Keeping Your Stand-ups Focussed

Image Copyright Matthias Ripp

Stand-ups are designed to be a quick way of getting your team together to update everyone on progress and highlight any potential roadblocks. However, if you’re not careful they can quickly become a time sink leaving you playing catchup for the rest of the day.

We recently found ourselves falling into this trap at No Divide and so here are a few things we’re doing to help keep stand-ups focussed.

Limit The Water Cooler Talk

It’s nice to spend a bit of time at the start of the day catching up with everyone and chatting about what they got up to on the night before. When you’re working in a remote team this informal discussion is essential for maintaining a healthy culture, but a quick five minute catch up can easily turn into an hour long discussion about what’s going wrong in the world. Keep the informal chat to a maximum of five minutes, if you want to discuss something further have the discussion in a passive communication tool like Slack. That way people can dip in and out of the discussion when they want as opposed to having it hijack your stand-up.

Keep Focussed

The morning stand-up is your opportunity to update the team on how you got on yesterday, what you plan to accomplish today, and let them know about any roadblocks that stand in your way. Keep your updates focussed and don’t break off into in-depth discussions that don’t require the whole team to be present. If you need to have an in-depth discussion with someone on your team schedule a chat with them later. That way you’re not holding up the rest of your team.

Restrict Your Stand-ups to 15 Minutes

If you’re working in a small team of five or six people, fifteen minutes is plenty of time for a morning stand-up. There’s still room for a few minutes of informal chat at the start and then everyone has a couple of minutes to give their updates. If what you have to say doesn’t fit in fifteen minutes then you’re going too deep. It’s time to schedule a dedicated call to discuss the issue.

Conclusion

Stand-ups are a great way of catching up with your team but don’t let them take over your morning. Keep your stand-ups focussed and you’ll find that you become a lot more productive.