A stand-up meeting (or simply “stand-up”) is a meeting in which attendees typically participate while standing. The discomfort of standing for long periods is intended to keep the meetings short. (Source: Wikipedia)
Frequent reviews have become the need of the hour. While these are necessary, it is also important to not waste excessive time conducting such meetings. Stand up meetings provide a quick catch-up of the upcoming as well as previous day’s activities and their intended results.
Scrum (an Agile software development framework) has been proven highly efficient when it comes to conducting standup meetings. It encourages the following three questions to be asked on a daily basis:
- What did I accomplish yesterday?
- What will I do today?
- What obstacles are impeding my progress?
Answer these tactical questions and you get a clear understanding of what your objectives are and what could be the obstacles in fulfilling these.
There are many benefits of conducting daily standup meetings:
Short and precise meetings are held:
No one wants to stand for long periods of time discussing their daily agenda. There should be no small talk. The idea of a stand-up meeting is to ensure a brief discussion of important issues, current challenges and their solutions. Once the core issues are discussed, the team can quickly disperse to carry out that day’s initiatives.
Setting focused checklist for the day:
It provides a clear checklist of what is to be achieved for the day. When you have a short and precise list of activities to accomplish in a day, you tend to be more focused. Do not keep more that 3-4 activities on your agenda. If you clutter your list with too many activities, you may be unable to prioritise.
Tackle previous day’s challenges:
It is important to determine whether you have fulfilled your objectives that were expected from you. You can identify what are the problems that have prevented you from completing the tasks. Make a note of these and share it with others at the earliest possible moment so that your productivity is not hampered.
Understanding of team’s objectives as well:
Every team member becomes aware of how their goals are aligned with their colleagues’ goals. There is more unity when everyone understands how their efforts are interdependent.
Team members can also help each other when they face similar problems.
To ensure you conduct efficient standup meetings, following mistakes should be avoided:
Micromanagement should be avoided at all costs. Managers should not question employees about trivial matters. If employees are constantly asked to update on their progress or even if their tasks are dictated to them, they will be discouraged and not perform to the best of their abilities.
Employees should be encouraged to take initiative and list down their own objectives.
Getting into technical discussions:
Keep technical discussions at bay. The more technical you get with your discussions, the more time you are going to spend. Discuss them briefly and later on you can address these in detail with the right authorities.
Delaying decisions on important points or obstacles:
If you are facing any obstacles, do not wait for the next stand-up meeting to discuss them. These should be immediately shared with the concerned managers and dealt with accordingly. The delay could waste a lot of crucial time.
Less than active participation:
The purpose of stand-up meetings will be defeated if everyone does not willingly contribute to it. The focus should not be on any individual member or the manager talking on behalf of the team. Chances are, if one person leads the discussion, it will go in only one direction and most of the other important points could be missed.
Try and fix meetings at convenient locations where there are minimal disturbances. For the team members as well as those in the surrounding. You want your team’s complete attention during these standup meetings. For instance, you might feel a cafeteria would be a more refreshing place. On the contrary, sight, sound and smell can cause a lot of distractions.
These meetings should be held close to work desk so as to not waste a lot of time getting there. It could be in a small meeting room or the passageway, as long as it doesn’t cause any inconvenience.