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10 Daily Standup Questions for Better Scrum Updates

Parvathi Vijayamohan

Last Updated:  

11 June 2024

5 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 of the project?

What are daily scrum updates?

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.

Before exploring these questions, you might want to check out our free scrum templates.

Remote Daily Scrum

The 10 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, e.g., 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. On the other hand, Rebecca is all about getting things done quickly 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.
  • Discover 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 do more than their planned work. It can also alert the team lead if someone works too frequently on non-planned work.

How comfortable are you with your assigned tasks?

Purpose: This question is crucial to understanding whether team members feel they have the right skills and knowledge to complete their tasks successfully. The insights gathered can help address the following:

  • If someone is uncomfortable, it could be due to a lack of knowledge or skills in a particular area.
  • Managers can reassign tasks to better suit the team’s skills and comfort levels or provide additional support where needed.
  • Ensuring that team members are comfortable with their tasks can lead to improved productivity and higher-quality outputs.

How aligned do you feel with the project’s goals and objectives?

Purpose: This question helps in assessing whether the team has a unified vision and understands the project’s main goals.

  • Insights from this question can ensure that every team member understands and is aligned with the project’s objectives.
  • When team members are aligned with the project’s goals, it fosters a sense of commitment and ownership.
  • A unified understanding of goals encourages better collaboration among team members.

How clear are your task priorities, and do you foresee any conflicts in managing them?

Purpose: This question is imperative for gauging the understanding of team members regarding their task priorities and helps in resolving any impending conflicts in task management. It can be instrumental in:

  • Ensuring each team member has a clear understanding of their task priorities can prevent mismanagement of time and resources.
  • Early identification of potential conflicts in managing multiple tasks can aid in quick resolution and smoother project flow.
  • When tasks are prioritized correctly, team members can focus on what’s most important first, thereby optimizing overall productivity.

How can the team better support you in accomplishing your tasks?

Purpose: This question aims to identify specific support or resources that team members might need, fostering a supportive and collaborative environment.

  • This helps in identifying ways in which team members can support each other to achieve common goals.
  • It addresses individual needs, and provisupport can lead to increased productivity.
  • Fostering Positive Work Culture: Creating an environment where team members feel supported and valued.

Do you have any suggestions or feedback to improve our current processes or workflows?

Purpose: Encouraging team members to voice their opinions and suggestions can lead to optimized and more efficient workflows.

  • Regular feedback can help in refining processes for better results.
  • New ideas and perspectives can lead to innovative solutions and improved workflows.
  • Allowing team members to contribute to process improvements makes them feel valued and heard.

FAQs about daily 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 and 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. Cloud watcher. Aunty to a naughty beagle.

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