Stand-Ups - Get Your Morning Started Right

By. Lance Ennen

In the software business we have stand-ups. These are morning meetings where everyone shares progress and hashes out minor issues.

Every day we have morning stand-ups. I view these as the most important meeting.

I’ve worked in places before where missing the morning stand-up costs you a dollar. The money was thrown into a tip-style jar and at the end of a long iteration we would use all the money from the jar for a party. The whole point is, the stand-up is the most important meeting of the day and missing it should be only considered for emergencies.

Stand-ups are important for several reasons:

Objective of the Stand-Up

Stand-ups are the best ways to make sure everyone is up to speed on a project. Each person attending the stand-up is expected to tell everyone on the team what they worked on yesterday and what they have on their plate for today. Also, if there are any roadblocks you want to address them with the person on the team that can help you hurdle them.

If the roadblock is more than a two minute issue, one which you know you’ll be monopolizing the stand-up, then it’s good to address it, but hold a prolonged discussion until after the stand-up. This allows everyone to go through and say what objectives they have accomplished and what’s next on their list.

Beneficiaries of the Stand-Up

All parties involved in a project benefit from the stand-up. The client, the business, every department (no matter if they are in attendance) and the developers. If the developers are on task and informed, then everyone shares in the incremental progress that is being made. It’s all about communication.

Stand-ups allows everyone to be on the same page.

As a business owner, you need to make sure your software engineers are accountable. Stand-ups are a perfect place for people to show off the progress they are making. They’re not only good for accountability, but also for motivation. By showing what you’ve accomplished, you push your other team members to keep pace.

Also when you’re paying out salaries, the worst thing that can happen is if you’re not checking in with your developers. If a couple of days go by and no one is producing, then you’re paying someone to sit there and goof off. The daily morning stand-up forces accountability and keeps the team moving forward.

Here or There?

The old real estate mantra: “Location. Location Location.” does not apply in our trade. That’s the beauty of the world we live in today. Currently, with my team, a lot of us are remote, so we have a lot of our stand-ups on Google Hangouts. Everybody meets up at 10:15 am. We moved it a little later because we have someone on the team who had a hard time getting to work at 10, due to the metro, traffic, etc.

We have an open software environment. People are allowed to come and go as they please, as long as they’re getting the work done. Flexibility is a must. If there’s someone on the team that can’t make it at a certain time, you adjust for them, but it’s important everyone is there when the stand-up time has been established.

If someone isn’t there, there need to be consequences; such as paying money into the jar for the next iteration party.

The daily stand-up is the most important meeting of the day for developers, because it reinforces team communication, motivation and accountability.

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