Stand-ups

Use stand-ups as meetings to connect, plan, share updates and roadblocks.

Stand-ups help set direction and focus for the whole team. They are useful for:

  • communicating important information
  • sharing priorities, contributions or highlight progress blockers
  • collaboration on issues and tasks
  • providing accountability and transparency.

Teams also use stand-ups to track progress and adjust planned work in "sprints". Sprints are specific time periods. 

The basic stand-up model

A stand-up meeting is:

  • quick and short - for example, 15 minutes
  • regular, at the same time and place - for example, daily at 10:00 am
  • inclusive - all team members should take part and have their say
  • also known as a 'scrum'.

Quick meetings force participants to stay on track and be relevant. A regular schedule sets team habits and expectations of what happens in stand-ups. Some teams use a 'scrum master' to do this. 

There are many variations - please adapt this to suit your team. For example, 15 minutes might be too short for a larger team that meets once a week. It is more important that teammates are able to connect and share information.

Organising the stand-up

As the organiser or lead

  • Set a regular time for the stand-up.
  • If in-person, set the same place or room for all your stand-ups.
  • If you're tracking work, use a kanban board which helps organise tasks.
  • Before the stand-up, share the team or sprint goals if applicable.

For remote teams

If your team is remote, you may need:

  • video conferencing platform with screen sharing
  • a digital project board (kanban). 

For in-person teams

If your team meets in-person, you may need:

  • a meeting space - quiet and in the same place if possible
  • a display screen 
  • a digital project board (kanban).

Running the stand-up

Here are two common methods used to run a stand-up.

3 questions stand-up method

A common method of running the stand-up is to get everyone to answer 3 questions:

  • What did I achieve yesterday?
  • What will I do today (or focus on today)?
  • What obstacles do I have to my work?

The aim is to allow teammates to share insights and information, and get help if needed.

'Walk the board' stand-up method

This method suits teams that have deliverables, sprints and use a kanban board.

Using the board, each team member will discuss their tasks.

  • Start with work closest to completion and what the team can do to help finish it.
  • Work back through all work and bring up any blockers.
Simplified kanban board with tasks
Using a kanban board, each team member discusses their assigned tasks, starting from done or nearly completed, to work to be started.
 

Discussing issues and problem-solving

It is important to stay on track to keep the meeting moving. If you can't solve obstacles quick in stand-up, have a separate meeting.

Some teams set aside a time following the stand-up, called the 'parking lot'. Attendance of the parking lot is voluntary.

Tips for good stand-up

  • Focus on the work that's most important or valuable on the day.
  • Minimise distractions by mobile phones and emails.
  • Make sure everyone gets a go.
  • Be polite, considerate and collaborative.

Things to avoid

  • Don't describe your schedule for the day or list your upcoming meetings.
  • Don't have off-tangent, long discussions. If you need to, have a separate meeting.
  • Don't get into social/non-work conversations.

Learn more

Kanban

A kanban board is a project management tool used in agile teams. 

Sprint

Sprints are time-boxed periods during which team tasks will be completed.

Scrum master

A scrum master facilitates the running of a stand-up.

Parking lot

A time set aside, usually immediately after stand-up, to discuss issues outside of stand-up.