The Morning Meeting

7 tips for a speedy and productive morning meeting

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on my post about getting the most out of your meetings “The 3 P’s to Meeting Success.” For those that have asked me to be more specific, I’m dedicating this post to the anatomy of a successful stand up meeting. For those familiar with Agile development, this is where I originally got started holding these short meetings. Over time I have found the format is invaluable for keeping everyone on the same page across our organization without becoming a huge time suck where people essentially just listen to others report out. The primary value is really only there for the one or two senior managers responsible for coordinating across projects. I am a big believer in regular meetings that are very short for keeping groups engaged and collaborating on a regular basis. In the post below I’ve outlined the formula I believe will lead to successful stand up meetings.

  1. Be regular. Our team meets every morning at 9:15 for 15 minutes to do a company scrum that includes all of our key project participants. We never over run the 15-minute mark which ensures that we don’t become a time suck for people trying to execute.
  2. 2. Have the right people. Given that stand up meetings are supposed to be short and ours is a 15-minute meeting, there simply cannot be more than 15 participants if there is to be any value conveyed in a collaborative fashion.
  3. 3. Know what you are going to say. You should have a formula or template for responses in the meeting. I accomplished this [yesterday]. I am working on [today’s action item]. We have [any obstacle] and need to work with [team X]. We are [on/behind/ahead] of schedule.
  4. 4. Hold to the time requirement. I stick to the format and the time no matter what. The temptation to get into more depth is always there. It is critical not to give in to the temptation to extend the meeting. The right response is to get the associated parties together after the scrum. Don’t waste other people’s time.
  5. 5. Don’t waste other people’s time. This should probably be the first sentence in every one of these rules. Stand up meetings are not generally for reporting out. They are focused on discovering collaboration opportunities and overcoming hurdles. Everybody in the meeting should be focused on saying things that will inform the group about opportunities to leverage your activities or identify needs you have that others may be able to satisfy. Everything else is extraneous and should be done in a follow on meeting.
  6. 6. Assign a note taker. This can be one person’s job or performed on a rotating basis. The recap should be sent to the group within 15 minutes of the meeting close with a focus on content not formatting. The template can be as simple as a list of the regular attendees with pre-existing points after them. Then simply fill in the blank. The only extra information should be listing the follow up meetings to be held.
  7. 7. Focus on improvement. I try to end the scrum with enough time on the board to ask one very important question everyday. Are their any ideas for improvement? The focus here is general, across projects, and across the organization. Good ideas come from all over, but they may not make it to me if I don’t explicitly ask.

That is my lucky seven ideas for driving great stand up meetings. I’d be very interested in your comments and feedback on the topic.

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