5 benefits of daily stand-ups
19 July 2019
Posted by: Rachel McLinn
Whilst the Consortium were in Copenhagen discussing business agility with senior leaders across Denmark, the importance of transparency and honesty kept coming up. With multiple projects including staff from cross-functional teams and people working in remote locations more frequently, it can sometimes be tricky to get the face-to-face contact with colleagues that we all need.
This is where Daily stand-ups come in! For those of you who are unaware of what a daily stand-up is, it’s the chance for team members to quickly and efficiently ‘stand’ together in the office and each run through their priorities for the day, what they achieved the day before and if they need support from any peers.
We run these in the Consortium HQ and set aside a short amount of time to complete this, no more than fifteen minutes. This ensures that it doesn’t impinge on any other meetings or agenda for the day.
How would I run a daily stand-up? I would advise on setting fifteen minutes (no longer) aside within your day and gather around a communal part of your office, in front of an ideas/team board would be preferable but not essential.
Your team would then all stand in a circle and take turns in each answering the main four points:
What have I been doing since the last stand-up which helps achieve the business outcome?
What will I be doing between now and the next stand-up to help achieve the business outcome?
What problems, risks or issues I have that will prevent me from achieving this?
Do I need support from any team members before the next stand-up?
So now you know what a daily stand-up is, why would you run one in your team? What’s the point?
Take a look at the five benefits that I’ve listed below for how I think daily stand-ups can help individually, as well as benefiting the entire team.
- Communication: As you know already, there are so many benefits of communication to a team. However, as one of our eight agile principles, we understand at the Consortium that poor communication can be the single biggest cause of project failure. Techniques, such as daily stand-ups, are built in to the agile methodology to help teams be able to achieve these principles. Business agility is all about maximising the opportunity for face-to-face contact. As a people focused mindset, integrating this behaviour in to your teams' culture is an ideal way to start becoming a more agile organisation.
- Transparency:Similar to communication, daily stand-ups help all team members get the chance to share their work with everyone, clearly identifying roles and responsibilities as well as helping to prevent silos. Including cross-functional team members in daily stand-ups, as much as possible, is desired to achieve full transparency within the organisation. It is important within organisations wanting to become more agile, that senior leadership teams embrace the need for this technique, as well as others, and empower staff to experiment with this to see the benefits of such behaviours. If they can get involved with the daily stand-ups, even better!
- Trust: Through creating better communication and more transparency within the team, trust will start to build as an outcome of frequent daily stand-ups. With a joint understanding of roles, responsibilities, work objectives and an agreed business outcome, teams can start to see a stronger sense of trust among colleagues building from these short, yet impactful, get-togethers.
- Exposing issues: Sometimes, it is not until coming together as a team and talking through varied tasks that certain obstacles may come in to view. This can be helpful in the team understanding how particular tasks affect all of those in the organisation, no matter what department. There is no blame-game in business agility and this is where the phrase “good spot” comes in to play! Business agility is about embracing change and daily stand-ups are a great place to begin the discussion on how this can happen when obstacles arise (however remembering to take any detailed conversations offline).
- T-E-A-M: With busy work schedules, sometimes getting the opportunity to stand together for fifteen minutes at the beginning of the day is the only chance you may get to do so as a whole team. Before you know it, people are in meetings, on business calls or off on work trips! Standing together for a small part of each day can really help to start empowering your colleagues as a team and to remind themselves of how we are all there to support one another. Whatever your business objective may be, you are all there to deliver the same outcome and your daily stand-up is your friendly daily reminder of achieving this.
So, when beginning your own daily stand-up for your team, remember the following points:
Set aside no more than fifteen minutes for the stand-up. This is created to be a fast and efficient run through of staff priorities, not a detailed meeting.
Choose somewhere communal in the office where everyone can meet at the same time and where there is plenty of room to stand in a circle.
Keep team members focused on the main points required to cover.
Any further conversations or details that need to be discussed can be taken ‘offline’.
Overall, a daily stand-up is there to help the team communicate, seek support as well as track progress or obstacles with one another.
I find them helpful in understanding my colleague’s workloads and priorities, giving me a greater understanding, outside of my own role, what is happening within the wider business.
Do you run daily stand-ups in your organisation? How do they work for you? Or maybe your planning to run one after this blog?
We would love to hear from you about your experiences with daily stand-ups and how they have helped you and your team. Get in touch!
Rachel is the Head of Membership at the Agile Business Consortium, focusing on membership strategy and value. Her focus this year has been to improve the current membership programme, changing the offer to members in line with agile principles.