What is the best time to do your daily standup meeting?

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The daily standup (or scrum) meeting, helps product development and project management teams share the status of their assigned tasks and work transparently and efficiently. The three questions that are typically asked at each standup are:

  • What did you accomplish since the last standup?
  • What are you working on now until the next standup?
  • What are the blockers that are keeping you from doing that work?

When done correctly, these team status updates aid agile and remote team management and ensure that project deadlines and milestones are consistently met.

When is the best time to hold a daily standup meeting to maximize its impact? While the answer will vary, there are certainly some pros and cons to consider for each block of the workday.

Morning

Many leaders who manage agile teams argue that standups must always be held in the morning. After all, the standup is designed to plan work for each day. By scheduling status updates in the morning, the team is fresh, focused and able to report on current status.

But what about members of the team who aren’t “morning people” and need time to review the status reports from the day before? Other team members might operate on a flexible schedule and miss a standup that is held first thing every morning.

Organizations that decide to hold daily standups at the beginning of the workday should allow time for all team members to get to the office (or log in) and collect their thoughts about the previous day’s activities.

Midday

Many organizations have flexible work schedules, giving employees the freedom to choose their working hours. As a result, some team members may come in late, while others leave early. To effectively track daily goals amid a flexible work environment, it may be necessary to hold the daily standup in the middle of the day, during “core hours” when all team members are present. This midday timeframe benefits team members who work best during the morning hours, allowing them to take advantage of the “golden hour” of productivity in the morning so that they come prepared to give a detailed update at the midday standup.

A risk of holding midday standups is that some employees may schedule lunches that overlap with the scrum time, delaying the start time or preventing a full update. If midday meetings are consistently under-attended or starting late, it may be wise to switch to a different time.

End of the day

Some teams turn scrum upside-down by holding it at the end of the day. Instead of beginning the day’s work with an update, they instead choose to report on what happened during the day, what they plan to accomplish tomorrow, and if any blockers will prevent them from doing the work. This gives teams a way to wrap up the day, and come prepared with more detail about what occurred during the workday.

Holding a daily standup at the end of the day could pose a risk that team members will be too tired and eager to go home to participate fully. It may also be challenging to ensure that all team members are present if the meeting time falls out of core working hours or employees need to leave early.

Which time is best?

More important than timing is that each key member of the team is present (either in person or remotely) and ready to contribute to the team report. To capitalize on the output of each scrum, an agile team reporting solution or a daily standup software program can help organize standup notes and work assignments, making it easier to manage remote team reporting and to keep all employees aligned, no matter where or when they happen to be working.


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