How to Run a Great Daily Scrum Meeting: Agenda, Participants & More


Scrum is a framework that allows teams to address complexity. It comes from software development, which is part of agile project management. It’s designed for small teams who are working in what’s called “sprints,” short periods of no longer than 30 days and usually only two weeks.

A daily scrum meeting is a way for the scrum team to track their progress in the sprint. They are also called standup meetings because the team stands to make sure the meeting is short. How can you get the most out of these brief daily scrum meetings? Let’s first understand what a scrum meeting is.

What Is the Daily Scrum Meeting?

The daily scrum meeting is one of the five types of scrum ceremonies. The daily standup scrum meeting is where the scrum team meets typically in the morning to discuss the work ahead for the day. They are short, standup meetings, strictly timed for no more than 15 minutes. This is done to keep the meeting brief but focused on only relevant information. Also, the other scrum ceremonies or agile events are meant to cover all the topics that the team can’t discuss during the daily standup meeting.

Everyone from the scrum master, who is the expert, to the team members must attend the daily scrum meeting. They are all committed and expected to participate. Others, such as sales or people from other projects, can attend but only to listen. To keep track of these meetings, scrum masters and managers use project management software, also referred to as scrum software.

After the daily scrum meeting, teams can use project management software to execute their sprints. ProjectManager is cloud-based software that connects scrum teams and fosters the collaboration they need to get their work done. Our kanban boards allow them to manage their backlog and plan sprints together, while the product owner has transparency into their process so they can reallocate resources as needed to avoid bottlenecks.

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Daily Scrum Meeting Questions

A daily scrum meeting is not about addressing issues in the project or solving problems. These matters are subjects for other scrum ceremonies. A daily scrum meeting can be broken down into three questions:

  1. What did we do yesterday?
  2. What are we doing today?
  3. What is in our way?

Each team member answers the three questions briefly, and then the next person does the same. This is a simple, efficient and fast way to discern what has been done and what still needs to be done. Don’t confuse this with a status report. This isn’t to determine who is ahead, behind or on track. Rather, it’s about getting commitments from each team member.

Daily Scrum Meeting Participants

The daily scrum meeting is attended by everyone on the scrum team. That also includes the scrum master, product owner, developers and designers. They all need to be present because each might have an answer to the questions that come up during the meeting.

Though it’s not often done, those who are outside of the scrum team can participate in a daily scrum meeting. They will not attend, however, unless invited. If they are invited to attend the daily scrum meeting they are there usually only as observers, not participants.

The point of the daily scrum meeting is for the team to focus on the common goals they have for the day’s sprint. There are the classic three questions, which relate mostly to the scrum team executing the sprint, but the others can provide guidance.

Daily Scrum Meeting Agenda

There really isn’t an agenda for the daily scrum meeting outside of the three questions that are asked of the team. Therefore, to give you a better idea of what happens during a scrum meeting we’ll look at a daily scrum meeting example. Let’s imagine a chat app that is under development.

What tasks did you complete yesterday? The team imported emojis that can be used to personalize the messages.

What tasks will you work on today? The team is going to develop profile pages that include the team members’ names, departments, skills, etc.

Do you foresee any roadblocks for issues that might slow you down? Yes, the designers are behind schedule in creating the template for the profile pages.

That’s a very simplistic example of a daily scrum meeting but from it you can see how important the standup meeting is. By starting the day this way, you can review past work, identify goals of the day and blockers that might prevent you from completing the tasks. It’s an essential part of scrum project management.

Daily Scrum Meeting Best Practices

The daily scrum meeting feels fresh, especially if you’re used to the traditional meeting with the long agenda and the never-ending babble around the table as your coffee gets cold and the clock hands move glacially over the dial. But doing anything repeatedly is going to get stale.

While you want to keep the scrum meeting short and not waste time with unnecessary frills, you also don’t want to have the team fall into a rut. If people become complacent, they become sloppy. Their focus is dulled and the whole point of the daily scrum meeting will get lost as people’s eyes cloud over with tedium.

It’s not that you must grab your spats and tails and put on a whole song and dance, but there are ways to run a scrum meeting in a way that keeps it fresh and starts the day off on the right foot. Here are a few ideas to run a better scrum meeting.

Name Your Team and Give Them a Totem

It might sound silly to give your team a name (after all you’re working not playing), but sometimes a small laugh is all it takes to get the team on the same page. When you assemble the team, before executing the project, see if there’s a commonality among the group. Or, ask them to throw out some names as a fun icebreaker for the meeting.

Say they love sea life and call themselves Team Octopus. Well, get them a rubber octopus, and use it as a talking stick to pass around during your scrum meeting. Whoever holds the octopus speaks. It’s a goof, but before you know it, T-shirts are being printed. The point is to get your team bonding and working collectively like the eight arms of their mascot.

Report Round Robin Style

Ritual is important. It creates structure and embeds that routine, so the ritual can be followed. But you don’t ever want to do something without thinking, which is the danger when you meet every morning and do the same thing repeatedly. For example, going around the team and getting the answers to the three questions that make up a daily scrum meeting. You wait your turn and say your piece, and then on to the next person.

To keep team members on their toes and not sucking down hot coffee to stir them from a stupor, try mixing it up. Usually, the scrum master will ask someone to speak, and then they’ll go clockwise or counterclockwise from there. The problem is, that each team member can space out a bit until it’s their turn.

Instead, have the team report round-robin style. That is, ask for a volunteer to get the meeting started with their report. Then, when they’re done, have them pick the next person to speak and so forth. This way everyone is on their toes, and they can even turn it into team-building, making the meeting productive but playful.

Use a Scrum Board

A scrum board might not sound like a barrel of monkeys, but as an idea, it’s a great way to run a daily scrum meeting effectively. A scrum board is simply a way to visualize the project tasks and their progress.

Think of it as a snapshot of the current sprint backlog. Everyone can see at-a-glance what work still needs to get done and what work has been completed. It complements the three questions everyone will answer in the meeting by providing another way to see what has been accomplished and what needs to be done.

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Not everyone understands in the same way. Some people are more visual thinkers, so a scrum board is going to align better to the way they learn, more so than merely talking about it. Tasks are represented by cards on the board and placed in columns indicating if they’re in progress, need to be done or done. During the scrum meeting, those cards can be physically moved as people report on the project, which further emphasizes the information shared and the commitment to get the work done.

Tips from Agile Pros to Take Your Scrum Meeting Even Further

We got some quotes from real agile professionals who hold scrum meetings every day at their organizations. They had a few additional tips for getting even more productivity out of your scrum meetings.

Be Ruthless About Time

Christopher McFarlane, a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Walmart Canada says that you have to be very meticulous about time if you’re going to dedicate a small part of every day to a scrum meeting. MacFarlane said, “Start on time irrespective of the fact that some team members have not arrived. Order and discipline are the essences (never be late).”

Additionally, for those that are struggling to keep scrum meetings efficient, he says you should use a timer.

“Keep pace in Scrum meetings by setting a timer! The constraint can help the team to keep focused and to the point. Prioritize discussion topics and start with the most important. Encourage team members to come to project meetings. prepared and over time track the team’s progress to keep within a time box.”

Stick to the Point

Hernan Santiesteban, an agile expert at the marketing agency Great Lakes Web, discusses the importance of staying on topic and removing excessive details.

“Make sure that any detailed conversations are properly diverted. For example, You are running a daily stand-up meeting where scrum team members report status. One member is having a problem that requires a detailed conversation. When you realize this, it’s best to divert that discussion to a different time. The key is to keep these meetings short and allow everyone to complete their brief report out. If you’re struggling with leading scrum meetings, try to reduce the scope of the meeting. Focus on getting a smaller objective completed in the same amount of time.”

We hope these daily scrum meeting tips will help you better implement scrum at your organization!

How ProjectManager Helps Your Sprint

You’ve finished the daily scrum meeting, now you have to execute your sprint. ProjectManager is cloud-based work and scrum software that is collaborative to the core with one source of truth to keep everyone working better together.

Scrum teams need to communicate, whether they’re in the same room or in a different time zone. Our real-time tool means that teams can work together wherever they are, commenting at the task level and sharing files. Email notifications and in-app alerts keep them updated when a team member responds or the task is updated.

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Another thing scrum teams need is to focus on their work and avoid distractions. But there’s always busywork. We get rid of those tedious tasks through automation, custom workflows and task approvals. Set triggers that automatically produce actions, authorize who can change the status of a task and free teams while controlling workflow.

Whether you’re working in sprints or a more traditional methodology, you’re going to need tools to help you get those tasks planned, monitored and reported on. ProjectManager is an online project management software that gives you real-time data on a collaborative platform, so after the daily scrum meeting, the team can work together and get more done. Try it for yourself, free, by clicking here.