What is a daily standup meeting and how to run one well

Marlo Oster

A team can’t operate effectively unless every member is on the same page. Enter the daily standup meeting—a short team check-in that addresses what was accomplished during the previous 24 hours, immediate goals for the next 24 hours, and any potential roadblocks to those goals.

Any organization or team can reap the rewards of a consistently well-executed daily standup meeting. In this post, we’ll break down the benefits of a daily standup meeting, what a successful standup looks like, and pitfalls to avoid. Learn how you can make every daily standup meeting a success!

What is a daily standup meeting?

​​A daily standup meeting, also known as a daily Scrum, is a short team meeting held every day designed to keep team members on the same page. It's an opportunity for teams to quickly share what they worked on in the past 24 hours, what they plan to work on today, and any roadblocks or challenges they are facing. This daily status update helps teams stay on track, solve problems (sometimes before they even occur), and build trust among team members by maintaining full transparency.

A daily standup meeting is often called a daily Scrum meeting because it’s one of the core meetings of the Scrum process used by an agile team. The Scrum methodology was first popularized by development teams, but in recent years, the process has been adopted by all sorts of agile teams, including offices and business teams. A “Scrum master” leads the daily Scrum to ensure the Scrum—a two-week sprint of work—stays on track. There’s more to it than that, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on general daily standup meetings, as they can be utilized outside of the Scrum process by any type of team.

Daily standup meetings are typically held—you guessed it—daily, often taking place in the morning so that the team can start their work day on the same page. Each meeting typically lasts no longer than 15 minutes. This keeps everyone laser-focused on the task at hand.

A daily standup meeting might occur during the day or at the end of the day, depending on the needs and availability of the team. What’s most important is that you maintain consistency. The meeting should be held at the same time every day. Choose a time that is convenient for all team members. Work with the entire team to establish a recurring time that makes sense for everyone involved.

What are the benefits of a daily standup meeting?

Daily standup meetings are designed to be short, sweet, and to the point. Think snack-sized meeting. It’s a cupcake, not a whole cake. They bring the team together to quickly share updates that set the stage for the next 24 hours of work. When run effectively, standup meetings provide clarity, address potential roadblocks, and keep all team members aligned on common goals.

Benefits of daily standup meetings:

  • Helps keep everyone on the same page and informed.
  • Encourages direct, honest communication between team members.
  • Identifies roadblocks quickly, so they can be addressed early on.
  • Increases efficiency by allowing teams to work together in real-time, whether remote or in-person.
  • Increases team morale and collaboration by putting teamwork at the forefront of planning.
  • Keeps all conversations focused on the most important tasks.
  • The short time frame prevents discussions from derailing.
  • Creates an atmosphere of accountability and transparency.
  • Promotes inclusivity by giving all team members a chance to voice their opinions, ideas, and concerns.
  • Helps teams develop effective daily habits around work and organization.

What does a successful daily standup meeting look like?

Who should be in your daily standup meeting?

Your daily standup meeting should include anyone who is actively working on the project. This includes, but is not limited to, developers, designers, product owners, and other key stakeholders. All team members must attend the meeting; otherwise, concerns or key elements of the project could fall through the cracks. Keeping everyone involved ensures the entire team stays up-to-date with team progress as well as potential roadblocks.

The same is true of an office setting where no product development is taking place. Any team members actively involved in the project being discussed must be in attendance, including managers, team leaders, and any stakeholders with a vested interest in the project.

A high-level daily standup meeting agenda

As with any meeting, it must have a clear purpose and meeting agenda, even if that agenda is very short. What is the reason for the daily standup meeting? What does each person involved, such as the project manager, product owner, and other team members, get from the meeting?

Typically, the meeting allows each team member to give a quick update (a couple sentences) on what was accomplished since the last daily standup. Team members will also state what they plan to accomplish over the next 24-hour work period, followed by an opportunity to address anything that could prevent work from moving forward during that time.

  1. What did you accomplish?
  2. What do you plan to tackle next?
  3. Is there anything standing in your way?

If there are roadblocks to address, these conversations should be short and to the point. If further discussion or problem solving is required, this should take place outside of the 15-minute standup.

📌 Charma helps teams build collaborative agendas to ensure attendees show up prepared and ready to participate. It’s also an ideal tool for assigning tasks and maintaining asynchronous communication outside of your daily standup →

How to keep everyone on the same page

An effective daily standup meeting quickly identifies roadblocks, increases transparency and collaboration, and keeps conversations focused on key tasks. Meetings should never be a one-size-fits-all approach. Every team is different, and every team will have unique needs.

This is especially true of remote teams that don’t share a physical conference room. The effectiveness of a daily standup meeting is critical to distributed teams who rely on this one major check-in each day.

One person should be assigned to lead the daily standup. This team member will make sure conversations stay focused and that the time limit is maintained. In a Scrum structure, this person might be the Scrum master or product owner.

Switching up who runs the daily standup can also be beneficial, as it allows different team members to take ownership of the meeting and build their leadership skills. Mixing it up can also help ensure the meeting doesn’t become a flat or boring check-in that team members feel adds no real value, or is biased towards only a couple aspects of the project.

Keep everyone aligned by beginning each meeting with a brief check-in to ensure everyone is on the same page. Keep the meeting focused on solutions, not problems, and keep all conversations short. End each meeting with a brief summary of what was discussed, and be sure to thank all attendees. Don’t take this meeting time for granted. Attending a meeting every day at the same time is a lot to ask of your team, so show your gratitude for their active participation.

Ensure you continue to refine your daily standup meeting processes. A meeting that occurs every day can quickly become stale, and team members may lose sight of the actual value. Collect feedback regularly, so every team member feels helped rather than hindered by the daily standup.

What to avoid when running a daily standup meeting

For a short, simple meeting, a lot can go wrong. The limited amount of time means you absolutely must stay on track in order to be successful. The following are some common mistakes to avoid and what to do instead.

  • Avoid going over your allotted, predetermined time limit. Going over time can throw off someone’s day, and it sends a message to team members that the rules of the meeting don’t actually apply.
  • Avoid conversations that don't relate to the task at hand or the goals you set for yourself.
  • Don't allow any one team member to dominate the conversation.
  • Ensure general courtesies are maintained. No one should interrupt, criticize, insult, or engage in rude behavior. It’s up to the person running the daily meeting to maintain decorum—and that probably means you!
  • Refrain from discussing personal topics unrelated to work tasks. Generic chit-chat is a great way to build rapport amongst team members, but these conversations should happen outside of the daily standup.
  • Don't let any one discussion become too lengthy, as this can derail the meeting and cause it to go over time.
  • Avoid assigning tasks or working through anything that can take place asynchronously. This will distract from the main purpose of the meeting and eat up your limited time.
  • Refrain from blaming or pointing fingers when problems arise. This goes for managers, team leaders, and all other team members. Instead, focus on moving forward and finding solutions together.
  • Ensure all team members (including leaders) know that they cannot multitask during the meeting. The meeting is short and relevant to everyone involved, so all attendees should give it their full attention.
  • Don't let the meeting become a status update or an opportunity to solve one team member’s problem. Focus on team collaboration and accountability

How to optimize your daily standup meeting with Charma

Daily standup meeting fatigue is real. But how do you combat it? It’s the same meeting day after day, and just because there were good intentions behind a meeting when it was set doesn’t mean will continues to provide value. A poorly executed daily standup will have team members gossiping in all corners of your real and/or virtual office space.

Charma keeps teams on the same page and aligned on the goals of each daily standup. At each meeting, you’ll be able to hit the ground running and tackle priorities head-on. Don’t be the manager that lets the daily standup meeting spiral into a boring status update that everyone dreads attending and resents blocking time for.

Learn more about Charma’s people management software—because with the right tools, managers can be magical.

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