There are good meetings and there are long meetings but there aren’t many good, long meetings. The Agile Methodology that encourages self-evolving teams depends on a daily stand-up meeting. Strictly time-boxed to fifteen minutes duration, the daily stand-up may also be called a morning roll-call, daily huddle, or a daily scrum. You can use the methodology of a daily stand-up to dramatically improve the quality of your regularly conducted staff meetings.

The Three Questions of a Daily Stand-up

Daily stand-up meetings provide team members insight about where each other focuses their activities.  Using the trivium format of yesterday, today, tomorrow modify the precise questions to meet your needs as illustrated below.

Classic Three Questions of a Daily Stand-up (simple variants)

Daily Stand-up

Daily Stand-up

  1. What did you do yesterday? (or, What did I accomplish yesterday?)
  2. What will you do today? (or, What will I do today?)
  3. Are there any impediments in your way? (or, What obstacles are impeding my progress?)

Motivational Version of the Three Questions of a Daily Stand-up (implication)

  1. What you did to change the world yesterday? (or, What did you accomplish since the last meeting?)
  2. How you are going to crush it today? (or, What are you working on until the next meeting?)
  3. How you are going to blast through any obstacles unfortunate enough to be standing in your way? (or, What is getting in your way or keeping you from doing your job?)

Comments About a Daily Stand-up

Use the same approach for weekly or monthly staff meetings. By no means exhaustive, the approach of reporting on Yesterday > Today > Obstacles prevents scope creep. Standing, rather than sitting, ensures that meetings remain brief and discourages wasted time.

The daily stand-up does not provide the time and place to solve problems.  Rather, the daily stand-up approach makes the team aware of its current status. If discussion is needed, a longer meeting with appropriate parties can be arranged. Topics that require additional attention should be deferred until every team member has reported.

The Agile Daily Scrum strives to disrupt old habits of working separately. Self-organizing teams radically outperform larger, traditionally managed teams. Groups optimally sized from five to nine members who . . .

  • Commit to clear, short-term goals
  • Gauge overall progress
  • Observe each other’s contribution
  • Provide each other unvarnished feedback

Heterogeneous teams outperform homogeneous teams at complex work. They also experience more conflict. An engaged team will disagree more frequently, indicating they  are normal and healthy. Team performance will be determined by how well the team handles these conflicts.

Remember to have members focus on WHAT they are doing.  Discussions about WHY they are doing it should be deferred to a planning meeting. Discussions about HOW they are doing it should be deferred to a design meeting or technical discussion.

For us, WHAT someone does remains abstract while HOW they do it becomes concrete.  WHAT we do in our daily lives is to ‘pay bills’.  HOW we do that varies, such as write cheques, submit cash, etc.

Become Part of the Solution While You Improve Your Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology Skills

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Furthermore, our Professional Facilitation curriculum immerses students in the responsibilities and dynamics of an effective facilitator and methodologist. Because nobody is smarter than everybody, attend an MG RUSH Professional Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology workshop offered around the world, see MG RUSH for a current schedule.

Additionally, go to the Facilitation Training Store to access our in-house resources. Finally, you will discover numerous annotated agendas, break timers, and templates.

In conclusion, we dare you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Monthly Facilitation blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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