Stand Up Meeting

You want everyone to know what's going on, even if they weren't there when something interesting happened. You want to know who's got a ProBlem you can help with, you want to get help if you need it. You need a forum to announce interesting upcoming events.

And you don't want to have everyone writing a bunch of useless emails that won't be read on a timely basis and won't be responded to by everyone who should.

Every day at a specified time (C3's is 10 AM), everyone on the team (developers, customers, people passing by) stands up in a circle. Go around the circle and briefly describe what you're working on, how it's going, anything interesting you have discovered, any problems you are having.

If you need a partner for something, ask for one, or just mumble that you're having trouble with X and see who volunteers. If you're looking to sit with someone and help them out, announce that you're available. If you want a CRC session on some topic and need some folks to sit in, say so, setting a time if possible.

Everyone is standing up to remind you to keep it brief. Raise problems, don't solve them. Schedule followup meetings right after the standup or at some other early and convenient time. --RonJeffries

I'd like to extract and condense Ron's stuff into the pattern form below if that's okay with Ron?

A StandUpMeeting is where you convey only the problems and solutions of the previous day. No discussion, those happen after the meeting.

Context: You have a meeting you want to be short. You care more about it being short than you care about people being comfortable in it.

Therefore: Insist that all attendees stand up during the meeting.

Clueless version: You've heard StandUpMeeting's are a Good Thing. Thus, you call a meeting with a four hour agenda and insist everyone remains standing the whole time. Oops.

Additional Context: Everyone attending the meeting has reasonably healthy backs/spines and is capable of standing up for as much as 5-10 minutes without writhing in pain. I know a lot of folks that wouldn't qualify under this criteria. I thought SCRUM set a maximum time limit of something like 15 minutes and forcibly declared the meeting to an end at that time if it hadn't ended yet?

You also might want to ensure that people carry a clipboard or something similar that allows then to TakeNotes? while standing.


The management team at UK grocery chain "Tesco" use stand-up meetings.

This was used at the defense contractor where I had my internship/co-op --JasonYip

Saw this in the Feb-98 Fast Company magazine:

  --start of quote--

: Enter the ScrumMeetings. Zine Zone's core production team ( along with a few people from other departments ) gathers at 9:30 a.m. to scope out that day's work and to identify obstacles that may interfere with specific projects. The Scrum takes its name and its inspiration from a rugby formation in which players from opposing teams lock themselves in a circle and battle for the ball. In this case, though, everyone is trying to move the ball in the same direction. "This is not a coffee klatch," says Cristen Bolter, production coordinator at Zine Zone. "Gathering as a team every day reminds us that we're all in this together."

: Guiding Principle Radical minimalism. "Our aim is modest: to identify short-term obstacles. The agenda is minimalist: What does the day look like? Are your projects on track? We want to fix problems both quickly and informally: People volunteer to help out, or they suggest a solution on the spot. If the problem requires more attention, we take it offline."

: Best Practice Face-to-face. "We're open, democratic, and extremely dependent on our computers. Even though we all work in one big room, we're still as likely to email the people sitting next to us as we are to talk to them. But after a while, email becomes a blur. Building in a face-to-face meeting provides daily glue, which helps to hold the team together."

: Talking Stick "The team stands in a circle. I go through a master list of projects, and each project owner gives an update and describes problems. People know they have to stick to the facts, or else we could end up standing around for hours." setting "Standing is crucial. We sat down once, and 30 minutes sped by! The next day, several of our people boycotted the Scrum." -- end of quote--

Minor innovations: Meet at the end of the day because people like to come in at different times, this way pairs can negotiate a time for tomorrow.

I proposed this and people said that they want to leave at different times as well! - Siva

Doesn't this make the meeting rather retrospective in nature? -- OleAndersen

In my organisation the StandUpMeeting seems to be almost as much about syncing up about "what happened yesterday" as "how do we continue today". The retrospective part wouldn't change if we had it at the end of the day, but I really like the feeling you get when you leave the meeting every morning and get working. --AndersBengtsson

As a threat against forgetting the underlying intent of keeping meetings short, consider that your listeners might have discovered their own ActivitiesForBoringMeetings.

To prevent the meeting from getting side-tracked by hit-and-run, drive-by-management agendas, you might find it useful to adopt a rule that allows non-team members to speak only when questions are directed at them. This can be hard to enforce at first, and it may cost some political capital, but it can pay off. --DaveSmith

IMHO StandUp? meetings should start at 12AM or a hour later. I can't work on that schedule, I'm aleep all the time

I thought you weren't supposed to just have a meeting "because-it's-ten-am-we-always-have-a-meeting-at-ten-am"?

In my mind and I call this a "huddle", though that term is the subject of systemic abuse in business units (along with many other sport references). Getting/granting direction for the day or session is not a meeting in my way of thinking. Aside from very brief "we're moving in this direction today" or "look to your left and right and grab whoever is working on something relevant to you that requires cooperation" I tend not to need many actual meetings. A few moments of daily face-to-face nearly eliminates the need for email ping-pong and keeps people from hiding, which is a huge benefit. I'd never seen the phrase StandUpMeeting until seeing this page just now; the reason we stand for the morning huddle is that getting a chair would probably take longer than the event itself. Anyway, lunchtime and gym time are, ultimately, the most productive meeting spaces we've ever had, and that's entirely informal. --CraigEverett?

I thought the goal here was to write software, not go to meetings. Personally, I've spent too much of my life in meetings where most of the issues really didn't need ten other people snoring through them: they're one-on-one questions.

And what happens if you're on a roll at 10am? You have to stop developing, lose all the context in your mind and go to the meeting to explain that you were doing really well, but then you were interrupted?

Stand-up meetings are a "solution" to a "problem" that was artificially created in the first place. I'm not saying you shouldn't have meetings /at all/, but the point at which you have to try artificial means to try and make the meetings less dull and tedious is the point you should realise the meeting probably isn't necessary.

I do like the not-speaking-until-spoken-to rule for hit-and-run managers though.


I guess the SustainablePace thing makes for a time of day where StandUpMeetings are just the thing everyone needs. Even with hit-and-run management -- StijnSanders

I think the diagnosis of stand-ups as a solution to an artificial problem is mistaken; there is a genuine need for some meetings, but also genuine pathological processes that can wreck even necessary meetings. Stand-up is an approach which tries to enable the former by warding off the latter. -- TomAnderson

See problems when StandUpMeetingsStartTheDay.

"A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled." -- Sir Barnett Cocks, Editor of the 17th edition of "Erskine May's Treatise on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament"

We are a geographically distributed team, multiple time zones as well. We agreed that GnomeMeeting (via openmcu bridge) meeting between noon and 1pm EST, which is "morning" for most of us. --

I once was asked to take off my shoes to attend a meeting. Motivation was something about relaying respect... -- StijnSanders

We have our standup meeting at 11:45, since (a) everyone's at work by then and (b) most of the team stop around that time anyway, for lunch. (We used to have it at 10, but some people tended to make poor use of the time before the meeting. With a meeting at 11:45, its clearly unnaceptable to do no work before the meeting!)

Seems like a very stressful way of doing things. SweatShop? mentality so to speak.

Moved to HowToDoMeetings.

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