When Mike Cohn spoke with NPR in in February 2012 about the concept of “standing meetings,” the concept wasn’t all that new. Cohn gave a brief description of how standup meetings tend to be shorter and therefore more effective than a traditional meeting where attendees sit around a table.
Even with standup meetings having been around for years, more traditionalist supervisors and team leaders may find the idea of removing the furniture and even the PowerPoint presentations from a meeting a bit daunting.
We asked Mike how to sell a standup meeting to someone that may be initially skeptical about the format change. He informed us that outside of those who are “philosophically opposed to any meeting” the standing meeting's biggest selling point is simple.
“It’s a short meeting so most people are willing to give it a try.”
In agile based software development projects, the daily scrum meeting is key. It not only keeps everyone aware of what’s going on in the project, it’s brief. In traditionally ten to fifteen minutes, scrum masters, product owners, and the rest of the development team are brought up to speed on the progress of a current sprint, and then everyone gets back to work.
But what if the briefness of your standup meeting, or the widely documented health benefits of not spending all day at your desk isn’t enough to keep everyone's attention? There are equally entertaining ways to entertain those who are participating, as well as those who may require a little motivation.
Some groups pass around a rubber chicken to whoever’s turn it is to speak, although in a ten to fifteen minute meeting there’s not too much time for any one person to talk for too long. Those who do tend to ramble on a bit could find themselves holding a medicine ball that tends to encourage wrapping up people's longer points.
For those who fail to participate because they can’t seem to make a standing meeting on time, there are more severe punishments that have been put in place, although the point of the agile scrum is to usually to encourage people to want to attend—not to have to scare them into it.
No matter what methods you use to reward, or punish, those on your development team for their participation, or lack thereof, as Mike Cohn mentions—the overwhelming reward for most people is the promise of a meeting that’s simply shorter.
What makes your company's standing meetings effective? Let us know in the comments section below.
A resident copywriter and editor for TechWell, SQE, and StickyMinds.com, Noel Wurst has written for numerous blogs, websites, newspapers, and magazines. Noel has presented educational conference sessions for those looking to become better writers. In his spare time, he can be found spending time with his wife and two sons—and tending to the food on his Big Green Egg. Noel eagerly looks forward to technology's future, while refusing to let go of the relics of the past.