A Software Developer’s Guide to Daily Standups

Dan Pickett

By Dan Pickett

July 7, 2022


Team communication is crucial in a software development setting, and in most workplaces, meetings are the standard way to facilitate this communication. 

But anyone who’s worked in an office environment knows that meetings can be bloated and unproductive, zapping critical time from team members’ days that they could be dedicating to higher-value tasks. 

Since efficiency is also crucial in a software development setting, software engineers have come up with a great hack for ensuring meetings are both fast and productive: the daily standup. 

What Is a Daily Standup? 

A daily standup is a quick team meeting typically lasting around 15 minutes. Standups are a key component of Agile methodologies, a popular set of practices in software development that helps software engineers complete projects more efficiently and effectively. 

Team members have the opportunity to share what they worked on yesterday, what they're working on currently, and any impediments to their progress. 

What makes a daily standup unique is that every team member is literally standing up for the meeting’s duration. Standing encourages participants to be succinct, disclosing only the most pertinent highlights of their work. 

What makes a daily standup unique is that every team member is literally standing up for the meeting’s duration. Standing encourages participants to be succinct, disclosing only the most pertinent highlights of their work. 


Instead of focusing on problem-solving, presenting projects, or discussing achievements, the meeting is intended to give the whole team context for each individual’s work, eliminate redundancies, and prevent unintentional interference between software engineers. It's also a chance for engineers to gain valuable feedback from coworkers on challenges they currently face. 

5 Tips for an Effective Software Development Standup

While standups are an excellent tool for productivity, they can be ineffective if not executed properly. Here are five suggestions for running effective standups: 

1. Don’t sacrifice the logistics

For a standup to be effective, it's important to encourage team members to actually stand up. The difference in the conversation when people are sitting versus standing is remarkable; standing always results in a more efficient discussion. 

It’s also a best practice to run a standup at the same time every day. An easy hack to ensure people aren't late is setting your standup to an odd time, like 9:38 a.m. instead of 9:30 or 9:45. Selecting a random time will lead team members to be more mindful of the clock and ensure punctuality. 

2. Allow everyone to run the meeting

An effective standup doesn't need to be run by the team managers. In fact, the meeting should be decentralized so that every team member has some ownership over it. 

Ideally, each software developer on the team takes their turn and then selects the next person to present. This approach eliminates the need for a central facilitator and maintains the meeting’s continuity and flow. Everyone should take responsibility for gently cutting off coworkers who give too much detail during their portion of the standup. 

The manager's role comes in after the standup, when it's time to reflect on its efficacy. Every 2-4 weeks, managers should conduct a brief assessment and seek feedback to see how the standup can be improved. This is usually done in a session called a sprint retrospective.

3. Encourage follow-up opportunities

If something comes up in the standup that necessitates a deeper conversation, don't be afraid to set up a time for team members to work through it together. 

Standups aren’t designed to encourage detailed discussions, so follow-up meetings are key to removing obstacles. If one team member encounters an issue that another team member can help with, they should have that conversation afterward and invite anybody who wants to listen in to join them. 

4. Be mindful of team members’ feelings

Some teams rarely have meetings, but software engineering can be isolating without face-to-face interactions between team members. Standups offer a chance for team members to connect, which helps boost morale. 

To ensure standups are a positive experience for everyone involved, pay attention to people’s dispositions and nonverbal communication cues. If someone appears stressed or unprepared, give them a chance to collect their thoughts by having other team members kick off the meeting.

5. Be creative

Because daily standups are so important for team efficacy, managers may need to get creative to ensure everyone can participate, especially if teams are remote or asynchronous. 

It’s possible to run a standup virtually by dropping updates in Slack or having team members post videos using Loom, a screen recording tool. Zoom meetings work well, too. 

If a standup is set to happen over Zoom, we recommend defining how to end the meeting to maintain flow and avoid an awkward goodbye. Hand gestures, snapping, or other custom sign-offs are fun ways to signal that the meeting is over.  

At Launch Academy, we spend 2 weeks in our immersive coding bootcamp simulating a sprint cycle—another component of the Agile methodology—which includes running a daily standup. If you want to practice collaborating in a team standup setting, schedule an informational call with our team!