Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Stand-Up Meeting

Over the last couple of years, I've got to rather love the stand-up meeting and what it represents.

The idea of the meeting is you and a large group on your team/project meet, possibly daily (hence “daily stand-up”), and discuss briefly what you did the day before.

If there are any issues, this is the time to deal with them.

They're usually held around the office (in someones bay), and are a quick, informal spot check on the progress of everyone.  If someone is having issues or stuck, they benefit from the whole group being able to help.

Ideally any reports should be brief, and any issues dealt quickly with.  If issues are more complex, they should be dealt with directly after the meeting usually between a couple of affected people.

The idea of standing up is to keep the meeting brief.  You don't drag out the meeting beyond your endurance to stand up – most people get fidgety past 15 minutes.  The meeting provides a forum for information exchange, keeps everyone focused on what is needed, but doesn't go on so long it becomes an overhead of lost man-hours.

Alas one project I worked with had a very different kind of “daily stand up” - you can see the warning signs of how you “don't do” stand ups here – they were held in a meeting room (uh-oh), everyone sat down (oops) – and the result?  They'd go on for an hour.  Yup about 12% of the working day lost in a stand-up (making it a significant overhead).

That's not good, and overrides the reason of having them.

This is why Agile Jackson says “You do not sit in my stand-up meeting muther-lover!!!”

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