Daily stand-up meetings are becoming more commonplace among both Scrum and Non-Scrum projects. Originally part of the Scrum/Agile methodology, daily standup meetings (where people are literally required to stand in order to help assist with brevity) were designed to give everyone on the project team a quick glimpse at what everyone else is currently working on. Standup meetings are essentially a quick round-table for every project team member where they provide three pieces of information: 1) What did they work on yesterday? 2) What are they working on today? 3) What key roadblocks (if any) are preventing them from doing their job? There is no problem-solving in these meetings and everyone has a responsibility to provide brief but concise updates. This will allow for post-standup discussions to take place where more detailed problem-solving can take place.
Done right, standups are a very effective method of communication and can often replace the need for longer project status meetings. Standup meetings done wrong however, can contribute to team frustration and miscommunications. This article will discuss the proper way to conduct your standup meetings and how to get the most value out of them.
Like any other aspect of project management, there needs to be disciplined execution of the standup meetings. While they are brief in nature (no standup meeting should go beyond 15 minutes), they still require discipline on behalf of the facilitator (either the Project Manager or Scrum Master). Ground rules for the standups should be discussed at the outset of the project so that everyone is clear on what kinds of updates they need to be providing to the group as well as what does and does not belong in the standup discussion.
Every team member has a responsibility to provide updates to the team for the three pieces of information. However there are team members who will dive into much greater detail than is needed while providing their updates. It’s the responsibility of the meeting facilitator to ensure that updates from team members are quick and to the point.
Start on Time
Standup meetings are done in a small time window, usually 15 minutes or less. Starting on time is imperative to generating and keeping momentum in these meetings. They are typically done at the start of the work day before people tend to ‘get into it’ with their day-to-day tasks. When team members show up late or not at all to the standups, it’s important to re-emphasize the importance of punctual attendance as the updates they provide may have impacts to other team members.
Standup meetings are a great way to quickly share information across team members without taking up a lot of time in the day. When run effectively they are a great tool for any project manager to ensure that communications between project team members is happening and that risks or issues are brought to the forefront as soon as possible. Good communication is one of the key elements of a successful project and by implementing daily standup meetings, you will be taking that next step towards a successful engagement.