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11 fun stand-up meeting ideas to energize your team
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11 fun stand-up meeting ideas to energize your team

Are your daily stand-up meetings boring? Learn how to revitalize stand-up meetings with 11 creative ideas to balance efficiency with fun.

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In a project called "Quattro Pro for Windows" led by the Borland Software Corporation, a team of eight engineers produced a whopping one million lines of code in 31 months.* How did they achieve such incredible productivity? Each person contributed over a thousand lines of code a week because they met every day to identify roadblocks, worked together to solve them, and avoided sprint delays. 

During their daily meetings, people had to be truly present so they held it while standing up. And that’s how "stand-up meetings” were invented. This idea became popular very quickly, and 30 years later, most agile teams still host daily 15-minute stand-up sessions the way the team at Borland Software Corporation did. 

Stand-ups are important for alignment and team building, but they can run long and be perceived as tedious, which affects people’s motivation. While many people recognize the value of these daily meetings, you might be asking yourself whether or not you’re doing it right and if there’s a way to make them more interesting. 

As a leader, you need to find a balance between running effective stand-up meetings and using creative ways to make them more enjoyable and effective. In this article, we go through 11 fun stand-up meeting ideas so you can have more productive daily meetings. Let’s dive in.

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11 creative standup meeting ideas 

Stand-ups, also called daily scrums, are supposed to be short and help you remove blockers. However, having a daily stand-up for the sake of following a process defeats its purpose and becomes a waste of time. Remember, this idea was first introduced 30 years ago when developers didn’t have access to a shared code repository or a project management tool like Jira. 

While daily scrum meetings don’t have a reputation for being always fun, there are ways to make these meetings a bit more creative and boost participation. Here’s a list of ideas to make team meetings engaging–like daily standups–fun and productive. 

1. Start with a check-in

Switchboard’s room with the voting app feature
Use Switchboard to host daily scrums and check in on your team using the vote app. Source: Switchboard

Typical stand-up meeting rules say they should only last 15 minutes, so there’s not much time to ask icebreaker questions. But you can use one or two minutes to ask people how they’re feeling or to share what their workload looks like using a poll with emojis. Keep track of trends and, as a manager, you can then use different meetings (like 1:1s) to check in if it looks like people are stressed or overwhelmed. 

Make sure you take time to review poll answers so your team knows you truly care about them and that you’ll take action to help them sort out their workload. Asking check-in questions but ignoring the outcome can be counterproductive to the team’s morale.

2. Kick off the meeting with good news

"You don’t want to overcrowd stand-ups with games. But you can make the meeting more pleasant for your team by starting it with positive news," says Dimitri Graf, Manager, Web Development and Design Manager at Canonical

The goal is to kick off the session with a brief update to show people that you care and aren’t just there to review the backlog. “The idea is to start with some positive news. You can’t just switch on the camera and go ‘Okay, this is the agenda for today.’ Treat everyone like humans,” says Graf.

If you have client news or any team updates, even personal news, use the first two minutes of the call to share them and improve camaraderie.

3. Ask fun stand-up questions 

Following the previous idea, you can start daily huddles by asking your team a question they can answer immediately, or through the meeting chat, or the open questions app in Switchboard. The goal is to get people to be present and pay attention from the very beginning in a fun way. You can also learn a little bit about people. This is different from a check-in because you’re looking for full answers, not necessarily an emoji reaction or a vote on a poll. 

Examples of fun stand-up questions include: 

  1. What’s a TV show you watched recently and recommend? 
  2. What’s one task you finished yesterday that made you happy?
  3. What’s one task that you’ve been procrastinating on?
  4. What's the best trip you've ever taken?

4. Ask motivating stand-up questions 

This is similar to number three but more related to work or personal achievements. The idea is to collect people’s answers in the chat or give each one the chance to answer in a sentence. This helps boost morale in development teams and encourages team bonding. Examples of motivating questions are: 

  1. Can you share something positive that happened at work yesterday/last week? 
  2. What are you grateful for today?
  3. Who has a win they want to share?
  4. What would make you feel accomplished if you completed it today?

5. Shoutouts

Daily stand-ups let you share status updates, review work in progress, and help each other remove personal blockers. But to get everyone interested and motivated, it can be fun to include shoutouts at the end of the sessions. This doesn’t need to be long and you can skip them if no one added anything, but the idea is to thank each other for their contributions and share what they appreciate about team members. 

Try this: Add an agenda item for celebrating wins and ask people to contribute to the list. Or make a section for shoutouts in your Switchboard room where people add sticky notes detailing various team wins. Examples of shoutouts can look like this: “Thanks to Hava for taking the time to explain how to use GraphQL.” Or, “Shoutout to Brian for finding the checkout bug in record time.” You can choose to read these once a week to keep them relevant and exciting. 

6. No stand-up Wednesdays

To keep meetings interesting and efficient, sometimes you need to cancel the bad ones. As mentioned, when stand-up meetings were created, people didn’t have access to the collaboration tools we have now. There’s plenty of information shared at the meeting that a scrum master can collect simply by opening Jira or asking on Slack. 

This means you might want to consider skipping a day altogether. You can do this on Wednesdays, Fridays, or any preferred day—but remember to ask your team about their thoughts on this before making changes. 

Note: Don’t skip stand-ups on new projects or if the project has a lot of issues. Only skip them if the whole team feels some updates can wait a day.

7. Try different stand-up meeting formats 

The usual stand-up has a specific format. It’s 15 minutes long, takes place at the same location, and people are asked three questions while standing up:

  • What did you work on yesterday?
  • What are you working on today?
  • What’s blocking you from progressing on your tasks?

Just like learning a song you’ve played on repeat, people memorize the meeting order. This can lead to them zoning out until it’s their turn to speak. A good way to keep your team engaged and invite them to think creatively is by trying different stand-up formats

For instance, you could cut the meeting short by 5 minutes or change the wording of the questions. Instead of asking, “What’s blocking you from progressing on your tasks?” As the first question, ask, “Did something block you from finishing a task yesterday?”

Pro tip: Use Switchboard’s persistent project rooms to have all your stand-up meeting data on hand, hold video calls, or collaborate asynchronously with your team. You can also use the timer feature to avoid going long. 
Switchboard daily scrum project room with a timer running and an opened doc
Switchboard allows you to use rooms as a conference room, a collaboration platform for async work, or a place to store all project-related documents and web tools. Source: Switchboard

8. Change the location 

A good way to keep stand-ups fun and fresh is by changing the location. If your team is working at the office, hold Friday’s stand-up from the office coffee shop, on the terrace, or in a different room. 

If your team is fully remote, invite people to work at a cafe or coworking space near their houses—if possible, give them a gift card or a bonus for them to pay for the day at the coworking space. If you have a hybrid team, make both things happen at once, but make sure your remote team can join and listen to the meeting without any issues. 

9. Take it async 

With shared project management tools, information sitting on the cloud, and communication tools, you don’t really need to have live meetings all the time. Consider having asynchronous stand-up meetings at least once or twice a week to give people more time for focus work. 

If you’re using Switchboard as your stand-up meetings tool, you can run effective stand-up meetings asynchronously by following these steps:

  1. Create your dedicated, persistent stand-up room on Switchboard
  2. Populate the room with a Google Doc so each team member can share updates, progress, and blockers, or use the notepad feature three times to create a Kanban board view
  3. Open your project management platform in the room and assign a task for everyone to add to the Google Doc every morning
  4. Get everyone to commit to reading the updates in the morning

With all your updates in one place, it's easy for team members to analyze changes, track progress, identify repeat issues, or follow up individually with people. Switchboard also improves async collaboration and real-time meetings as it eliminates silos, context switching, and notification overload.

Switchboard room with a project proposal and sticky notes
Switchboard makes it easy to collaborate async so you can cancel more meetings and get back more time for focus work. Source: Switchboard

10. Walking meetings

Ironically, many people take stand-up meetings sitting at their desks. This debunks the purpose of the meeting because sitting can lend itself to people zoning out—and not inspire active engagement. Plus, when people have to stand for 15 minutes, it's less likely the meeting will run over. But it's important to allow for flexibility in meeting formats. Some individuals may prefer to stand, while others may need to sit due to mobility challenges.  

One way to make stand-up meetings shorter and more entertaining is to invite remote or hybrid employees to take the call on the go, on a treadmill, or walking around the office. If you're working in person, get teams to meet in the lobby or a park outside. 

Note: When meeting in person, make sure you choose meeting spaces that are wheelchair accessible and have ramps or elevators. Also, ensure there are clear pathways and adequate space for mobility devices. 

11. Change facilitators and share announcements

Usually, the stand-up meeting is led by the scrum master. But having the same format and listening to the same voice every day can get dull and prevent people from paying attention. A good idea to keep people engaged during stand-up calls is to make everyone lead the call once a week or a month depending on the size of the team. 

You can also ask each facilitator to end the meeting with announcements. “You can discuss upcoming events, do some announcements, or use a couple of meetings to communicate whatever information the facilitator has to bring in,” says Dimitri. This means you can make sure you’re discussing important matters as a team while giving a voice to multiple people.

Stand-up meetings: Make them fun, engaging, and useful

The team at the Borland Software Corporation managed to write over a million lines of code in just 31 months because they focused on identifying blockers and solving issues every day. This methodology is what we now know as the stand-up meeting—which is the cornerstone of agile teams’ dynamics. 

While essential for alignment and identifying roadblocks, stand-up meetings can sometimes seem boring or inefficient, and even hurt team morale. To make the most out of these daily huddles, you need to balance effectiveness with enjoyment. Remember: stand-up meetings aren’t stand-up comedy specials. They won’t be funny, but they can certainly be more fun. This means kicking off the call with fun questions, going on walks while discussing updates, or taking them async.

If you’re thinking about hosting async daily scrums, you need to do them on an async-first collaboration platform like Switchboard. It lets you organize all your apps and tools into persistent rooms that save your work and make everything multiplayer. Plus, if you want to experiment with having an async stand-up once or twice a week, Switchboard allows you to do that easily.

In essence, to transform these daily gatherings and make the most out of them, you need to be willing to make structural changes. By adopting some of the mentioned strategies, you can ensure that stand-up meetings not only serve their functional purpose but also contribute to a more vibrant, cohesive, and motivated team.

Rethink the way you do stand-up meetings with Switchboard.
Share async updates, use AI to summarize meeting notes, and collaborate in real time—all from one place.
Learn more

Frequently asked questions about fun stand-up meeting ideas 

How can I improve my daily stand-up meeting? 

To improve your daily stand-up meetings, you can:

  • Start the meeting by sharing good news
  • Kick off the call by checking in with the team
  • Hold the meeting while planking or walking
  • Try having async stand-ups in a tool like Switchboard

How can I make my daily stand-up interesting? 

To make your daily stand-up more interesting, you can switch the order of the questions, shout people out at the end of the call, or skip a day during the week. The idea is for people to feel like all meetings are different so they can pay more attention. 

What do you talk about during a stand-up? 

During a stand-up meeting, teams usually discuss what they worked on the day before, what they’re working on that day, and if they encountered any impediments (or need any help). The idea is to encourage collaboration and remove blockers to avoid delaying the sprint.

Stop, collaborate, and listen

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Rethink the way you do stand-up meetings with Switchboard.

Share async updates, use AI to summarize meeting notes, and collaborate in real time—all from one place.