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What To Say in Stand-Up Meetings: Tips to Keep It Short and On Point

Your daily scrums should be short, straight to the point, and filled with fast-paced communication. Here's what to say in a stand-up meeting.

The Hugo Team
The Hugo Team
The team transforming meeting productivity
What To Say in Stand-Up Meetings: Tips to Keep It Short and On Point

A stand-up meeting is a quick daily meeting where you bring together team members to share updates about their progress, where they currently are with their tasks, and any roadblocks they’ve encountered.

Also known as a ‘scrum team’ meeting, these shouldn't take more than 15 minutes but can have a massive impact on the cohesion built across team members.

Within this article, we’ll be discussing how to run a stand-up meeting, some common mistakes to avoid, and tips to make your daily stand-ups as efficient as possible. We’ll touch on:

  1. What daily stand-ups are
  2. The purposes and benefits of a daily stand-up
  3. What is said in most stand-ups
  4. General tips for running a stand-up meeting
  5. Final thoughts on this form of project management 

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What is a daily standup meeting?

Standup meetings are shorter meetings held at regular intervals, typically every morning that keep all of your team on the same page.

While it’d be a little literal to think these meetings all happen while stood up, this meeting title mainly suggests the short and sharp nature of their contents. Instead of a more extended, sat-down discussion, everyone is huddled around and will fire off their points rapidly.

Due to the nature of daily standup meetings, they’re also known as ‘Scrum’ meetings, reflecting the fast team-talk before a play in a sports game.

Which team members should be involved in stand-up meetings?

Stand-ups require the entire team to be present. Everyone should be there, giving all of your employees a chance to talk and discuss their current work. 

While a scrum meeting may typically have a point leader, most likely the manager, they can run fairly autonomously when done right.

Whether your teams are in-person or have remote team members, everyone should get involved in this short meeting format. One of the ways to ensure that the whole team attends your daily scrum is to send out a notice ahead of time. Especially with remote teams, this helps avoid any time zone conflicts or confusion.

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What are the purposes and benefits of a stand-up meeting?

Daily stand-up meetings should bring the whole team together for a brief discussion of what is currently going on in everyone’s working day. 

The main things you should aim to cover are what tasks are currently getting started, updates on currently underway tasks, and wrap-ups of any projects that are coming to an end. These updates help keep all of your team members informed—a stand-up meeting provides an accessible and fast way of sharing information.

There is a whole range of benefits to standing meetings:

  • Track workflow to boost efficiency - With an efficient scrum meeting, everyone knows what’s currently going on across the team, helping to streamline the progress of your business.
  • Improve communication - When working independently or within your teams, you can often lose sight of the other people within your company. Standup meetings can ensure everyone is working at the same rate as a team.
  • Build shared vision - Losing focus on the bigger picture can derail projects. With these standup meetings, you’ll ensure everyone knows exactly what they’re working towards.
  • Be an agile team - Standup meetings keep every team working cohesively together, helping your project plan to flourish and boosting progress.

Incorporating standup meetings into your daily work schedule ensures that all of your team are on the same page, boosting your teams’ progress by creating a cohesive department from the last meeting to the next meeting and beyond.

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What to say in a stand-up meeting?

If you’re the scrum master taking point on your daily stand-up, you can ensure that everyone has access to an agenda of what to include in their questions or answers. Try and keep people’s updates to the following three points:

  1. Recent Accomplishments
  2. Goals They’re Working Towards
  3. Obstacles They Must Overcome

Said another way:

  1. What I did
  2. What I'm doing
  3. What's blocking me

Let’s take a look at the idea of what to say in a stand-up meeting in more detail.

Accomplishments (What I did)

Every team member needs praise from time to time. These opening comments will allow a team member to share what they’ve achieved recently, whether that be overcoming an obstacle that was blocking their path or coming to the end of a challenging project.

The standup meeting is a great place to provide positive reinforcement and keep your team as positive and productive as it can be. Gallup recently published a fascinating study. They revealed that employees who receive positive feedback on projects they’ve worked on from their managers have a 67% higher output than those who receive no feedback at all.

Your stand-up meeting is an excellent opportunity to highlight the performance of your team members, giving them that positive boost they need to perform their very best.

Goals (What I'm doing)

Every team member should be focusing on a specific task, with the daily meeting providing a great opportunity for them to share their current progress. This will keep you up to date with where all of your team members are currently with their projects. 

What’s more, the daily stand-up can subtly help people be more productive, with them having to break down their tasks to the group meaning that they, too, have a better picture of where they’re heading.

As a project manager, you’ll be able to use effective stand-up meetings to keep your team, remote employees, and on-site teams on the right path to success.

Obstacles a team member is facing (Blockers)

From the development team to marketing to the engineering team, everyone runs into obstacles from time to time. With a few minutes to cover people’s obstacles, you’ll be able to use your daily standup as a meeting place for ideas. If someone is struggling with a particular roadblock, they can share their problem and potentially get advice from other employees.

While one team member may be struggling with an issue, another may have the expertise to solve it; bringing this issue to light in the standup meeting allows that connection to be made between employees.

With these three sections, you’re well on your way to conducting effective daily stand-up meetings.

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Tips for running a traditional standup meeting

Now that you know exactly how to structure your standup meeting, let’s look at some tips to help them run as smoothly as possible. We’ll be touching on these four tips:

  • Meeting Location and Schedule
  • Brevity
  • Use a Meeting Agenda
  • Format

Let’s break them down further.

Location and Schedule

Your team members should know when and where your next meeting will happen almost automatically. Without having to search for the information, you should make sure everyone knows where your team meetings are held.

How you go about doing this is ensuring that you use the same location every single time, be it online or in a certain conference room. What’s more, your daily scrum meetings should occur at the same time each day, making sure that everyone knows when and where to attend the next meeting.

If you’re juggling many teams, there will likely be a group or even just one person who always seems to run late. Due to this, schedule the meeting at an unusual time that is harder to forget, like 9:55 or 9:20. If remote teammates or in-person team members are running late, begin without them.

Over time, people will come to recognize that your timings are that way for a reason, and due to the short structure of the meetings, it's a time-sensitive issue that they arrive before it begins.

Brevity

No one likes to have endless meetings. They get in the way of the working day and waste time. Especially for managers, you can lose up to 30% of your week to meetings that could have very likely been an email.

To help your team stay engaged, keep your daily standup meeting to around 15 minutes. This should be enough time for your team members to share where they’re currently at and get feedback on their progress.

Use an Agenda

We cannot stress the importance of staying on track. One of the common mistakes of stand-ups is taking too much time and losing focus. Using an agenda can make everything run smoothly as you’re working with a limited time schedule.

Before your meeting, by using a tool like Hugo, you’ll be able to attach an agenda to your meetings. This will allow other members of your team to see what the set agenda has on it, and to prepare ahead of time.

Take a look at this sample agenda you can build into Hugo.

Your daily meetings will run a lot smoother if your teams already know what they need to say, and how much time they have to do it.

Pro tip: Be sure to set a reminder for your team to take a look at exactly what you’ve put on the agenda before the meeting. You can pair this with a general time and place reminder.

Format

Most daily stand-ups live and die by their timings. Aim for short meetings with a lot of content, using your agenda to keep the meeting on track.

Once you’ve run through a few standup meetings, people will get a feel for how you like them to run. This can help increase the speed of your stand-ups, helping everyone get back to what they do best. 

Keep focus, make sure to hit the key points of your agenda, and cover team progress as quickly as possible. Fortunately, with a scrum meeting, the agenda is very trim. It may be more a matter of not taking on topics that should be discussed elsewhere.

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Final Thoughts On What To Say in a Stand-Up Meeting

Your daily scrums should be short, straight to the point, and filled with fast-paced communication. In addition, every meeting you hold should have a purpose, with this daily standup meeting providing a platform for your team to come together and share their current progress.

Although they don’t last long, a daily standup can synergize your team, help build communication between remote workers and in-person employees, and pave your way to complete team success.

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