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30 daily standup questions to get more from your meetings
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30 daily standup questions to get more from your meetings

Get 30 daily standup questions to cover a range of scenarios and run more engaging, productive, and valuable standup meetings.

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You’re on your way to work and you stop in at your local coffee shop to pick up some joe for your team. They’re a diverse crowd with unique preferences: Some like strong black espresso, others favor a decaf latte, while the team on fifth drowns theirs in sugar and cream. Despite knowing this, you order the same flat white for everyone and then are surprised that half of them get thrown out. 

It’s not that your team doesn’t appreciate the gesture, but one-size-fits-all is rarely true—including for daily standups. If you always ask the same three daily standup questions you could be missing valuable insights or failing to get to the root of problems.

To avoid this, you need to tailor standup questions to your team and project to make it truly valuable for everyone. 

In this post, we’ll cover how and why you should vary your questions to suit different roles, aims, and standup formats. You’ll also get a list of 30 questions to ask in a range of scenarios. 

Let’s dive in. 

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Why should you go beyond the three daily scrum questions? 

Daily standups are a pulse check on your team's progress and challenges. However, the standard three standup questions don’t always reveal the depth of insights you need: They uncover the “what” but not always the “why.” 

These questions are:

What did you do yesterday? 

What will you do today? 

What’s blocking you? 

They may also not dig deep enough into role-specific concerns. For example, a software engineer might be focused on building a new feature, while the product owner is concerned with user stories. Asking them the same questions might not give enough context into why they’re doing what they’re doing, or what they need to move forward. 

If your standup doesn’t boost alignment and encourage critical thinking and collective problem solving, you could try asking alternative questions. 

According to Dimitri Graf, Manager, Web Development & Design at Canonical, warning signs of a bad meeting include it becoming a boring routine, without discussion or people offering to help each other. “If 10 people show up and just do their part, then either everything is perfect (which I doubt) or there’s something wrong with the meeting,” he says. 

To address this, he recommends asking follow-up questions to spark discussion and show people the standup is a space to get help.  

Let’s look at how to do that, and which questions to ask for alternative daily standup formats

30 daily standup questions 

The questions asked in a standup should be relevant, open-ended (no “yes/no” answers), engage people, and show empathy toward them. With that in mind, let’s look at what the typical three daily standup questions reveal. 

Three daily scrum questions and alternatives to consider

The purpose and outcome of the standup meeting is to focus on immediate past and future tasks and allow people to get help. The typical questions are: 

1. What did you do yesterday? 

This helps you understand individual and project progress and completed tasks. It can also reveal blockers to progress or opportunities for improvement. 

For example, if someone didn’t achieve much yesterday because they didn’t understand their tasks or were tied up in meetings, that’s something you need to address. This also allows people to understand what’s blocking team members from completing tasks they’re waiting for them to deliver, which promotes empathy.  

Here are some follow-up questions you can ask to go beyond a simple status update:  

2. Which work items have you completed since the last standup? This promotes accountability, provides visibility into dependencies, and allows leaders to track progress and task completion. 

3. Did you learn anything recently that can benefit the team? This opportunity for peer-to-peer learning can be highly motivating and lead to improvements. For example, new tools, techniques, or processes that enhance productivity. 

4. Were you asked to do work or attend meetings you didn’t expect? This reveals potential workflow disruptions and issues with the chain of command or resource allocation. Based on the answers, Scrum masters, project managers, and leaders can better manage workloads and expectations.

5. What will you do today? 

Here’s where estimates meet reality, which is particularly helpful for project managers focused on keeping things moving. 

Sharing daily goals promotes accountability and visibility and allows for better planning and team coordination. It also helps avoid duplicate work, redundancies, or things slipping through the cracks. For instance, if a developer plans to work on a non-critical feature, you can push it back and assign them more urgent tasks instead. You can also check whether any critical tasks aren’t on anyone’s radar. 

Alternative or follow-up questions include: 

6. Which work items are you planning to complete, and by when? This promotes ownership and encourages team members to plan ahead. For example, if they’re waiting on someone to complete another task first, they’ll need to think about how that impacts delivery estimates. 

7. Do you have what you need to focus on your top priority items? This encourages preparation and allows you to adjust resource allocation as necessary. A related alternative could be, “Have you identified any potential risks or challenges in your upcoming tasks?” 

8. How does this align with project/team goals? This connects individual tasks to broader objectives and keeps people and work focused on the end game. 

9. From 1-10, how full is your plate right now? This allows you to assess workloads and reassign tasks to avoid delays and burnout.

10. What’s blocking you? 

This question reveals obstacles to individual and project progress before they escalate. It’s also a chance for team members to offer help, which fosters teamwork and strong, connected teams. 

Alternative or follow up questions include: 

11. What specific help do you need to overcome obstacles? This makes a general call for help more focused, so you can identify those best placed to assist and allocate resources accordingly. 

12. Do you have any unexpected issues, work, or tasks that could delay delivery? This reveals potential roadblocks or delays so you can proactively adjust schedules and manage stakeholder expectations. 

13. Anything you need to escalate or bring to the team's attention? This identifies critical issues needing immediate attention or higher-level intervention and benefits leaders by keeping them informed of major concerns that could impact project success or team dynamics.

14. Any dependencies that might affect your work or that of others? This highlights interdependencies in team tasks, alerts you to potential bottlenecks, and helps project coordinators ensure smooth workflows and timely task completion.

Asking more nuanced questions can uncover hidden insights that allow you to get to the root cause of challenges. For instance, an engineer might share that they’re struggling to build out a feature. However, more targeted follow up questions reveal that a specific bit of code is causing the problem, which allows developers to provide targeted support. 

Pro tip: Set up a Switchboard for standups. Everything’s saved after the session, so you can create your list of questions and it’ll stay right where you left it, ready for next time. Better yet, you can use Switchboard AI to brainstorm alternative questions and summarize the answers.  
Switchboard room with apps and sticky notes.
Switchboard saves your work, so you never need to prep the room or share materials again. Source: Switchboard

Walk the board questions

“Walking the board” involves prioritizing tasks your team can finish today and understanding what they need to complete them. To do this, “walk” your task list, such as a Kanban board, from right to left, focusing first on near-completion tasks and blockers to progress. This encourages focus on issues, priorities, and task completion rather than simple status updates. 

Asking the right questions will help the team understand bottlenecks and promote collaborative problem-solving. For example: 

15. What can we finish today? This lets team members and project managers prioritize and adjust timelines. It’s also motivating to be able to check items off your list. 

16. What would it take to finish this, and who can work on it? This reveals the specific requirements and resources needed to complete a task, like time, tools, and personnel. This allows you to assign tasks based on skills and availability for more efficient task management. 

17. What’s blocking us from getting X done and how can we fix it? This reveals obstacles hindering progress and prompts collaborative problem-solving.  

18. What’s in our control about this issue, and what’s not? This keeps challenges in perspective by distinguishing between actionable items and external factors. Then, you can focus efforts on what can be changed or influenced, rather than worrying about external constraints.

Pro tip: Pull up your project management platform, spreadsheet, or issue tracker in Switchboard to work on it side by side right in the room—without sharing screens. No more unproductive context switching between tools and tabs to check or update task statuses.
Switchboard room with Asana and chat open.
Any web-based app works in Switchboard.  Source: Switchboard 

Sprint goal questions

Asking about the sprint goal shifts focus from individual team members to project objectives. It’s a chance to make high-level organizational changes, reassign tasks, update deadlines, and spot emerging issues that could snowball and impact the sprint goal. 

Questions you can ask include: 

19. What have we achieved to get closer to the sprint goal? This focuses on the positives so far, reveals collective progress, and is motivating for the team to see what’s already been achieved. 

20. What do we agree on doing today to progress toward the sprint goal? This encourages collective planning, helps to get everyone on the same page, and boosts alignment and efficiency.   

21. What’s blocking us from focusing on the sprint goal? This identifies roadblocks or unproductive distractions like too many meetings and allows you to deal with them. 

22. Are we on track to deliver and what’s at risk? This sheds light on overall project status and potential roadblocks, enabling risk management and overall team awareness.

23. Are there any tradeoffs we can make to ensure we meet our priority goals? This offers opportunities for compromise, collective brainstorming, strategic planning, and resource allocation.

Pro tip: Switchboard lets you organize everything–and everyone–by project, so you never need to dig around email or Slack threads to find materials.  
Switchboard room with people and apps open.
With everything in one room, it’s easier to keep everyone on the same page. Source: Switchboard 

Motivating standup questions

Asking motivating questions lets you check in on team members’ wellbeing, highlight achievements, and strengthen connections to each other and their work. This is particularly beneficial if you’re working on long-running, complex projects or have suffered a setback.  

Possibilities include: 

24. What’s the status of your tasks today? Red, yellow, or green? As well as identifying impediments, this reveals how people feel about their work. For example, a UX writer might say, "Yellow today; I’m making progress on the user flow but finding the lack of customer insights frustrating." 

25. Who wants to share a win? Highlighting individual or team achievements–and shouting each other out–is highly motivating and encourages teamwork. Starting on a positive also reminds the whole team what they’re capable of, so they feel more able to tackle challenges.  

26. How can we assist each other in achieving our goals today? This fosters teamwork and a supportive environment. 

27. What would give you a sense of achievement if you completed it today? This reveals team members' perceptions of their work and its value, which enables better people management.  

Daily wrap-up questions

Held at the end of the day, the daily wrap-up focuses on reflecting on the day’s work, addressing any last-minute issues, and setting people up for the following day. This avoids breaking the flow of the workday and is more inclusive of those in different time zones. 

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

28. What’s worth sharing? This highlights significant progress, insights, or discoveries, giving the entire team a broader understanding of developments. It also fosters a sense of collective progress and achievement.  

29. Who/What needs feedback? This pinpoints where team members need input or validation, so leaders and coworkers can provide timely, constructive feedback.

30. Who do you need help from? This enables targeted support, resource allocation, and workload management. It also ensures team members are set up for the following day, offering peace of mind before they log off.

Pro tip: Ask for in-context feedback by starting a comment thread on any item in a Switchboard room and tagging team members to contribute. 
Switchboard comment thread.
In Switchboard, you’re always communicating in context. Source: Switchboard

How to adapt daily standup questions to your team 

To run effective standup meetings you need to be flexible and adapt the format and questions to your team’s needs and dynamics. Here’s how:  

  • Recognize individual strengths, challenges, and levels of experience. For example, asking someone with good analytical skills and project management experience to contribute to problem-solving is highly motivating for them.
  • Cater to different personality types. Introverts may appreciate more general, less personal questions or asynchronous standup meetings where they can provide updates in writing. Extroverts may prefer open-ended, brainstorming-type questions that allow them to share their thoughts.
  • Cater to different learning and communication styles. Some people may appreciate visual aids, while others prefer written summaries. Either way, everyone should have the opportunity to learn and contribute however they feel comfortable.
Pro tip: Use Switchboard as your asynchronous standup meeting tool to run more inclusive standups—and give people back more time for focus work. Just share updates in your dedicated room in writing, sticky notes, or via the room recording and hop in anytime to catch up.    
Switchboard room with apps and chat.
Switchboard is async-first, so you can move faster without constant meetings. Source: Switchboard 

What to say in a standup meeting: examples 

Answers to standup questions should be concise, clear, and relevant. You should avoid blaming people and give kudos where appropriate. Here are some sample answers:  

  • What are you working on today? "Yesterday, I completed design mockups for the landing page and sent them to the development team. I also resolved issues with the layout thanks to help from Sarah."
  • What are you working on today? "I'm starting the new feature implementation for our mobile app. I’m also attending a client meeting to discuss their feedback."
  • Any blockers or challenges? "I need access to the latest database update to ensure data integrity.” 

Daily standup questions: Mix it up to get deeper insights 

Just as you wouldn’t expect everyone to take their coffee the same way, you shouldn’t expect the same basic daily standup questions to work for everyone. To dig into role-specific challenges and make the meeting valuable for everyone, you need to vary what you ask. 

For example, you can ask follow-up questions or ones targeted to a different format, like “walking the board,” daily wrap-ups, focusing on sprint goals, or motivating your team. This lets you keep updates relevant and understand each team member's unique contributions and hurdles, so you can provide support. 

You can also vary how you run these meetings by providing updates by an agreed upon deadline, rather than actually holding a meeting.. Everything you add to your standup room is saved, so people can leave their updates and catch up when it suits them. This lets you keep your team aligned without constant meetings—and makes the ones you do have more productive. 

Do more during and between meetings. 
Switchboard saves your work, so you share materials and get up to speed before the meeting—and down to business when it starts. 
Learn more.

FAQs about daily standup questions 

What should be in a daily standup? 

What should be in a daily standup depends on your team and project. Usually, agile teams answer three standard questions focusing on immediate past and future tasks and blockers. However, alternative formats include focusing on urgent or near-to-completion tasks, sprint goals, or a daily wrap-up. 

What three questions are asked in a daily standup? 

The standard three standup questions are:

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

However, you can also ask follow up or alternative questions to hone in on role-specific challenges or adapt to a different meeting format. 

How can I make my daily standup interesting? 

You can make your standup interesting by asking questions that dig deep into individual and team challenges, so the meeting is genuinely useful. You should also encourage people to ask for and offer help to foster teamwork. You can also vary things by trying different standup formats–like wins-and-blockers-first or “walk the board.”

Stop, collaborate, and listen

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Do more during and between meetings.

Switchboard saves your work, so you share materials and get up to speed before the meeting—and down to business when it starts.