How to execute effective daily standups using Slack?

I use pretty standard questions to run technical team standups:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What will you do today?
  • Anything blocking your progress?

The challenge that I recently encountered is that when these questions are asked in a written form (such as using a Slack bot), users tend to answer in terms of the tickets they’ve worked on, e.g.

What did you do yesterday? JIRA-001, JIRA-002
What will you do today? JIRA-003

That’s not particularly useful because anyone can just lookup which tickets are being worked on in Git/Jira.

The best way to fix this situation is to explain the goals of these standups to the team:

The goal of the daily standup is for the team to synchronise about what has been recently completed and plan for the next 24 hours. It is not a status report to your boss. Rather, it is a meeting in which you as a team make commitments to each other — If today you say you will complete something, everyone knows that tomorrow that will be ready for them to use. Therefore, take time to read through everyone’s standup notes and comment if you have questions.

More specific to each question:

What did you do yesterday?

The goal of this question is to show the entire team what you’ve achieved yesterday. If someone in the team did a great job — give them a compliment (👍).

This question is for mentioning things that you’ve completed. If you’ve completed the entire ticket — include link to the ticket. If you’ve completed a subset of the task described in the ticket — described what you’ve achieved (and link to the associated ticket).

Do not just list ticket IDs — they are meaningless to the reader.

What will you do today?

The goal of this question is to signal to the rest of the team what tasks you are planning to complete today.

As with the previous question, if you are planning to complete the entire ticket — link to the ticket. If you are planning to complete a subset of the ticket, then describe what you are planning to complete and which ticket it relates to.

This question enables the team to know what you’ve committed to complete today and allows them to start (mentally) plan work for the next day.

Anything blocking your progress?

You must answer this question if you’ve not completed what you’ve committed the day before.

List the impediments that prevented you from completing the task(s) that you’ve committed to. This could be unplanned meetings or unforeseen technical challenges. Whatever blocks you mention their resolution will be prioritised.

Written by

Software architect, startup adviser. Editor of https://medium.com/applaudience. Founder of https://go2cinema.com.

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