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What are the pros and cons of using Daily Standups?

I am interested in your personal opinion about this. Positive side of Daily Standups I see, but negative I can't find.

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    Welcome to PMSE! Opinion polls are off-topic on Stack Exchange. If your question is closed, you can continue to edit it so that it fits our guidelines and can be re-opened by the community. – Todd A. Jacobs Dec 3 '15 at 22:59
  • Denny, this question would be a better fit for the site if you asked about a problem you've seen in your stand-ups. – Mark Phillips Dec 9 '15 at 10:21
  • Please revise the question to address practical problems in project management as described in How to Ask. Avoid open ended poll questions. – Mark C. Wallace Dec 9 '15 at 12:01
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There are many articles on out there on the benefits of standups. This one is as good as any I suppose:

http://spin.atomicobject.com/2009/07/07/10-reasons-we-have-daily-stand-up-meetings/

You'll find different answers in different articles but they all boil down to this: keeping your team in sync with each other allows you to address your work more effectively.

Cons are harder to find because there really aren't any disadvantages to good tactical planning. If you search for "challenges" you'll find a little bit. This article addresses some of the more common challenges:

http://www.sitepoint.com/scrum-standup-slowing-down/

If you're wondering if you should have stand ups, the answer is simple. You should. Do they right.

One other point I'd make is that I've heard of cons that actually are the standup shedding light on other problems. If you have someone on so many teams that the total time for all of their standups is cutting too much into their day, the problem is not the standups - they're spread too thin or they don't belong in the standup.

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I am a huge fan of daily stand-ups, but there are some disadvantages:

  • Team members can sometimes wait until the stand-up to communicate important information rather than telling the team immediately.
  • The stand-up can be seen as a replacement for in-sprint planning.
  • The timing of stand-ups can be an area of dispute. This is particularly true if your team has a mixture of early and late starters.
  • Stand-ups can cause disruption in badly arranged open-plan offices.
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When the team is spread out (like ours is over 3 continents), daily standups are not as effective. If everyone is in one location, it is a quick 15 minute huddle at the beginning of the day, but if people are spread out, it is not going to be in the "beginning of the day" for many of them.

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    You make a really great point Amrinder. I've worked with teams spread across most of the world. Something to consider is that the Scrum in a tactical synchronization with the team. Doing that at the beginning of the day has some huge benefits. I've seen some distributed teams have to not rely on scrum for their day-starter and get that benefit elsewhere. – Daniel Dec 8 '15 at 22:00
  • Who said standups have to happen at the beginning of the day? – Nathan Cooper Dec 8 '15 at 22:07
  • @NathanCooper US Federal Code Article 12, Section 11 says that standups are only allowed to happen at the beginning of the day (unless the participants want to have it another time). – Amrinder Arora Dec 8 '15 at 22:23
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Limiting my answer to only practical issues in project management, a daily stand up consumes time.

tl;dr

Assuming that the goal of the stand up is to improve communication, you've got to be very confident that this is the best way to improve communication, and very sure that you're not communicating the wrong message.

The Long Version

Time is one of the key resources on the iron triangle - every hour you spend in a daily stand up has an impact on cost and quality.

My team is an even dozen. If I gave each of them 5 minutes, the total length of the meeting is an hour - that is 12 hours a week that I'm investing in communication rather than in the production of goods and services valuable to our customer.

During that hour, the person speaking and I are fully engaged. Roughly two thirds of the rest of the team is disengaged and playing games on their phones. That isn't just money I'm pouring down the drain, it is a very clear message to my time that I value their work less than I value participation in a group grope. That is a message I'm reluctant to send.

Investing 12 hours of work is significant. I won't do that unless I can guarantee that it is the best way to use that 12 hours. The obvious alternative is that I meet with each of the team members for 10-15 minutes (15x2x12) which is only 6 hours, during which nobody is idle; everyone in the meeting is focused on the meeting. For my team the superior alternative is to have one representative from each of the functions meet to discuss cross functional issues. For my team that is 3 people for 15 minutes - probably 45 minutes.

The tl;dr is that communication is ultimately my job and my responsibility and I believe I can do it more effectively and more efficiently than a stand up.

Aside: And 5 minutes isn't realistic; my experience is that in any group of 10 people, there is at least 1 person who cannot say "hello" within 5 minutes, and at least one other person who has a complex problem that the team cannot resist solving in the meeting - the average is probably closer to 10 minutes than 5.

Second Aside: the true impact is probably even greater - most of my team works on maker time not manager time - a 1 hour interruption in their day will destroy between 90 minutes and 4 hours of productivity.

Third aside: Problems are like crack cocaine - It take tremendous discipline to avoid solving problems at the table. If even one of the 12 people raises a real problem, then I can predict with some confidence that at least 2 of the others will try to solve that problem. That will result in a discussion where we rehash all the simple solutions that we've tried and discarded, and then redefine the problem for the people who aren't involved in it. Everyone has good intentions and wants to be helpful, but is more interested in solving the problem than stewarding time. So I've got a new challenge - I have to shut down discussion of a problem without looking like I don't care about the problem or that I don't value the good intentions of the team. And while I'm doing that I'm still communicating to the disengaged team members that I care more about their presence than their work product and I'm still communicating to my sponsor and stakeholders that I care more about standup than I do about the closure of the project.

  • -1 turning stand ups into 1-1 status reports is not an even trade. This is not good agile practice and isn't good for team communication. I don't believe people can't answer the 3 questions in less than 5 minutes. I run stand ups for a similarly sized team and it took about 15 minutes last time. – Nathan Cooper Dec 19 '15 at 23:57
  • Excellent point s. I am not agile and resist agile. If you have the discipline and will to do agile right, then your points are entirely correct. My experience is that agile is fragile, and that management wants lip service to agile, but won't tolerate things like self organizing teams. They want agile, not that hippie crap. And explaining the concept to management is a fools errand. – Mark C. Wallace Jan 2 at 20:03

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