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‘Stand-Up’ Meetings are growing in popularity… but what are they? I’ll explain what this term means, and convince you why you should try them in your organization.
A stand-up meeting (or ‘stand-up’) is a daily team meeting with the primarily goal of providing a status update to the team members. It allows participants to learn about potential challenges facing the team, as well as manage issues that could take progress off-track. The term ‘stand-up’ comes from having participants physically stand at the meeting in order for it to encourage the meetings to be short.
Typically, a stand-up meeting will take 10-15 minutes.
Stand-ups are commonly used in ‘Agile’ software development methodologies, such as ‘Scrum’. However, they can be effectively used in any project or even operational environment. I use them in all sorts of projects.
I use stand-ups frequently to manage programs and projects and I find them much more effective than weekly meetings – because in most of the projects I manage, a week is too-long to wait to share information and get a grip on issues.
There are normally three questions asked (and answered) in a daily stand-up:
- What did I accomplish yesterday?
- What will I do today?
- What obstacles are impeding my progress?
The meeting isn’t necessarily limited to these QAs, but they should at least address them in full.
Stand-ups are usually held at the same time and place each working day, if logistics allow. If any team members can’t attend, the meeting is normally held anyway.
Why Use Stand-Up Meetings?
These meetings are intended to encourage better team working. The meeting itself shouldn’t be the end of the discussion, but instead it promotes follow-up conversations.
A great benefit of the daily meeting is that issues are identified at a finer granularity and can be dealt with before too much time causes the issue to escalate. Contrast this to a weekly meeting where issues found on a Tuesday aren’t reported until the following Monday’s team meeting (yeah – team members should be shouting before then, but we all know this doesn’t always happen!).
Because they are short, these meetings don’t soak up a load of time and they don’t feel as cumbersome as longer, weekly meetings. Participants have to prepare for them much less too.
I also find that knowledge-sharing is improved, and that awareness of responsibilities and tasks is increased across the team. I find there is less email traffic between team members, and onboarding new members of the team is much simpler – they’re thrown in at the shallow end.
What’s more, I find that the ‘energy’ of a stand-up is much better and that participants are sharper and more eager. It feels more like fun.
The final point is that there is no absolute-rule of how to run a stand-up meeting. They’re a concept which can be adapted to your needs and you should look to constantly improve and fine-tune them.