3 Questions Scrum Masters Can Ask to Run More Effective Standup Meetings

One thing I’ve learned after running thousands of standup meetings over the last 15 years: most teams hate attending standup.

3 Questions Scrum Masters Can Ask to Run More Effective Standup Meetings
Photo by Christoph von Gellhorn / Unsplash

One thing I’ve learned after running thousands of standup meetings over the last 15 years: most teams hate attending standup.

This is mostly because standups are just boring status updates. But they can also be frustrating, especially when important questions go unanswered. So how can Scrum Masters break free and start facilitating effective standups their teams want to attend?

These three questions have helped me take standup to the next level:

Question 1: When should we get other people involved?

I love asking this question when a team member is struggling with a hard problem, stuck waiting for a dependency, or just not making much progress.

It helps create a time box for getting this person more help and sets the expectation that it’s okay if they can’t solve the problem on their own.

Question 2: What’s coming that might push us off track?

This is basically asking the team “what are you afraid might happen?” It works well because it creates an opportunity to be more forward looking with regard to risks, without pointing fingers or naming names.

A team member might report that everything is going well with their task, and also that if they don’t get an answer on a particular question, it could derail their progress.

Question 3: What should we have talked about, but didn’t?

A great question to ask at the end of standup. And one that requires you to embrace some silence, even if it’s uncomfortable.

This question is great and surfacing the “elephant in the room” topics that nobody really wants to discuss, but they know should be discussed.

Try these at your next standup and you’ll be on your way to more engaged teams.