Stand-up meetings are part of a fast-moving tech culture in which sitting has become synonymous with sloth. The object is to eliminate long-winded confabs where participants pontificate, play Angry Birds on their phones or simply tune out.
Where sit down team members may sometimes ask for short clarifications and brief statements, but the stand-up does not usually consist of full fledged discussions. Holding meetings standing up isn’t new. Some military leaders did it during World War I, according to Allen Bluedorn, a business professor at the University of Missouri. A number of companies have adopted stand-up meetings over the years. Mr. Bluedorn did a study back in 1998 that found that standing meetings were about a third shorter than sitting meetings and the quality of decision-making was about the same.
The current wave of stand-up meeting is being fueled by the growing use of “Agile,” an approach to software development, crystallized in a manifesto published by 17 software professionals in 2001. The method calls for compressing development projects into short pieces. It also involves daily stand-up meetings where participants are supposed to quickly update their peers with three things: What they have done since yesterday’s meeting; what they are doing today; and any obstacles that stand in the way of getting work done.
I personally think that running good standup meetings is seldom really about the standup itself. More often than not, it’s about the quality of backlog, ie, the way we do sprint planning and how well we are working together to swarm around backlog items. It is essentially about how committed we are to each other for shared outcomes, and what is expected when we ultimately do the demo. If you get the fundamental stuff straight, good daily stand-up meetings usually follow.
So what are your opinions about Stand-Up Meetings? Do you think these meetings are the way forward? Will you be trying these out at your next conference?