Sometimes people don't make that much of a progress and even if they do, saying each day I will do something and the next day that I did...then you lose more time than it is worth it to mention it. In terms of speeding up the daily Scrum I would recommend to concentrate on one question "What did I accomplish yesterday?". Did you have the same experience, second that, disagree?

5 Answers 5


No, the purpose of the daily scrum is not to address the three questions. The following is an answer I posted on Quora few days ago:

I have a slightly different view of the daily scrum.

The daily scrum is a waste if everyone is talking about what they did in the previous day, what they are doing now and what they plan to do next.

It would be meet its purpose if everyone is seeing what they need to do together to get the highest priority story to completion. If that story is blocked, the team needs to look into the next story and so on.

What is the difference?

When people talk about what they did, the focus is on the individual. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen teams have daily scrums where people are not hearing what others are saying. This causes the team to stop working as a team. The focus moves from the individuals towards the stories and thus the value delivered. It forces the team to think along the lines of taking up the different tasks involved in completion of a story and move it forward. This means that the stories are completed faster.

It ensures that none of the team members is caught doing over-analysis. As engineers, we like to analyze and understand things. While it is good in most scenarios, the person might be working on what might constitute a new story that can be taken up in the next iteration and effectively blocking the story from moving forward. In fact, in a team where everyone or at least more than 2 people work on the same story, this comes up even before the daily scrum and is resolved earlier.


Refocus the Stand-Up on Coordination

While the Scrum Guide calls out the standard "three questions" almost as a fixture, the questions themselves aren't the point. The real objective of the daily stand-up is to enable the Development Team members the chance to coordinate with each other, and to identify hand-offs and dependencies in the work.

Speeding up the daily stand-up should never be an explicit goal. While teams should respect the time-box, artificially shortening the meeting without achieving the necessary coordination defeats the purpose of having the meeting at all.

Refocus your daily stand-up on coordination within the team rather than on pulling status. If you need to reword the questions to make that happen, do it, but don't skimp on the self-directed coordination between team members.

  • yes, it sounds like they have a process issue that's masking as a problem with the questions. Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 16:50

If your answer to the question of "what will I do today" is the same day after day, then you're not breaking your tasks down enough. Or else you have a roadblock. Or perhaps you're not making any progress.

And that is one of the reasons for that question: are you making progress and how do you show that? If you're not making progress, why not? (the roadblocks answer).

If your answer to what you did yesterday is changing, then you should be able to figure out what you will be doing today that is different from yesterday. If the answer to what you did yesterday is also not changing, it at least looks like you're not doing anything.

  • I know that answering these 3 questions (1. What did I accomplish yesterday?; 2. What will I do today?; 3. What obstacles are impeding my progress?) gives more information than just talking about 1.
    – Sam
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 19:12
  • I know that answering these 3 questions gives more information than just talking about one of them. But sometimes getting the same information...I was working on mapping from A to B, and will work on A to B...the next day the same... Ok, maybe the mapping task is too big and should be split...but this is up to the team members to choose the size. The developers themselves say we are not creating small tasks since its too much of a hustle. Therefore I thought just letting them answer 1, think about one question would lead to less talking time.
    – Sam
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 19:21
  • 1
    @Sam: If it is a regular occurrence that a task is planned to last more than one or two days, then your tasks are too big, with all the consequences for estimation accuracy. If your developers refuse to create smaller tasks, then you need to look into your process for creating/managing tasks if that doesn't take too much time/ceremony. Commented Jan 17, 2015 at 12:34
  • @Sam: And even the few times I worked on a multi-day task, I could vary my answers, for example by giving an estimate when I would be done or a estimate of how far along I was. Commented Jan 17, 2015 at 12:35
  • 1
    For these kinds of long tasks, the team needs a "definition of progress". This might be different from the "definition of done". This might be necessary for tasks that are both mundane and huge (labor), or are highly exploratory and challenging (research). In all cases, you could ask the team member to talk a little bit more about the detail.
    – rwong
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 3:11

In addition to the answer by Thursdaysgeek I would also add that the three question format serves an often overlooked but critical function within high performing teams;

It ensures that team members commit to their teammates they are working

The team becomes self-forming because it displays

  • Transparency
  • Motivation
  • Technical Aptitude
  • Commitment
  • Honesty
  • Courage

If a a team is coming together in a stand up and one developer is continually saying no progress has been made the team will begin to form around that developer offering support or guidance. However, if that developer is not progressing due to laziness or incompetence it will not be long before the team make that known and request action from the management.

The 3 question format is the quickest and easiest way for a Scrum Master and/or Product Owner to gain oversight of team effectiveness.

In a non-Scrum environment it can be easy for employees to coast, especially if they have a good working relationship with the Management. In Scrum, that veil is pulled back for all team members to see on a daily basis.

However - thursdaygeek has the most complete answer and it should be considered superior to this one; I am merely offering an additional perspective.

  • That's an excellent point that was cool to see when I worked in an agile environment. Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 16:48
  • I concur that this is an important aspect and have found that under performers like to hide in vague or repetitive answers.
    – Vermis
    Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 16:58

For your suggestion on only answering the "what did i do yesterday" question:

The Stand Up is a planning meeting. The yesterday question is necessary to see where we are so we can plan the next step. The team plans how to collaborate and go on towards the sprint goal. If you only answer the "yesterday"-question you are basically reading out loud the scrumboard. Then you really can skip the daily.

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