4 Tips to Refocus Stale Standups
The scrum meeting, also known as the daily standup, is supposed to get everyone on the same page and make teams more productive and efficient. But it’s easy for this short meeting to become stale and stop providing any real benefit.
Ask agile team members why their standups are falling flat, and you’ll get a range of responses: “We sit down,” “There’s no new information,” and “We’re just going through the motions.” But the most popular response is, “They’re just status updates.”
Whether you’re having a week where nothing is really contributing to progress or you’ve had additional meetings that make standup communication seem irrelevant, sometimes team members feel like they don’t have much to add. They start simply sharing what they’re working on, and a few days later, everyone gets into a groove of just giving status updates instead of discussing real problems or informative progress on projects. It happens to the best of teams.
Here are four ways to get out of the slump of delivering status updates and re-energize your daily standups.
Take a few minutes before each standup to prepare what you want to say, so you don’t feel on the spot and end up saying only what comes to mind or what is most current in your workday. Having a list of a few value-added statements handy can help the whole team.
Show Up Early to Chat
Showing up a few minutes early to casually chat can energize the team dynamic. This is especially helpful for remote teams. Getting on the same page is sometimes more about building team relationships, not necessarily all project communication. Having that little bit of time to share what else is going on in your world outside of the project can get the feeling of connectivity to teammates flowing.
Visually Present Your Progress
One way our team has gotten out of the habit of only saying what we worked on and will work on is to have the project management board up and visible. Rattling off our tasks becomes unnecessary when we can all see where the tickets are, so this forces us to share more pertinent information or talk through the work with teammates.
Try Using A Buzzer
If all else fails, call out a teammate—including yourself!—when they merely give a status report. If you catch yourself doing it, try saying, “Oh, that’s just a status update; here’s something I could use help with.” This will act as a good reminder to the entire team without drawing attention to anyone else. Or, if your team is a crowd with a sense of humor, having an actual buzzer sound go off when someone drifts into status update territory could be a fun way to change the flow of your standup!
Standups that become a recitation of everyone’s status updates without any real interaction or problem-solving aren’t worth the team’s time. If that sounds like your team’s problem, try some of these suggestions to shake up your standup.