Daily Stand-up Variations

During the last few years I did different kinds of stand-up meetings in Scrum and in Kanban teams. In this post, I’m going summarize the pros and cons I found in them.

The most common stand-up meeting style is the daily scrum. In this meeting, the ball or a stick goes around round-robin style. The participant holding the token tells the team what she did yesterday, what she will do today and what blocks her from continuing her work.


  • Well documented methodology

  • Works fine for beginner teams

  • Works fine for small teams (4-6 people)


  • Gets boring after a while, people may pay less attention after a couple of months

  • The information content of the tiny monologues decreases over time

  • The blocking issues are usually forgotten, or handled with less priority

  • Usually, the scrum master has to ask about blocking issues directly in order for them to be discussed

  • The three questions give the possibility to talk about activities outside of the team, which aren’t relevant in 4 cases out of 5

A less common variant is when people talk about the tasks, not about themselves. Go task by task from right to left, top to bottom - this is the priority order. First, talk very shortly about finished the items, then about the ongoing ones, and if there is some time left, talk about the upcoming items.


  • More focused discussions

  • People pay more attention to the task details

  • Less unnecessary discussion

  • Works fine for large teams (7-10 people) as well as for small teams

  • No more round-robin style

  • If someone has nothing to say, that means that she did work outside the team, which is a waste from the team’s respective. If this happens regularly, it must be handled.


  • The blocking items still get less focus

  • If someone from the team has lots of duties outside of the team, she will feel frustrated because she cannot tell the others what she is doing

  • Needs more time to learn and adapt to

Kanban teams tend to talk about only those tasks which are blocking the flow of the value stream.


  • Real focus on the blocking items

  • Works with very large team setups (10-40 people)


  • Does not favour team work. If one does not talk about the ongoing tasks no one can join in on that particular task

  • Requires a lot of experience, not recommended for beginner teams

Based on the pros and cons, I finally found the setup which works quite well for one of my current teams and for me:

  • Start with the blocking tasks from the parking lot, tasks with stop signs and tasks from the impediments column

  • The team should try to solve them on their own, and immediately escalate when the issue has gone out of the team’s reach

  • Continue with the tasks from right to left, top to bottom

  • Talk about activities outside the team, and about general issues

  • Optional design or task related discussion after the stand-up meeting

This kind of setup needs a one or two week long learning curve, because although most of the blocking issues can be solved by the team, the discussion takes some time and, by the book, we have 15 minutes for the whole thing. This method works well for middle sized teams with 7-11 people, too.

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