Try this simple meeting at the start of each day, and see how quickly your team morale begins to lift!

 Success Habit #2 – Have a stand-up meeting for 5 minutes every morning

The introduction of the ‘Stand-Up’ Meeting is widely accredited to the Agile Development Methodology described by James Shore in The Art of Agile.

They call it a ‘scrum’ and there are a multitude of opinions both for and against its use in software development teams.

This is and is not what I mean by a ‘5 Minute Daily Stand-Up Meeting’.

A scrum is generally 15 minutes in length and agile development teams use it as a status update, short-term forecast and issues identification session. It relies on good, open, respectful and relevant communication between all team members.

Unfortunately, based on my research, many development teams do not use them well or do not use them at all. By far the majority of software developers that I have met are not great communicators at the best of times (sorry guys!) and it follows that if you’re not keen on communication, you’ll avoid it. Thus the scrum is rendered impotent. It should come as no surprise to you then to discover that some genius, (several of them actually) have developed software to allow them to run their scrum meetings online at different times without any face-to-face interaction whatsoever. Brilliant!

A 5 minute daily stand-up meeting is not a scrum.

It is a quick and easy gathering of all the people that will be working together on a particular shift, task, project or job to exchange practical information and emotional support relevant to that shift, task, project or job and the people in the team.

This type of meeting out-dates the agile scrum by a long way. It has been reportedly used in the military and NASA, it has been used in the theatre as long as productions have been recorded and it is used extensively in manufacturing and service industries. It goes by many names, sometimes called a catch-up or a run-down, a read through or a dry run. It is the meeting before the meeting for some.

Taking the time to get your heads together for practical information is a no-brainer to me.

Failing to communicate the basic ‘start-of-shift’ information would be life threatening in the hospital wards. On the emotional front, there is no better global example of the power that a team derives from being on the same page than the New Zealand All Blacks and their Haka ritual. There may be team members walking onto the field thinking about their personal problems, family members or financial issues. However, at the conclusion of the Haka – I can assure you every team member is intensely focused on the same thing, winning!

Taking 5 minutes to speak and listen to our team at the start of each shift builds emotional bonds between individuals, creates team bonding and builds interpersonal skills for team leaders and members alike.

Understanding that ups and downs, health and illness, successes and failures in our personal life will impact on our work life and providing an easy and open forum to share is invaluable in building performance and resilience in teams.

Here’s a quick ritual agenda for your 5 minute stand-up meeting.

Have the meeting in the team’s work area, next to their Visualisation Board or KPI measures to keep it relevant to task.

Team Leader:

  • Bring the huddle in close, eliminate distance physically and emotionally.
  • Greet everyone – introduce any new members to the team.
  • Dissect the time you have based on the team size (5 people = 1 minute each, etc.) and set the expectation to keep on time.
  • Give a status update on the team’s performance to target from the previous day, no details, just the numbers that matter.
  • Set the expectation for the new day and highlight any new issues or barriers that may impact on that.
  • Finish by stating how you feel today and if you need anything extra from anyone.

Team Member:

  • Follow the lead by briefly sharing your results and feelings from the previous day and then your expectations of the day to come.
  • Finish by stating how you feel today and if you need any help from anyone or if you can help someone else today.
  • As and when assistance is needed and offered, Team Members with the Team Leader’s approval should re-allocate the team members and tasks.

After each Team Member has done this the Team Leader can close off the meeting by thanking everyone and wishing all a great day!

Try this simple meeting at the start of each day, and see how quickly your team morale begins to lift!