Article: Why your daily stand-ups don't work and how to fix them

September 11th, 2022

(Why your daily stand-ups don't work and how to fix them)


Model: 5 heuristics you're doing stand-ups wrong

symptoms which indicate you’re doing your stand-ups in the wrong way, for the wrong reasons:

  1. Heuristic: Stand-ups take more than 15-minutes

  2. Heuristic: People talk about their work instead of talking about goals

  3. Heuristic: People stop showing up regularly

  4. Heuristic: People talk to their manager (or “scrum master”) instead of talking to their peers

  5. Heuristic: If the manager or “scrum master” can’t show up, the stand-up doesn’t happen


Quote: the purpose of daily stand-ups

the purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.

(origin: What is a Daily Scrum? -



Model: weaponized stand-up


Quote: what went wrong with stand-ups

What happened to stand-ups is that we shifted our focus from “getting things” done to “ensuring people are working”.


Quote: some managers weaponized stand-ups out of a mistaken belief it will accelerate deliveries

The truth is that many managers weaponized their stand-up so that they could keep people busy. These types of managers believe in efficiency rather than effectiveness, which also usually leads them to load their team to maximum capacity utilization thinking it will accelerate deliveries, when in fact it just slows their teams down.


Heuristic: your stand-up is weaponized it happens at the very first minute of the work day.



Model: 6 Recommendations to make stand-ups work

  1. Stop rambling. Go through a Kanban board.

    • Anti-pattern: What did you do yesterday?

    • Anti-pattern: What are you going to do today?

    • Anti-pattern: How are things going?

    • Pattern: focuses on the sprint’s goal, not on someone’s productivity

  2. Prioritize ageing issues.

    1. Anti-pattern: waste time discussing something which isn’t a problem

    2. Pattern: ageing issues should raise an alert - clarify requirements or cut scope

    3. Anti-pattern: Instilling fear in the name of “accountability”

    4. Pattern: blameless process - discuss which processes or policies they should change to prevent the problem from happening again

  3. Focus on blockers.

    • Pattern: "Everything is going well. No blockers."

    • Anti-pattern: wastes everyone's time proving you’re productive

  4. Invite the entire team, including PMs and Designers.

    • Quote: Tasks are not only blocked by complicated technical issues. They’re often blocked due to complex specifications, missing designs, and an unsound business opportunity.

    • Pattern: when you discover additional complexity, discuss which compromises could be made to enable an early delivery for a fraction of the cost without significantly impacting your bottom line

    • Anti-pattern: everyone must always attend every stand-up

  5. Move detailed discussions asynchronously.

    • Pattern: include in the follow-up discussion only those that are interested

    • Quote: Think of the stand-up as the moment to identify issues, not necessarily as the moment to solve them.

    • Heuristic: split off a meeting if the problem can't be solved in less than 3-4 minutes

    • Anti-pattern: exclude people from these discussions

  6. Incentivize self-management and instil psychological safety.

    • Anti-pattern: penalize people for surfacing issues

    • Pattern: incentivize the team to raise issues as soon as they appear


Quote: stand-ups & learned helplessness

Daily stand-ups are a classic example of self-learned helplessness. We all know they suck. Yet, we don’t do anything about them



Focusing on people’s work and using busyness as a proxy for productivity hinders a stand-up meeting’s benefits.


Quote: benefits of good stand-ups

When done right, stand-ups diminish the time it takes to get feedback, reduce communication overhead, and allow different functions to align their priorities


(src: Why your daily stand-ups don't work and how to fix them)