What is a standup meeting?

A standup is a daily short meeting held by members of an agile team. The purpose of a standup meeting is to discuss critical ongoing projects. Standup meetings are typical in various departments across numerous industries. Many regard it as a brilliant alternative to frequent traditional round table meetings, and it’s rightly so. It carries a sense of urgency, compelling everyone present to participate and pay attention. Usually, a standup lasts 15 minutes or less since it’s not a lengthy discussion rather an avenue to look at the status of projects. Besides, participants stand throughout the meeting, and such a meeting is usually a precursor to a much longer and more detailed discussion.

Ideally, in Agile, only a few people make up the team, and this small size of people between 5 – 11 attend the standup.

The Importance of a Standup

Standup helps a team stay focused and keep abreast of a project’s progress. Members will be on the same page and see what needs more attention.

It serves as an avenue to motivate team members as each one will tell those present their tasks and goal for that day. Questions such as “what did I do yesterday, what will I do today, and what challenges or progress have I made?” are answered to team members during a standup.

Team members get to know of any hindrances delaying the project execution — an avenue to re-strategize or offer helpful tips.

Who is Present at a Standup

In agile, the scrum master, product owner, and the entire team attend a standup. These are the set of people who can participate in a standup meeting. Stakeholders can also join in standup but can’t participate — they are there as mere observers. During the meeting, the scrum master listens and takes note of the challenges of each member.

Pitfalls to Avoid in a Standup

Not Paying Attention

When participating in a standup, teammates can lose focus by multitasking – rehearsing what to say and trying to pay attention to the contribution of others. In the end, rehearsal takes more concentration, and participants miss out on the valuable discussion during the meeting.

Derailing From the Main Discussion

A standup meeting can be unproductive if the team derails from the subject of discussion. Or if only the issue of an individual is addressed.

Wasting Time

Standup should last only a few minutes. In that time, several team members will contribute. A common pitfall is time-wasting. If team members spend spare time talking about an issue without nailing the point, it can happen. The main point sometimes gets lost in excess details (such as talking about unimportant or unrelated information). It is also one of the reasons why the team must have a few members; the more the participants, the longer the meeting takes. Other pitfalls to avoid include:

●        Don’t use a standup as a status report

●        Discuss after the meeting but during it.

●        Don’t defeat the purpose of the discussion by sitting down!

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