10 tips to improve your Agile daily stand-ups

When coaching teams I regularly share tips with them on improving their daily stand-ups. Here are ten of those most commons tips:

NGN Kanban

  1. Get each team member to take a turn facilitating the daily stand-up. This stops any one person dominating the stand-up. Rotate daily.
  2. Walk the wall from right to left. Focus on the work, not each other. That is, starting at your right most column on the wall and working left.
  3. For each card on the wall ask the question “how can we get this card moved to the right?”. Too many teams treat the daily stand-up as a status update. Instead, the daily stand-up should be about problem solving.
  4. Gather in close around the card wall. Don’t be shy. If you can’t see the detail on the cards then you’re too far away. Get in close and jostle for position if needed.
  5. Come prepared. Make sure you’ve updated the card wall before the daily stand-up, not during.
  6. Look right or down before looking left. That is, when you’ve completed a card on the wall, first look right or in your current column to see if you can help anyone else finish their work. If you’ve exhausted all avenues to help finish work, only then should you look left to start more work.
  7. Focus on unblocking blocked work. Summon the necessary people required to unblock a card to the daily stand-up so they can see the impact they’re having on the team.
  8. Blockers with unblock ETA. If a blocker has an ETA date for unblocking (days or weeks) in the future,do you really need to have a repeat discussion about the blocker everyday?
  9. Use green arrows to show movement. When someone in the team moves a card on the wall, stick a green arrow icon on it. As the day goes on, more and more arrows should appear on the card wall. Then, at the daily stand-up you will see a nice clear summary of movement over the previous day. At the end of the daily stand-up “reset” the card wall be removing all the green arrows. External stakeholders to the team particularly like this feature.
  10. Card wall admin. At the end of the daily stand-up, the person who facilitated it is responsible for tidying up the wall, i.e. straighten the cards, redraw any faded lines, remove the green arrows, and sync the physical card wall with the electronic card wall.
  11. Review Goals. Whatever goals you have in place, it’s really important to keep these at the forefront of everyones mind.

ok, I know this post is supposed to be ten tips and I’ve listed eleven but 11 tips doesn’t have the same ring to it as 10.

What tips have you got? Please share them in the comments below.