9 tips to improve your Agile daily stand-ups

large daily stand up

While traditional textbooks advocate asking each attendee at the stand-up three fundamental questions – “What did you do yesterday?”, “What are you doing today?”, and “Do you have any blockers?” – this may not be the most dynamic way to approach Agile stand-ups. The essence of Agile is continual improvement and adaptability. If you’re ready to energize and revitalize your daily stand-ups, consider incorporating elements from the Kanban method.

Here’s a list of nine innovative strategies to enhance your daily stand-ups:

  1. Adopt a Right-to-Left Strategy: Instead of focusing on individuals, concentrate on the tasks at hand. Begin from the farthest right column on your board and move leftward, questioning how each card can progress to the right. This shifts the narrative from mere status updates to active problem-solving, ensuring a more efficient meeting when there’s limited work in progress.

  2. Prioritize Completion over Initiation: After finishing a task, scan the same column or the ones to your right to determine if you can assist a colleague. Only when all options to aid in task completion are exhausted should you consider starting a new one from the left.

  3. Be Prepared: Update the board prior to the stand-up, not during. This helps maintain the flow and purpose of the meeting.

  4. Proactively Address Blockers: Bring in individuals who can assist in resolving a blocked task. This ensures they understand the direct impact their involvement has on the team.

  5. Avoid Repetitive Blocker Discussions: If a blocker has a clear ETA for resolution, it may not be necessary to reiterate it daily.

  6. Monitor the Time-in-Column: Platforms like Jira display the duration a ticket has spent in its current column. Delve into why certain tasks remain stagnant and brainstorm solutions.

  7. Continually Reflect on Goals: Whether they’re weekly, monthly, or project-based, consistently remind the team of overarching objectives to maintain alignment.

  8. Rotate Facilitation Responsibilities: Allow every member to facilitate the stand-up periodically. This ensures diverse perspectives and prevents any single member from monopolizing discussions. For teams new to stand-ups, consider delaying this rotation until everyone is comfortable with the format.

  9. Consider Multiple Check-ins: Why limit to just one stand-up a day? Some teams derive value from a morning stand-up and a brief afternoon check-in to assess progress and recalibrate if necessary.

Transitioning to a Kanban-inspired stand-up might be a game-changer for your team. Embrace the spirit of Agile: Stop Starting, Start Finishing! Your team’s productivity and the quality of discussions will likely soar, and you might wonder why you hadn’t made the switch sooner!

About Ian Carroll

Ian consults, coaches, trains and speaks on all topics related to Lean, Kanban and Agile software development.

Connect with Ian at the following


1 thought on “9 tips to improve your Agile daily stand-ups”

  1. Thank you Ian.
    The visual affect of daily movements made should be a good motivator to the team, because individually I’ve experienced some/most don’t have much interest if Fred, for instance, did this yesterday and doing the other today – but that’s a whole new thread.
    Back to the board, I like the idea of green arrows as a motivator and also as a replanning factor – the less green arrows showing probably would indicate too many tasks are too large and taking longer to progress forward, therefore not helping stakeholders see progress.
    Cheers Andy

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Further information...

The content of this article is just the tip of the iceburg. To dive deeper into any of these case studies or concepts join our 2 day Portfolio Kanban live online course.

Application for a free Agile Coaching session

I would like to speak with an advisor