From a hard core advocate of daily stand-ups

If you work in an agile environment, you’re probably used to daily stand-ups. These are quick meetings during which each team member mentions their top accomplishments, their priorities for the day, and any roadblocks that others, especially their leader, have to be aware of. It’s a model that has worked well for many years. Recently, I’ve seen a few posts questioning the value of “yet another meeting”, especially when you have tools like Slack as a means to communicate your priorities in an a-synchronized way. I understand the sentiment. I agree that meeting fatigue is real and needs to be taken seriously. But here are the reasons why I continue to be a hard core advocate for morning stand-ups.

Get fired up for the day

Let’s face it – nobody wants to come into work to a lackluster environment where everyone just strolls in, sits down and slowly eases into their day. This type of atmosphere would be detrimental to anyone in any department, but it can have an extra negative impact on your sales reps. The last thing they need is a low energy setting, as it will affect on their own attitude, and, in return, their performance. Morning stand-ups can be an excellent way to counteract this. Note that you can do variations of the standard procedure. You don’t have to rehash everything you did or everything you already posted in Slack, Yammer, or Jive. For instance, instead of the regular questions, you can change things up like this:

  • What was your biggest win yesterday? (Starting things off on a positive note)
  • What’s your strategy for today? (I found this particularly helpful for sales teams)
  • What do you need help with? (This could be removing roadblocks, requesting a certain type of collateral, or any other type of assistance)

Just like a sports team, your team needs a rally cry. Whether that’s “let’s make some money”, or “migration domination” – get your team fired up for the day!

Structure and discipline

No matter how good your intentions or new year’s resolutions are – without structure and discipline, it’s pretty challenging to not just do your best, but to get better every day. How I wish that everyone considered themselves to be a professional athlete, regardless of their profession. Without a routine, you don’t set baselines, goals, and you don’t hold yourself and your teammates accountable. Use your daily stand-ups to establish a routine, such as jotting down your strategy for the day, and don’t be afraid to talk about what worked, what didn’t, lessons learned, and how each team member will adjust.

Show team spirit

There are some departments that are more suited for asynchronous work than others. For instance, your engineers may be completely fine working from home two times a day. However, your sales rep need to feed off the energy in the office to maximize the impact of their calls. Whether your team works from home or in the office, it is of utmost importance that you get your crew together once a day to show that you guys are pushing for the same goals and pulling for each other. And for a chance to pay respect to your peers and team mates and show that you care about their accomplishments, their goals, and their struggles.

Eye contact for the win

There are nuances in face to face interactions that are simply no detectable as easily through messenger. As a manager, you want to take every opportunity to better understand what’s going on with your team members. Part of it involves involves a quick chat in the mornings about last night’s game, the weather, or plans for the weekend, and part of it is listening to what each person says in the stand up, and how they say it.

Yes, daily stand-ups require discipline. But they are not an inconvenience. They are a commitment – to yourself, your goals, your team, and your company.

What about you? What are your thoughts on daily stand-ups?

3 thoughts on “From a hard core advocate of daily stand-ups

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