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5 Daily Standup Questions for Better Scrum Updates

Parvathi Vijayamohan

20 January 2022

4 min read

Daily standup questions for scrum updates go more or less like this:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What are you planning to do today?
  3. Any challenges to your progress?

The problem is that many resources don’t explain the logic behind asking these three questions.

Secondly, these daily scrum questions help the scrum master know the “what” of each task; but they don’t talk about the “when.” So how do you judge the overall progress on the project?

There are 55 million meetings a day happening in the United States alone. According to Ty Collins, former Head of Digital Content at Calendly, you will find six types of meetings at almost every company: work status, problem-solving, decision making, team building, info sharing, and brainstorming.

Daily scrum updates can be a simple way to reduce those meetings by a few zeros. We can do this with a couple more daily standup questions:

4. How much time do you think you will need for each task?
5. Is there other stuff you worked on that was not planned earlier?

Before we explore these five questions, you might want to check out our free scrum templates.

Get the work done, faster.

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Daily Standup Meeting Template

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The 5 Daily Standup Questions You Shouldn’t Miss

What did you do yesterday?

Purpose: This question can reveal the following things about the state of the project:

  • If the team members have clarity on their tasks.
  • If they have unproductive tasks that may be sucking up their time. For eg., a day full of meetings or manual data entry.
  • The different work styles of each team member. For example, John prefers to take his time on a task to deliver the best quality output. Rebecca on the other hand is all about getting things done fast and efficiently.

What are you planning to do today?

Purpose: It is easier to prioritize tasks once you know what tasks each person is doing. But it also helps achieve the following:

  • Keeping everyone on the same page about individual tasks. So if Ajay needs Susan’s help with something but she’s busy with another task, he can time his request for when she’s free to take it up.
  • Spotting and fixing any unintentional overlap in tasks.
  • Discovering tasks that were overlooked because everyone thought someone else was handling them.

How much time do you think you will need for each task?

Purpose: In sum, this question helps you understand how ​​close you are to hitting your project goals. It can also uncover the following:

  • Grasping the different times that each person takes for the same task.
  • Monitoring dependent tasks better. For example, to deploy a new CTA button by X date, Feifei needs Robert to share the design by Y date.
  • Identify potential delays and nip them in the bud or adapt the project accordingly.

Any challenges to your progress?

Purpose: Is there anything preventing the work from getting done? This is the space to bring it up and get help. Stuff to bring up here can include:

  • Technical challenges (like system repairs or power blackouts)
  • Personal challenges (like people out sick or personal responsibilities)
  • Team-level challenges (like a shortage of people for critical roles or ego clashes)
  • Project-related challenges (like struggling to learn something)

Is there other stuff you worked on that was not planned earlier?

Purpose: Sometimes, team members might get ad hoc requirements or work unrelated to the current project. Maybe a teammate needed a favor, or the manager required them to work on a higher priority task for a week or two.

This question allows team members to notify others whenever they did more than their planned work. It can also alert the team lead if someone works too frequently on non-planned work.


FAQs about scrum updates

#1. What are the three pillars of scrum?

The three pillars are – transparency, inspection, and adaptation. Check out Zuzanna Talik’s blog ‘The Three Pillars of Scrum’ for an excellent explanation.

#2. Is it daily scrum or standup?
The Scrum Guide defines a daily scrum as a 15-minutes-or-less meeting for developers to “inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and adapt the Sprint Backlog as necessary, adjusting the upcoming planned work.”

Sprints are a term for project duration, with fixed lengths of one month or less to create consistency, and the Scrum Master oversees Sprint planning. Scrums also have Scrum Artifacts – a set of parameters by which the work is judged.

The daily standup is like the scrum without the restrictions & guidelines; more like employee check-ins. There is no 15-minute time limit, although it is encouraged. Moreover, the daily standup can be adapted for multiple teams – including product, marketing, and sales.

#3. Who starts the daily scrum?

Anyone can start the meeting, as long as they keep it brief.

#4. Is Scrum Master a real job?

Of course! As cultish as it sounds, a Scrum Master leads a team using the scrum methodology and ensures that the team follows best practices during a project. It’s less of a formal job description, more like an honorific.

#5. What is weekly scrum?

Weekly scrums are an opportunity for team members to step back from their daily tasks and reflect on their weekly achievements and learnings.

For example, at SurveySparrow we have a Slack channel called #weekly-reflections, where everyone can post on Friday about the things they achieved during the week. It’s a nice way to end the week on a positive note.

What scrum practices are a part of your culture? We would love to hear about it in the comments.

Parvathi Vijayamohan

Growth Marketer at SurveySparrow

Fledgling growth marketer. Curious about all things SaaS. Aunty to a naughty beagle.

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