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Standups, Not Status Meetings: Are They Right for You?

Published By Team AdaptiveWork

Here’s what a meeting should be: a productive session where team members get together to share ideas and solve problems, culminating in decisions being made and action items being assigned. Here’s what more and more meetings are starting to look like: Only a few team members show up on time, a few ask if they can reschedule, there’s no agenda, someone speaks over everyone else, no decisions are made, nothing is accomplished, and everyone groans about the interruption in their workflow.

If meetings across your company are starting to play out more and more like the second scenario, it may be time to reassess how you’re conducting them.

A new trend in meeting culture is the daily standup, and it’s proving to be a much more productive alternative to traditional meetings.

What is a daily standup meeting?

Standups are most closely associated with the Agile world, though not all Agile meetings are standups. A daily standup is a specific kind of meeting in which participants literally stand up while sharing information.

Why? The idea is that standing (rather than sitting comfortably) puts the speaker on the spot and makes them just uncomfortable enough to keep their message short and to the point. In other words, it’s a way of encouraging team members to only focus on what’s most important, in order to keep meetings short and efficient. That’s also why many standups are “timeboxed” to 15 minutes or less.

For many teams, this can be a project management godsend. If you’re interested in implementing this strategy, answer the following questions to find out if they’re a good fit for your team.

Do you work on a team?

If the answer is “Yes,” there’s a good chance a daily standup meeting would help align you and your people. Team members work together to achieve goals. In order to achieve those goals, everyone must be rowing their oars in the same direction. A daily standup meeting is a great way to figure out what actions each individual must take to end up at the same long term destination.

Are your meetings getting dull/unproductive?

If everyone in the office groans every time you schedule a meeting, shifting over to agile standup meetings could help reinvigorate your group sessions. Just the action of standing up helps build energy in the room and gives the meeting a more active tone. A lot of teams will use some kind of passable speaking tool, like a ball, to ensure no one is speaking over anyone else (a common meeting complaint). The action of tossing back and forth also helps to bring energy into the room.

Are things getting “lost in the cracks?”

If, in the last month, something was “lost in the cracks” or a team member had to apologize for “dropping the ball,” you may want to add a scheduled agile standup meeting to your team calendar. Working on a team requires thorough communication with consistent followup. When you aren’t regularly meeting face-to-face, there’s a good chance those things can fall to the wayside.

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Have your team members prepare for your standup meetings by keeping lists at their desks of items they are waiting on from other team members. Everyone will appreciate having a set time to go over this, rather than being interrupted with requests all day, every day. Not to mention, follow-through becomes a lot more consistent when people are communicating their needs face-to-face.

Do you want a healthier, happier team?

Countless studies have shown the negative effects of sitting on your body; some even compare it to the detriments of smoking! A daily standup meeting reduces the amount of time your employees spend sitting down, which is a great benefit to their health. Healthier employees are more productive ones, so why not give them an incentive to be their best selves?

If you want to have a better aligned, more productive team, standup meetings are a smart option for any company. To learn about more strategies for increasing agility in your projects and teams, explore the Planview AdaptiveWork blog today.

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Written by Team AdaptiveWork