So, a “stand-up” meeting is a communication ritual from Extreme Programming (XP). The developers were sick of long, boring meetings wasting all their time, so someone came up with the idea of ritualizing a quick and productive status meeting. Stand-up has to be short because no one is allowed to sit down.
I believe in stand-up, it works. While I have perpetuated the stand-up ritual in my new job, extending it to a mixed group of physically present and physically remote folks is challenging. It is harder when some have never participated in a stand-up “in person”. Still, the benefit of this quick check-in with (and I hope for) the remote folks outweighs the awkwardness.
Here are some general ground rules:
- Stand-up happens at the appointed time with whomever is present. Currently ours happens at 10:30 AM, Eastern
- Everyone stands
- Participants pass a token: only the person holding the token speaks
- The token-holder(s) should update the team on what has been accomplished since the last stand up, and what is coming this day. In a big or unfamiliar group, the token-holder starts with their own name, “Hi, I’m Joe, and today…” or in a paired environment, “Hi, I’m Joe,” “and I’m Susan, and we’re…“
- The token-holder can ask the group for help to solve a problem, though things are solved off-line after stand-up with the appropriate folks
- Stand-up should be called by an inanimate object rather than a person
- The person at the end has to say “let’s be careful out there” or some variant on that phrase to close the meeting
Here are some ideas for making stand-ups happen with remote team members
- Tokens need to be passed “virtually” to and back from conference call participants, with the order called out
- Remote team members should be responsible for getting their own inanimate objects to remind them (alarm in calendar)
Rules of thumb for part-time team members
- Part time folks should attend stand-ups part of the time.
I’m curious what others who have tried this think needs to be added to our ritual or to this description.