A brief definition of agile daily meeting is:

Each day at the same time, the team meets so as to bring everyone up to date on the information that is vital for coordination: each team members briefly describes any "completed" contributions and any obstacles that stand in their way.

Currently I have two coworkers that are describing in great detail whatever they were doing. Something like the following fictive conversation:

"Yesterday I had to do that and I thought of doing it using method A, B, and C and I've chose to do the task with method B because it had these advantages which A and C doesn't have. Of course I don't mean A and C are pointless methods, but in these circumstances they are not fit, or I should say not as fit as method B because as I've stated before..." for 10 minutes.

What I'd expect is "Yesterday I managed to do task A with no blockers and today I'll do task B".

We're a new team and I think my manager doesn't want to bother with these details, but it's very irritating to spend 20 minutes on two colleagues and 10 minutes on the rest of the team.

How do I politely fix this?

  • 1
    It's the scrum's duty to remind the rule of the DSTUM before it starts. The questions/talks are for after the DSTUM in order not to block other resources for 20 minutes. 20 minutes * 6 people who are not involved in the details = 2 hours load lost (for one resource). – Answers_Seeker Dec 6 at 9:49
  • Is your manager involved with the daily scrum in any way? Do they have any reason to be? – Erik Dec 6 at 11:03
  • Have you tried introducing a timer? Most cell phones have it. Just tell the team something like everyone has two minutes each and have to be quick. – Dan Dec 6 at 15:52

I had this issue several times in the past. Usually, it got fixed just by raising this in the scrum retrospective. Generally, if daily meetings are consuming a lot of time, every member on the team will agree. Almost every co-worker I met hates long daily meetings.

Now, however, there's a thing you need to be careful about when talking about this:

People that go into too much detail in their daily reports are probably justifying their work. They feel the daily stand-up is were they have to report what they did to management. And, sadly, this is sometimes true: in lots of companies managers see daily stand-up as a some sort of interrogation.

If you raise awareness about dailies being too long, this must be raised too: daily stand-up meetings reason to be is not to justify or demonstrate team job, is to prevent blockings and to allow every team member to have a global vision of the team and the project.

No one should feel they are being evaluated during daily stand-ups. This is harmful and won't do any good to the team.

  • 1
    It can even be worth surreptitiously timing the daily meetings. Then, in the retrospective: "our daily meetings have taken 27, 31, 29 and 40 minutes this week. They should take 5-15 minutes at most. As a reminder, the purpose and format of the daily meeting is..." – BittermanAndy Dec 6 at 16:18
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    Why wait till the scrum retrospective? I hate retrospectives: it's a way of delaying to deal with a problem for an arbitrary period. After doing retrospectives for a few years, for the last couple of years I have not participated in our (quarterly) team retrospectives. My stance is "if an issue is important, don't delay dealing with it. If it can wait, it's not important". In the OP's case, why go through another few weeks with standups which last too long when you can deal with the issue today? – Abigail Dec 6 at 23:22
  • @Abigail That depends on how long this has been going on and when the next retrospective is. Another approach would be to clarify the rules now and bring it up again in the retrospective, hopefully as a note of something to keep doing: that, since the change, standups have become more efficient. – Llewellyn Dec 7 at 19:04

I work in software development and it can be a common occurrence that daily stand-ups run on a little longer than they should. Oftentimes it is for the reason you described; one or two colleagues get a little too verbose about what they are doing.

If you are the team leader, you can politely interrupt them in a way that does not invalidate what they have to say, but that it can be discussed afterwards. I've had to do it a few times, where someone is at risk of talking too long and I interject with "Yeah, we've got A and C as alternatives and we can go over them afterwards if you like. That was yesterday, what else are you looking at today?". By doing this, you are encouraging them to proceed without dismissing what they might want to voice ("taking it offline" I've heard some people call it).

Another stricter approach I've seen is that stand-ups occur at a fixed time - say 10am - on the dot. No matter what we're doing, we dropped everything and attended the stand-ups at 10am and it went on no later than 10:15. If it continues past that time regularly, you have the opportunity to address the group to encourage them to be more to-the-point with their summaries. This can be done in a way that does not come across as if you're disciplining the team, but it also means you are not singling anyone out.

If you are not team leader, it might be worth bringing this up with who is. There is a good chance that he/she is aware of the stand-ups dragging on too.

Many years ago, I was a team lead/scrum master, and one of our team members was very chatty during standup. Discussing too many details and having a tendency to take his story off-topic. Gentle nudging ("Focus, $NAME" or "$NAME, time box it" or a more playful "Tick-tock, tick-tock") reminded him everyone in the team only has a few minutes to tell his story.

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