Getting Standups to Finish in 15 Minutes ⌚

Sep 24, 2021 6:50 pm

Happy Friday,

Everyone I've ever worked with thinks their stand-ups is a pointless status meeting. They're not, but I don't fault people for feeling that way. People have been slavishly answering 3 questions for a long time and failing to accomplish a meaningful purpose in it.

Not to mention they never finish in 15 minutes.

I'm usually a bit uncomfortable saying that I'm really good at things, but making standups a meeting people want to attend is one of my skills. Part of doing that is getting the meeting back down to its timebox.

Though, before I go further, the timebox isn't ultimately important, but knowing it exists and missing it prompts a feeling of failure. Much like a sprint that is incomplete. Even if it's like the tiniest hurt, why do we endure it every single day?

So, here's a way to get a standup down to 15 minutes or less. This works for up to teams of 17.

Introduce the 2-Breath Rule

When starting the standup say, "As you answer the three questions, give your answers in just two breaths."

Now, old habits die hard, but within the same standup, you'll likely see as each person goes they are getting better at it.

I will, no more than one time, after someone goes way over the two breaths I'll try to gently remind people that the two breath rule is in effect by either saying, "Two breaths" when they're done, holding up 2 fingers on camera or something like that. I don't want to cudgel people as they figure it out, but I find it helps reinforce the change by bringing it up one time in the standup.

I did this recently with a team I just met, they had 10 folks in their standup and their standups normally ranged 20 minutes to 1.5 hours. The first time I introduced the two-breath rule, they finished in less than 12 minutes. After we were done I asked people what they thought and we talked about their reactions and why I made the changes I did.

This is something that just about everyone can try to get their standups healthier and a better start to their days.

If you want to learn more about getting standups to be a meeting people like, I did write a small booklet to help. I also provide a print license so you can print a copy and give it to someone who might need it.

Here's my weekly update for September 24th, 2021...

🗒️ How I Define a Team


Team is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot and sadly often means individuals assigned to work in close proximity.

Since I specialize in building teams, I have a very different definition.

Click here to read more

🗒️ When Abandoning Code Reviews Leads to Better Results


The first time I was on a team that abandoned pull-requests and code reviews was back in 2011.I would keep pushing the groups I was in to do the same because the results were much better than the branch-based code reviews....

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Ryan Latta