Search:

ProjectConnections Print View


Got a Question?
Drop us an email, or call us toll free:
888-722-5235
7am-5pm Pacific
Monday - Friday
We'd love to talk to you.


Learn more about ProjectConnections and who writes our content. Want to learn more? Take a site tour and compare our membership levels.


Get Instant Access to Over 200 Templates and Hundreds of Resources
Become a Member »

Agile Technique Guideline: Standup Meetings


Quick Summary
Agile project teams are all about collaboration and cooperation -- working with each other, not working for the project manager. This guideline explains how to use one common agile technique -- standup meetings -- to get team members into the habit of keeping each other in the loop without spending hours every week in endless, agonizing status meetings.


This template requires a Premium Subscription
Please log in. Don't have a log-in? Sign up now. Already a Member? Log in to upgrade immediately and get the file! A Premium subscription is only $14.95/month or $149/year and gets you over 200 templates, guidelines, and checklists.
15-day free trial period for new Premium subscribers! Learn more
Log in to download this file

Username:  
Password:  

What this is

This technique brief contains suggestions and recommendations for facilitating a standup meeting. Standup meetings are a highly effective, low overhead way for team members to coordinate their work.


Why it's useful

Standup meetings provide a simple means for team members to keep each other up to date without spending a lot of time in meetings or having to write and read piles of status reports. Standup meetings focus on quick discussion of progress, plans, and problems. This allows team members to get timely updates about others' progress while the project manager quickly determines their tasks for the day by virtue of the team's obstacles. At its core, this technique is really a collaboration mechanism for the team.

There are two key aspects of the technique that, when practiced correctly, make it a very powerful collaboration tool. The first is in the name of itself-standup. Standing encourages concise discussion of progress, plans, and problems. When sitting, people often get comfortable and see no problem expanding unnecessarily on some points of their update. When they are standing up, on the other hand, there is a feeling of urgency-of a quick hallway conversation-and team members will tend to focus on the really critical bits. Why is this important? If these daily meetings are short, concise, and full of information, team members will see value in them, and not try to avoid them like they do the traditional once a week, three-hour marathon, death-by-status-report meetings some teams are subjected to.

The second aspect is more subtle but just as powerful, and will start the team down the path of richer collaboration: encouraging team members to provide updates to each other, not the project manager or meeting facilitator. By doing this, the team starts to see the Standup Meeting as a tool for coordinating their work and keeping up to speed with what others are doing, rather than a necessary evil endured only to silence the constant "are you done yet?" questions.


How to use it

This technique is most effective for small teams working on projects with enough momentum that there will be significant updates for each standup meeting. In agile approaches, the standup meeting is usually suggested for collocated teams, but when those teams become highly effective the need for a standup meeting may disappear (because the team is in a state of continuous collaboration and updating each other). Distributed teams can use this technique with some modifications, such as teleconferencing.

  1. Decide where the use of standup meetings is the most appropriate in your project. They are especially helpful for small teams working on the same project or portion of a project that has enough change where there is a need for frequent coordination.
  2. Introduce the concept of the standup meetings to the team, including the rules and structure, and why it's important to follow those rules.
  3. Hold your first standup meeting. Encourage the team members to provide you with feedback and commit to making changes to how you approach the standup based on their feedback.
  4. After the meeting, collect feedback and act on it, and make sure you do all that you can to address the obstacles identified in the meeting. This will show the team that something will actually come out of the meeting.
  5. Hold a standup every day for the remainder of the week. Then discuss with the team (outside of the official standup, of course) whether daily is the most appropriate frequency, and hold a mini-retrospective on the technique to identify any necessary adjustments for future standup meetings.
About the Author

Kent J. McDonald, partner and co-founder of Accelinnova, has more than a decade of experience guiding successful projects and designing business solutions in a variety of industries, including financial services, health insurance, performance marketing, human services, non-profit, and automotive. By addressing common questions about project leadership, Kent demonstrates how agile practices can be applied in organizations, focusing on his "Words To Lead By: Collaborate; Iterate; Serve The Team; Consider Context; Practice Excellence; Reflect And Adapt; Deliver Value."

Kent has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University and an MBA from Kent State University. He is co-founder, and Treasurer of the Agile Project Leadership Network, is a founder of the Agile Iowa Group, and is on the planning committee for the Agile 2007 Conference. He welcomes questions about project leadership with a focus on value at kent@kentmcdonald.com.


This template requires a Premium Subscription
Please log in. Don't have a log-in? Sign up now. Already a Member? Log in to upgrade immediately and get the file! A Premium subscription is only $14.95/month or $149/year and gets you over 200 templates, guidelines, and checklists.
15-day free trial period for new Premium subscribers! Learn more
Log in to download this file

Username:  
Password:  





Related Files
Agile Technique Guideline: Information Radiators
Information Radiators, also known as Big Visible Charts, are useful quite simply because they provide an effective way to communicate project status, issues, or metrics without a great deal of effort from the team. The premise is that these displays make critical, changing information about a project accessible to anyone with enough ambition to walk over to the team area and take a look.

Article: What Does an Agile Project Plan Look Like?
Would you know an agile project plan if you saw one? Kent McDonald compares agile planning practices to traditional PM.

Article: Picking the Right Project Team
What does the "best" development organization look like? Some key characteristics of high-performing teams.





©Copyright 2000-2014 Emprend, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
About us   Site Map   View current sponsorship opportunities (PDF)
Contact us for more information or e-mail info@projectconnections.com
Terms of Service and Privacy Policy