3 Useful Tips in the Pursuit of a Leaderless Stand-up

Re-posting a short article I wrote for Scrum Alliance a couple of years ago, I believe this topic is still very much relevant and my view below still stands.


A good daily stand-up is a rare sight. Many of you have probably seen one but not noticed that it was good. This is rooted in human nature; we are a lot better at noticing when something isn’t right, and we can all probably agree that a poor stand-up is easy to spot.

With that said, how do we, as ScrumMasters or facilitators, achieve a good stand-up without micromanaging? How do we get to that point where we can simply stand silent in the corner and everything just flows and everyone is happy?

There are, of course, several things that can be off in a stand-up. But there are a few things that are easy to implement and give you a lot of bang for the buck.

Listed here are the three things that I see going wrong most often during stand-ups:

  1. The team sees the stand-up as a report to the manager(s) or facilitator, and not a chance to update the team. Try to avoid eye contact with the person talking. One good tip is to stand behind the person talking, to force him or her to address the team.
  2. Team members are late or they await the facilitator’s signal to start the stand-up. Make sure you start the stand-up at the same time every day, no matter who is missing! This reinforces the idea that the team as a whole is more important than any one single person.
  3. Team members don’t know who is speaking first and are waiting for the facilitator to tell them. Introduce a speaking token to make sure everyone knows who is supposed to speak first. The person who has the token last at this stand-up starts first at the next one.

These changes might seem small or insignificant but, in my experience, they are the ones that best create the change you’re looking for. If I could change only three things in a stand-up, these three would be the ones. Alone they won’t make everything perfect, but when the team gets a feel for them, they will leave you with a much better stand-up than you started out with.


– Originally published on: https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/articles/2013/september/3-useful-tips-in-the-pursuit-of-a-leader-less-stan

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