Yes, Daily standup meetings, also know as Daily Scrum, are useless, if done in the following way.
Everyone stares at the Trello, Asana or JIRA board, the PjM or TechLead address each team member with a question about the tickets they are working on, and something similar to this conversation happen:
(PjM) John, how is it going with ticket XYZ?
(John) Quite well! I worked on that, I did this and that, almost done, just need some final touches, polish the code, add a couple of test, stuff like that. I should be done today.
(PjM) Great, let's move on. Maria, what's the status of your ticket?
(Maria) I am done with it, unless Bob has comments - he is reviewing my Pull request.
(PjM) Sounds awesome. Don't be too nitpicking Bob, right?!
This is not a standup round, this is just a status update, and, i find it totally useless.
I have access to the JIRA Board, i can open it anytime and see under which column your ticket is ( assuming you were so kind and disciplined to move it from open to in progress and from in progress to in review...), what is the point in you just rephrasing it loud in front of the team?
The most important thing in a standup is clearly communicating any deviation from what is expected, asking questions and asking for help. Maybe some blockers are slowing you down, maybe you depend on other teams to achieve your tasks. Please let the team know. Don't just "reassure" everyone, in some vague gut-feeling way that everything will be ok...
Another case when Daily stand-ups are useless, and a waste of time is when one or more developers start discussing technical implementations or bug-fixes in detail. If there are developers that are not involved in that project / feature / tech stack ( imagine a cross-functional team of many developers ) then you will be sure after 30 seconds all other team member will zone out, and will not get back even when you move on to the next topic or developer.
Standup are not about technical details, even though some technical context can help to frame the arisen complexity and allow PjM and Leads to take the necessary steps to enable you achiving your tasks ( additional meetings, extending the deadline, reestimating the task within the sprint, set up pair programming sessions etc).
According to the official docs the Daily Scrum is a 15-minute event for the Developers of the Scrum Team.
The purpose of the Daily Scrum is to inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal and produce an actionable plan for the next day of work. This creates focus and improves self-management.
Daily Scrums improve communications, identify impediments, promote quick decision-making, and consequently eliminate the need for other meetings.
Honestly I am not so sure about the last point, due to the short time allocated to it, it can indeed generate other meetings, follow-ups between Tech Lead and (some of ) the developers, or between the team and the stakeholders, or among developers which decide to tackle an issue with pair programming. But I agree that this additional meetings allow the team to be more aligned, progress faster and avoid wasting time in working on the wrong thing or struggling on a problem someone else already solved etc.
I must admit I fall myself in the temptation of hijacking the standup into a technical discussion, but really, the standup purpose should be,
- pointing out blockers,
- give a shout out about problems and request for help
- share valuable information.
Yesterday I updated the dependency of the Test framework we are using and realised the pipeline was broken even though No breaking changes was announced, unfortunately it took longer than expected but I can now go on with TDD for the current feature.
Yesterday I checked out the repo to work on my feature but I was not able to run the app locally due to this and that - has anyone experienced that? Is there someone that can double check that with me later?
I am halfway through the implementation but I realised the data being sent by our backend is different from what is documented in the ticket. I had to start a conversation with the backend team and found some misunderstandings in the feature requirement. Can we set up a meeting with the stakeholders to clarify those points?
Yes, sometime it requires a bit of courage and lots of confidence to openly speak about what slowed us down ( we don't want to look dumb, incompetent, nor blame other colleagues or team), but this is what those meetings are for.
Be clear, be honest, be informative, and proactive.
If we stick to these simple rules and don't lie ( here you can find another post about why we usually lie during standups), those meetings are indeed a precious time for our teams!