5 Steps to running a more effective daily stand-up

Whether you call it a scrum, a huddle, a morning roll call, or anything else, daily stand-ups have become an essential tool in empowering teams to unite and prioritize work goals. In just 15 minutes, all team members are equipped with what is expected of them for the day, as well as how their work is impacting team goals. Awesome, right? Well, not quite.

Some daily stand-ups feel more like 15 minute abs in that the end goal is highly desirable, but the road to it is painful and exhaustive. To ensure your stand-ups don’t become an exercise in futility, we’ve gathered five steps you can take now to run more meaningful meetings.

Step 1: Are you sitting down?

Well, you shouldn’t be. Ironically, chairs are still involved in a lot of daily stand-ups because people missed the memo about why everyone should be standing. When you sit, there are a number of things that happen physiologically that are toxic to your meeting. A recent study found that people who sit often have trouble retaining long-term information, which is basically anything that was said or happened more than 30 seconds ago. Whoa!

Another article on the benefits of standing stated that just the simple act of getting up engages our muscles, and sends blood and oxygen throughout the body, activating chemicals that enhance our brains and mood. Conversely, sitting relaxes us and slows our brain function. To increase the chances of your team maintaining a good mood and a solid recollection of what they need to do, kick chairs to the curb.

Step 2: Make connecting quick and easy.

If your team is spread out and connecting remotely for the daily stand-up, make sure their day doesn’t begin in frustration, or slow everyone else down. Choose a video-conferencing solution that is easy for anyone to use, regardless of whether they are on-site or using a mobile device. Features you will want to make sure your video conferencing solution offers are:

– Simplicity: If it takes you 10 minutes to set-up for your stand-up, you’re wasting valuable time.
– Wireless Screen Sharing: People should be able to share screens from any device effortlessly.
– Remote Screen Sharing: Remote attendees should be able to share screens just as easily as those in the room.
– Dedicated URL: No one should ever have to punch in numbers and access codes on a daily basis. Use a dedicated URL for your video stand-ups so folks can click-to-join with no sweat.
– HD Video and Audio: Everyone should be able to see and hear one another clearly.

Step 3: Put your game face on.

When people know what to expect, they tend to lose interest. Because daily stand-ups are routine by nature, you need to vary the routine in order to keep people engaged. For example, if your typical stand-up agenda includes going around the room clockwise and hearing from each person, think about putting everyone’s name in a hat and drawing to see who goes next. You can even make it more interesting by giving out prizes, such as a Starbucks gift card or some other tchotchke for the “last one standing” (last name picked). You may even want to take a note from The Pee-Wee Herman Show and have a daily secret word to keep people listening closely.

Step 4: Focus on the three main points.

1. Accomplishments: What did you complete yesterday?
2. Goals: What are you doing today?
3. Obstacles: Is there anything keeping you from accomplishing today’s goals?

Often, people may be tempted to go off on different topics while they have the group’s ears, but don’t let them. Cut in whenever you notice the meeting is headed off-course and let that person know you appreciate them bringing up “Topic X,” but it’s a discussion for another time. To prevent people from getting upset over being redirected, you can let them know you care about Topic X by adding it to a whiteboard of “Topics for Later Discussion.”

Step 5: Use a timer.

Lots of theories abound about how much time you should give each person to answer the three questions of a daily stand-up; however, we recommend starting with one minute and making adjustments until you find the perfect amount of time for your team. Ideally you will want to bring a timer with a loud buzzer or bell that alerts people that their time is up. While you may get some pushback from people who hate to feel rushed, using a timer enables everyone to have their say and keeps longwinded talkers in check. You may even want to take a cue from Step 3 and hand out prizes to people who get it said the fastest.

Bonus step: Invite Highfive to be part of your daily stand-ups.

We hope our blog has given you fresh insights on how to engage people and host more productive daily stand-ups. Whether the team members in your stand-ups are on-site or on-location, Highfive helps bring everyone together so they can connect face-to-face, share screens, and see, hear and understand each other perfectly, thanks to HD video and audio powered by Dolby Voice. Our all-in-one video conferencing devices are easy to use and equip you with everything you and your team need for a vivid video meeting anytime, anywhere. For a stand-up tool worthy of a standing ovation, give yourself a Highfive.

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By Sara Moseley