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10 daily standup formats for more effective meetings
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10 daily standup formats for more effective meetings

Discover 10 standup meeting formats for more effective, engaging meetings. Stay aligned and get more done—in and in between meetings.

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Imagine your whole team has to wear the same one-size-fits-all shirt. In theory, it’s designed to suit everyone, right? Well, one look around the office blows that theory out of the water. One person’s looking good, but for the rest, it’s either stretched too tight, fitting too snug or just not their style. 

Just as a single shirt can't possibly accommodate everyone’s unique shape and size, the conventional daily standup format might not be the best fit for every team. You need to experiment with different formats to find the right one, ensuring your meetings and, by extension, your teams function more effectively. 

In this post, we’ll cover 10 daily standup formats you can try for running more effective daily huddles. We’ll also outline how to run them in real time or async Switchboard to make your teams more productive.  

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10 daily standup meeting agenda formats   

Let’s take a look at some daily standup meeting agenda formats you can try to run more effective standup meetings

1. Traditional daily standup meeting: Three standup questions 

This is a common format for standups, especially for teams using Agile methodologies. Meetings are typically short, around 15 minutes, and highly focused. When sharing updates, team members answer these key questions for effective standups:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What will you do today?
  • What’s blocking you?

For example, an engineer might have spent all yesterday battling a bug. Today, they’ll tackle the next set of features but are struggling with a fiddly integration. Hearing this, another team member offers to help, having experienced a similar issue. 

This format boosts alignment and lets people get the help they need so projects can move forward on schedule. It also fosters open communication, transparency, ownership, and accountability. 

On the downside, keeping updates brief and relevant to everyone can be challenging. You also need to know when to table side discussions that are unrelated to the purpose and outcome of the standup. Otherwise, the standup can quickly become a waste of time for some. The routine nature of the questions and format can also lead to mechanical responses and people not paying attention. 

So, while the standard format has its merits, exploring alternatives can make your meetings more interactive and better suited to your team’s needs and dynamics. 

2. Round robin 

The round robin is another popular format for daily scrum meetings that ensures a structured, democratic approach. 

Here, each team member takes turns sharing updates. The order is predetermined, so everyone knows when their turn is coming and can prepare accordingly. When meeting in person in the conference room, some teams like to have a physical object that gets passed around the group to indicate when it’s the next person’s turn. 

Giving everyone a designated time to speak can work well for teams where more vocal members tend to dominate. For example, a reserved team member might feel less stressed sharing their challenges with your new coding platform when they know they don’t have to compete with others for attention.  

However, this predictable format can lead to people zoning out until it’s their turn, so they don’t give their full attention to other people’s updates. If you’re meeting virtually, follow virtual meeting best practices and ask people to keep cameras on through to discourage multitasking.

Pro tip: In Switchboard, you can make the meeting full screen to avoid being distracted by work waiting for you in other tabs. 
Switchboard room with people and apps open.
Switchboard lets you pull up all the browser-based apps your team needs. Source: Switchboard 

3. Walk the board 

This format is helpful if you organize your workflows using a Kanban board. However, you can also use a spreadsheet, backlog, or list of your team’s tasks. However you visualize tasks, you’re looking to understand what your team can finish today and what they need to do so. It’s an approach that emphasizes team collaboration over individual progress. 

With your board in front of you, “walk” through tasks from right to left, focusing on the most urgent or nearest-to-completion first and what’s stopping them from getting done today. You can also make this user-focused by walking through sprint backlog items in order of importance or status. Note that with this approach one person might speak several times during the meeting, and that’s ok. 

This approach gets everyone up to speed on overall project progress, makes it easy to visualize bottlenecks, and fosters collaborative problem-solving. For instance, if a task is stagnating in the “In Progress” column, the team can brainstorm ways to move it forward. Considering the whole board also offers an overview of individual workloads so you can reassign tasks if necessary. 

Of course, the golden standup meeting rule is to keep discussions to the point and know when to table side topics for another time. The goal is to achieve alignment and for people to get help, not get bogged down in the minutiae of task execution. To avoid this, assign a meeting facilitator, which could be the Scrum master, product manager, or a team member. It’s their job to keep the meeting on track, schedule follow-up conversations, and assign people to action items.

Pro tip: You can see and update all your apps and files right in your Switchboard room—no more unproductive context switching between tools and tabs to check statuses. 
Switchboard room with Asana and chat open.
With everything in your room, you’re always communicating in context. Source: Switchboard

4. Wins-and-blockers-first 

This approach highlights team or individual achievements and progress before moving on to focus on obstacles. 

Start by having each team member share a recent win, however small, and shout out anyone who contributed to it. For example, a team member might say, “Yesterday I successfully integrated the new payment gateway and tested it. I’d like to thank Anne for standing in as my beta user." Then, move on to focus on roadblocks. Perhaps that same team member can’t move forward until they get access to your wider community of beta users. 

This approach sets a positive, constructive tone that’s empowering, encourages teamwork, and boosts morale. Having started on a positive that reminds the team what they’re capable of, discussing blockers should feel less daunting. It also ensures the most important issues get discussed before the meeting ends. 

Of course, you need to keep the wins section short so you have time to address blockers. Also, take care to avoid creating a culture where people wait till the meeting to ask for help rather than proactively reaching out at other times.  

5. Async standups 

Unlike synchronous meetings, which require everyone to gather at the same time, asynchronous standup meetings achieve the same goals but on a flexible schedule. Team members share updates via dedicated standup meeting tools, Slack, or your project management platform when it works for them. Then, they catch up on colleagues’ progress and offer or ask for help as needed.

For example, an engineer in Berlin might start their day by posting an update in a Google Doc in the team’s dedicated Switchboard room. A teammate in San Francisco reads it when they come online later and starts a comment thread on the doc to offer help with a blocker. After chatting for a while in threads, they hop into a video call to talk out a complex issue. 

Async working keeps people aligned and supported without having to put down what they’re doing to attend a meeting. It’s also more inclusive of different communication styles and distributed teams because nobody has to join out of hours. Written updates also encourage consciousness and there’s no sitting through irrelevant updates that don’t concern you.

Switchboard comment thread.
Tag a team member to start a comment thread on any item in the room. Source: Switchboard

6. Traffic lights 

This check-in uses a simple but effective method to quickly assess task and project status, as well as team morale. 

Each team member shares their status using “red,” “yellow,” or “green” to indicate whether they’re facing significant challenges, juggling minor issues, or everything is going great. For example, a UX writer might say, "I'm at yellow today, making progress on the user flow but I need more data." Once all the updates are in, start addressing the “red” issues first. 

You can also use this method for people to express how they feel about their work. Of course, you’ll need to first establish an atmosphere where people feel comfortable talking about their feelings.  

Either way, this simple but effective visual metaphor lets you quickly gauge project and team health. You can quickly identify the people and issues that need immediate attention. 

Take care, though, to ensure people don’t oversimplify complex issues, or that glass-half-full team members don’t dominate. Ask follow-up questions to encourage team members to delve deeper into their statuses so you can get the full picture. 

7. Four quadrants method 

With this method, updates are divided into four categories. These might vary by team and project but, as an example: 

  • Completed tasks: What each team member has accomplished since the last meeting.
  • Planned tasks: What they intend to work on next.
  • Blockers: Any challenges or impediments they’re facing.
  • Questions: An opportunity to ask for clarification. 

For example, in the final quadrant, an engineer might ask when the developers will have the code ready so they can start building your product. 

This format provides a more comprehensive view of the team’s work and needs than the standard three questions. However, with an extra question in the mix, you’ll need to be even more on top of timing. Protracted or one-to-one discussions should continue afterward between the relevant team members—not the whole team.  

8. Lean coffee

This democratic, agenda-less format gives team members a say in what gets discussed in the meeting. They propose work items in advance before voting on what to discuss. This shifts the focus from individual status updates to items that are important for the entire team. 

Here’s how it works in Switchboard: 

  • Before the meeting, team members access their standup room and add suggestions in a Google Doc, sticky notes, or directly in your Kanban board app. 
  • At the start of the meeting, the leader creates a poll in the voting app so the team can vote on items to discuss.
  • During the meeting, the facilitator uses the timer to limit discussions of individual items before polling people on whether they want to continue or move on. Another team member notes down follow-up or action items using the notepad and assigns a team member to each task. They can also create tasks directly in the project management app or add issues to the issue tracker. 
  • Afterward, the facilitator summarizes room activity and materials using Switchboard AI and shares the summary in the room. Anyone who missed the meeting can then catch up on their own schedule without having to watch the room recording. 

Lean coffee is great to encourage participation from all team members and ensure discussions are relevant to everyone. However, it’s easier to get sidetracked without a structured agenda, so be sure to keep an eye on the clock.

Switchboard room with apps and sticky notes.
Everything stays right where you left it after the meeting in Switchboard, so people can catch up async. Source: Switchboard

9. Tactical weekly standup

Weekly standups are a variation on daily meetings but more in-depth, looking at the previous and coming weeks. The focus might also extend beyond day-to-day tasks to include broader strategic sprint goals and long-term planning. For example, project milestones, upcoming deadlines, or changes of direction in response to challenges or opportunities.

The meeting is longer than 15 minutes, so you can experiment with the format. For example, you might try the “Progress, Plans, and Problems” approach, which encourages team members to think longer term and spot obstacles that could affect the project before they escalate.  

Of course, you still need good time management to keep the meeting focused and productive. Also, be ready to make changes if the frequency doesn’t work for your team. For instance, you could try switching to an ad-hoc, needs-based standup that’s triggered only when there are sufficient issues or news to warrant a meeting.

Pro tip: Do more outside of meetings by sharing materials and agendas in your Switchboard room. Team members can get up to speed before the meeting, so you’re ready to get down to business when it starts.  
Switchboard menu with room names and spreadsheet in a room.
Switchboard saves everything, so you can hop in on your own schedule to get up to speed. Source: Switchboard

10. Daily wrap-up

A common complaint about morning daily standups–especially for distributed teams–is that they break the flow of your day. Even when you’re all in the same time zone people work best at different times, so one person’s ideal meeting time might be another’s preference for deep work.

The daily wrap-up solves this by holding the meeting at the end of the day (assuming you’re not in different time zones, of course). It also shifts the focus to reflecting on the day’s work, addressing any last-minute issues, and setting people up for the following day.  

Instead of the standard standup questions, in the wrap-up teams answer:

  • What’s worth sharing?
  • What needs feedback?
  • Who do you need help from?

These questions are broader and encourage team members to think about what others need to know rather than reporting on the minutiae of their day. 

Imagine a team working on a tight deadline. As the day winds down, they gather for a quick wrap-up. One person might express satisfaction at completing a critical task, before flagging an issue that needs input so they can continue tomorrow. This approach ensures they finish work with a clear mind, knowing that key issues are either resolved or scheduled as a priority for the following day.

One downside of this approach, however, is that people may not remember what was said the following day. For that reason, you need to document everything really well and save it somewhere everyone can access it—like your Switchboard room. 

Daily standup formats: Switch it up for more effective meetings 

Instead of making your team wear some ugly-ass one-size-fits-all sweater, imagine how awesome they’d look in tailored suits that are perfectly adapted to them. 

That’s the effect you can achieve when you break out of the conventional standup mold and try different daily standup formats on for size. For example, async standups, walking the board, four quadrants, daily wrap-up, weekly tactical standup, wins-and-blockers first, or the traffic light check-in.  

Whatever you choose, being flexible and adaptable allows you to fit your team's unique dynamics and needs—and achieve more efficient, productive meetings that engage everyone. 

Try running standups in a platform like Switchboard that lets you adapt meetings to your team’s working and communication style. Because it saves your work and makes everything multiplayer, you can explore any browser-based app or file side by side—or cancel the meeting and catch up async. 

Run more effective standups
Switchboard rooms save your work so you can do more in – and between – meetings. 
Sign up free.

Frequently asked questions about daily standup formats 

What is the format of a daily standup? 

The format of a daily standup is generally for team members to answer three questions focusing on what they did yesterday, what they’ll do today, and what roadblocks they’re facing. This keeps the whole team aligned and creates a space for team members to get help. 

However, there are several alternative daily standup formats, like: 

  • Async standups 
  • Walk the board 
  • Four Quadrants 
  • Daily wrap-up
  • Weekly tactical standup 
  • Wins-and-blockers first 
  • Traffic lights check-in 

What are the three questions in a standup? 

The three standard questions in a standup are:

  • What did you do yesterday? 
  • What will you do today? 
  • What’s blocking you? 

Sticking to these questions encourages brevity and a focus on what’s immediately important.  

What do you say in a daily standup? 

In a daily standup, you usually talk about past and upcoming daily tasks and anything that’s preventing you from moving forward. However, some alternative daily standup formats include a space for mutual recognition, sharing wins, or asking questions.  

Stop, collaborate, and listen

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Run more effective standups in real time or async.

Switchboard rooms save your work and make everything multiplayer, so you can do more in–and between–meetings.