach and helps the team to optimize processes and jobs;
  • A product owner or product manager who prioritizes the features and communicates with clients and experts;
  • The development team consists of members with different roles and responsibilities (developers, marketers, support managers, etc).

Other people like remote employees or partners might be are invited to the meetings. However, it’s better to restrain the total number of the meeting as it improves trust and confidence inside the team.

3. Choose the type of standups

There are two main types of standups you could run. The first one is the usual type for a team in an office. People gather in a room in a specific time and run synchronous standup. However, not everyone might be able to be in the office at a specific time, especially, it doesn’t work for remote teams. 

The second type of standups is an asynchronous meeting where the team uses a messenger or a special tool like Standuply or Focus for running events. At this type, team members send answers to the bot and managers receive daily reports with all information in Slack or web application. 

Standups at Focus
Standups at Focus

4. Pick up the time and place

There are no special requirements for the place where you can run standups. The board with stickers or displays with a special tool can be useful for the meeting but it’s not crucial. You need an empty area for offline meetings or communication software for running standups online. For running the asynchronous standups you might use special tools from the previous rule. 

Experts recommend running standups each day at the same time. Morning is the best time for scrum meetings because it helps everyone to prioritize daily goals. 

5. Participate while standing

Meetings where you participate while standing helps to focus on the main goals and run the event shortly. Some creative teams run standups while they doing some exercises like planks. You should choose the best option for you to run short and effective meetings.

6. Follow the day agenda

Daily scrum meetings follow 3 main questions that everyone should answer:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What are you going to do today?
  • What are the blockers or obstacles?

Answering these simple questions, the team can find out the problems that they must solve or optimize. It’s the best way to align the team and get areas for improvements. 

Don’t forget to take notes and share information with the team or use bots for standups that made it for you.

7. Simplify the process

It’s useful to visualize day agenda that everyone could see current tasks. You might use a kanban board that helps to prioritize daily goals and statuses. Here are a couple of examples of how you can use boards:

It’s crucial to see deadlines, the list of tasks your team should do, and what should you decline while it’s not a priority. In this case, the product owner should use some of the prioritization techniques

8. Communication and partnerships

Remember that daily standup is a valuable time where everyone participates in the process. Each team member should share the most valuable information for the team. The right communication is a core for productivity. A Scrum Master or Product Owner should stop useless communication to make the meeting more helpful.  

Avoid usual mistakes

There are most frequent mistakes on the scrum meetings: 

  • A long period of waiting. You should explicitly follow the timeframe. Start standups in the same period. Don’t wait for everyone. If someone is late – it’s his or her fault.
  • New ideas and topics. Daily standups are not about planning. It’s a meeting for sharing the statuses of the work.
  • Vague and long speech. Long and vague speeches reduce the efficiency of the meeting. Focus on things that matter to the company and team members. 

There is no secret sauce in these recommendations, but it can help you to build high-performing meetings in a scrum team. Thinking about the team and focusing on the main things, the product owner can run useful and interesting 15 minutes meetings where everyone wants to participate. 

To run asynchronous standups and retrospectives, you can try Focus that helps teams stay in sync and work better together.