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Ask Slashdot: Are Daily Stand-Up Meetings More Productive? 445

Posted by Soulskill
from the leveling-up-your-agility dept.
__roo writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that an increasing number of companies are replacing traditional meetings with daily stand-ups. The article points out that stand-up meetings date back to at least World War I, and that in some place, late employees 'sometimes must sing a song like "I'm a Little Teapot," do a lap around the office building or pay a small fine.' Do Slashdot readers feel that stand-up meetings are useful? Do they make a difference? Are they a gimmick?"
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Ask Slashdot: Are Daily Stand-Up Meetings More Productive?

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  • Curious (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:09PM (#38923823) Homepage Journal
    It's curious that they mention the military first doing stand-up meetings - when i was in the military, you stood up only when you were about to fall asleep, but that's all that needs to be said about that.

    In the civilian world, if you have meetings every day, it's because your boss or some other important idiot is a bottleneck in the process and they need daily reinforcement of common sense, at the expense of department productivity.
    • Re:Curious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by snowgirl (978879) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:17PM (#38923865) Journal

      In the civilian world, if you have meetings every day, it's because your boss or some other important idiot is a bottleneck in the process and they need daily reinforcement of common sense, at the expense of department productivity.

      Alternatively, it's a great way for a manager to enforce office hours on their should-be-flexible-schedule programmers if they set it early in the morning, but then that just bottles down again to "a manager who insists on micromanaging everything, and being a bottleneck".

      • by Cerberus7 (66071)
        Holy crap, that's a scary idea (the early morning meeting hour enforcement thingy). I will consider myself fortunate that the worst I ever got was a demand to stand up during the "weekly huddle."
      • Re:Curious (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Antidamage (1506489) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @01:04AM (#38924451) Homepage

        This is what I came to say. We had standup meetings every day and it devolved into one particularly megalomaniacal aspie micro-manager telling staff how to stand in the most abusive tone possible. I quit shortly after that started.

    • Re:Curious (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kiwimate (458274) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:18PM (#38923883) Journal

      In the civilian world, if you have meetings every day, it's because your boss or some other important idiot is a bottleneck in the process and they need daily reinforcement of common sense, at the expense of department productivity.

      From the article:

      The current wave of stand-up meeting is being fueled by the growing use of "Agile," an approach to software development, crystallized in a manifesto published by 17 software professionals in 2001.

      Which is true.

      Don't be so quick to blame management. I know it's a reflex here on /., but the current craze for stand-up meetings, scrum, agile, etc., are being driven by tech staff.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Are they being driven by tech staff within the companies affected, or some know-it-all tech staff somewhere else, like the 17 jerks who wrote that manifesto, and now these companies' managers are reading this manifesto and trying to apply it to their own organizations?

      • Re:Curious (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheLink (130905) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:49PM (#38924089) Journal

        but the current craze for stand-up meetings, scrum, agile, etc., are being driven by tech staff.

        That's daft and primitive though. The real tech way of having more productive meetings is: require most meetings to be done via text instant-messaging (IM):
        That way:
        1) you automatically get minutes of the meeting (the bosses could require the transcripts to be posted somewhere).
        2) you can be in multiple meetings at the same time, potentially even chairing one meeting while attending a few others. Heck the bosses could attend them all, not to chime in like an idiot, but in case his/her official approval/opinion for something is required (reduce latency!).
        3) you can do work and other stuff (slashdot, youtube)[1] while attending the meetings.
        4) You can set "AFK", go to the toilet, come back, and scroll up to see what happened while you went AFK, without requiring everyone to recap or wait for you.

        Now of course programmers generally are better off with an uninterrupted stretch for heavy-duty coding. So what bosses could do is require most/all meetings to be within a certain time range of the day. With IM meetings, it is not a showstopper if you have a few meetings scheduled for the same time.

        This way bosses can squeeze even more out of employees ;).

        Of course this requires employees who can actually read and type at reasonable speeds, and multitask.

        With normal physical presence meetings (stand-up or not), you could have 5 people mostly idle, with the only the chairperson reasonably busy, for the entire meeting time. Not very efficient.

        IM meetings could take a bit longer - many people don't type as fast as they can speak and do a normal presentation, but I don't think that's a show-stopper.

        FWIW, are stand-up meetings really more productive and effective than other sort of physical meetings? Or are they merely shorter, leaving more time to get the work done... You can actually have productive meetings - you must have a good reason for meetings, agenda, etc etc (plenty of stuff written on that already).

        [1] This gets harder once there are too many meetings in parallel that require your concentration, but hey you want productive right?

        • by ATMAvatar (648864)

          That is ultimately how my team does it. We use chat (originally IRC, but recently XMPP chat on a company server). There is no requirement that anyone be in at a particular time, and we have logs that keep track of what was discussed automatically. It takes all of about 1-2 minutes of anyone's time each day at most.

          Contrast that sharply to another team in the building that's 3-4 times our size and insists upon having actual meetings. It is not uncommon to see them spend over an hour and a half discussing

      • by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @07:32AM (#38925857) Homepage

        That explains it all. Agile development is never the solution, and always the problem. It is sad that so many people think that you can play code Jenga [slashdot.org], and ship it when it is "good enough", which will be on Friday, BTW. If I could change one thing about the industry it is that so few people understand this simple reality of code development. The answer to the question "When will it be done?" is: When it works properly, passes all tests and a thorough code review for security and maintainability, and is checked in to a well managed software repository for final SQA, and not a moment before., and the answer to the question "how long is that going to take?" is: nobody knows; it's a mystery".

        This is why the Linux kernel is such a solid project even with thousands of disparate developers and being cross platform on an almost ridiculous number of architectures [wikipedia.org]. Not understanding this is why so much code is bloated garbage that should never be considered acceptable.

        • by Cederic (9623) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @09:32AM (#38926315) Journal

          Meanwhile, in the real.world companies are deriving great value from less perfect code and cant accord to.commit their businesses to open ended and unbudgeted developmenta that may never end.

          If you cant tell me when I start getting return on my investment in your software then I don't invest in it.

    • Re:Curious (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:36PM (#38924015)
      You don't get the point of the standup meeting. Why is it standup, it is to keep the meeting short, and to the point. Where otherwise it will be an hour long sit down meeting once a week.

      The daily meeting has other advantages.
      1. It puts everyone in the same room at the same time and they know what is going on daily. This can stop duplication of effort as sometimes you get multiple requirements across many people but the work is actually nearly the same.

      2. It helps focus on what your tasks are for the day. Let's face it, there are days that you slack off on not because you don't have enough work but because your daily goal wasn't there. A quick meeting where you need to state your goal keeps you honest and helps you know your goal is for the day.

      3. It is informal and no notes, nothing gets fixed in stone, allows for more of an honest assessment.

      4. Team lead is informed on what is going on, and when pressed by management he has the answer.

      5. Simple problems can get solved easier. After the meeting people's schedules can disconnect and it could take days to answer a simple question.

      6. It keeps your team together.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        The daily meeting has other advantages:
        1. It puts everyone in the same room at the same time and they know what is going on daily. This can stop duplication of effort as sometimes you get multiple requirements across many people but the work is actually nearly the same.

        Do you all even talk to each other? Like, getting up and vocalizing rather than fucking off on Facebook all day?

        2. It helps focus on what your tasks are for the day. Let's face it, there are days that you slack off on not because you don't have enough work but because your daily goal wasn't there. A quick meeting where you need to state your goal keeps you honest and helps you know your goal is for the day.

        You should probably hire less microcephalics and other unmotivated, underpaid interns to do the actual work.

        3. It is informal and no notes, nothing gets fixed in stone, allows for more of an honest assessment.

        None of you have the balls to say that daily meetings are redundant and stupid, so you're all lazy, underpaid, or dumb.

        4. Team lead is informed on what is going on, and when pressed by management he has the answer.

        Why does the lead have to be pressed to know the answer? Once again, your company is full of idiots.

        5. Simple problems can get solved easier. After the meeting people's schedules can disconnect and it could take days to answer a simple question.

        Schedules can disconnect? Anybody who can't walk to another cube and "co

        • You have certainly been forced through too many meetings; with being an antisocial and stuff, no wonder you're so aggressive.
          That and you haven't even considered virtual teams or global teams; you know, like teams which consist of 5+ people spread around the globe.

          I have team mates in IN, US, IE, RO and IT. In order for us to actually be in sync, meetings are required. Of course, I would love to never participate to meetings and rot in my own cubicle while slacking, but I've seen where that takes.
          We used to

    • Re:Curious (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Jack9 (11421) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:53PM (#38924111)

      > In the civilian world, if you have meetings every day, it's because your boss or some other important idiot is a bottleneck in the process and they need daily reinforcement of common sense, at the expense of department productivity.

      I know this might be a little foreign to someone from the military, but some of us get multiple things done in a day. Our team has a daily standup to ensure we don't step on each others' toes too often, while we're getting shit done. The manager is almost never present, nor does he speak unless spoken to in the standups (with exceptions, if he's gone and done something related to one of our features or has a concern about contingency).

      Your sentiment is backward, at best.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Our daily 15 minute stand up meetings turned into daily 1 hour sit downs.....

    • by forkfail (228161) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:21PM (#38923895)

      Then you're doing it wrong. The standup should be for status and blockers only - if you need another meeting, schedule it during the standup.

      • by S77IM (1371931)

        The key to making these meetings go fast is: participants are not allowed to interrupt, discuss, or ask questions while other people are giving status updates. It makes the status updates go really fast. Afterwards, people can stick around and discuss if they want, but are free to leave if they don't need to be part of that discussion.

          -- 77IM

        • by cptdondo (59460)

          We do a weekly meeting. In between we do a lot of informal meetings; one off two-three person hallway get-togethers. Lots of times those are standups; if they longer than a few minutes we'll grab some chairs.

          This lets me keep tabs on what's going on, keep in touch with how people are doing (yes I'm management) and also gauge where people are in their lives.

          I know a lot about my employees through these meetings; projects, clients, co-workers, kids, wives, husbands, relatives, so I know if someone's child i

  • ...in some place, late employees 'sometimes must sing a song like "I'm a Little Teapot," do a lap around the office building or pay a small fine.'

    I guess there are lots of ways to get people laughing at you, which is what would happen if you tried to institute this at my workplace.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by forkfail (228161) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:25PM (#38923923)

      Seems to me that if folks have to use public shame as a whip, the team has more problems than simple standups will fix.

      On the other hand, the pride of being able to come in every day and announce the accomplishments is a positive motivator.

  • by Aryden (1872756) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:12PM (#38923839)
    Then we got a new manager. Meeting times went down to 2 per week, productivity went up... correlation? You tell me...
    • A meeting once a week where I work. Lasts anywhere from an hour to an hour and half. For what we do, I'd say that's optimal. I guess I fall in the lucky few group.

  • by raind (174356) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:17PM (#38923863)

    You go outside with your boss and have a smoke and tell him what's really going on..

  • No two-way pagers (how I started), no phones, no laptops.
    Come in, complete your agenda, manage the meeting so if participants need to cover something in detail, go off and do it and give a quick report at the next meeting, or send it to the project manager to distribute to the group.
    If you are to busy to focus, then don't attend.

  • I'm sorry, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy@tpno-c[ ]rg ['o.o' in gap]> on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:18PM (#38923879) Homepage

    I'm late to a meeting, for whatever reason, and you are asking me to do what now? No. I don't think so.

    But by all means, try it. Not only will it undermine your authority ( which can't be all that strong to begin with, if you have to rely on silly shit like this ), but it will create some seriously awkward moments ( which I have trained myself to be immune from, for just such a situation ).

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Sounds like a good occasion to quit on the spot.

  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:21PM (#38923893)

    Email should suffice for the _majority_ of many many person meetings. (Sure, problem solving requires in person cooperation, but that's not what I would call a "meeting".)

    • by w_dragon (1802458)
      Especially status updates. A one-line email from each member, aggregated by a PM and sent to the group, can be read whenever I'm at a stopping point and can switch tasks without losing my place in my work. Blowing 15 minutes every day to listen to everyone say '8 hours on feature X yesterday, 32 remaining' is not my idea of a positive use of my time.
    • Emails have the problem that they are perminate. You can ask a question or put your status one wrong word could mean a firestorm of emails. "I don't know" or "I am having some problems" is a kiss of death for a simple problem stated in a quick meeting.
    • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @12:02AM (#38924165)
      Good communication is the key. Not email, or meetings, which are just mediums. Its all about the data being transferred. I've had meetings/status updates via email, bug tracking, chat, phone, in person, and in person stand ups. They all fail when the communication is poor, and succeed when it is clear and concise. With relation to the post itself, yes, I think it is a gimmick (especially "penalties" for not jumping through the right hoops). Invest in making sure the whole team understands how to communicate effectively. That will pay dividends that will help your company really grow.
  • by Lifyre (960576) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:23PM (#38923905)

    We run an end of the day 5 minute run down meeting. It is a great way for managers to catch patterns, problems, and just generally keep a finger on the pulse of how things are running. The key is the 5 minute time limit.

    It makes it easy to pass information up and down the chain and maintain the focus.

    -Lifyre

    • by pooh666 (624584)
      BS, it makes it easy to skip important details and miss whole major topics and looming problems, thanks to brevity.
    • by w_dragon (1802458)
      End of the day for me is 4:00PM. For some of my coworkers it's 5:00, for some it's 7:00. One of the biggest problems with these meetings is that whenever you schedule them you're interrupting work for someone, even if you try to time it when people are just starting or finishing up for the day.
    • Having an "end of day" meeting is only good for making sure no one is leaving early.

      If you're waiting until the END OF THE WORK DAY to communicate a problem ... what the fuck were you doing the rest of the day? Why didn't you communicate it before then?

      It is a great way for managers to catch patterns, problems, and just generally keep a finger on the pulse of how things are running.

      No. Rather it is an attempt at a safety net for those managers. They should already know where the problems are. They should sp

  • wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by w_dragon (1802458) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:23PM (#38923907)
    That article reads like a list of every stupid idea a project manager has ever had. Here's an idea: keep the status meetings to once a week major changes in the project, keep individuals informed of changes that affect them as they happen, and let the workers do the work. When we're done, we'll update the feature/bug tracking system to indicate that we're done and move on. The tracking system will then notify the next person down the line (QA, build, PM, whoever) that something is ready for them, and if they have questions they can come talk to us directly, one on one. Go back to the agile manifesto, and screw off with all the buzzword-laden process crap.
  • They are a good way to break people who think they need daily meetings of the need. Doing it standing up prevents the kind of bloviating that the daily meeting types need, so that the only things you say are the things you need to say. It's basically the least wasteful way of doing a meeting where all you are really doing is exchanging status updates. For meeting where you actually need to work over issues and discuss things in depth, it's not appropriate.
    • by pooh666 (624584)
      What on earth can you say in a standup that you can't say in an email or a PM tool?
  • by forkfail (228161) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:24PM (#38923915)

    When used properly.

    If they are kept short, if folks give status, indicate plans and lay out blockers, without drilling down during the meeting (you can always schedule another meeting after standup, but standup is not the time for deep discussions).

    In general, when used correctly, agile is just the fitting of good work habits and practices to the reality. No matter what the approach, an individual should have reachable short term daily goals, weekly goals, sprint level goals, etc. Forming the process around good work habits can indeed massively increase productivity.

    With that said, no management/team approach will in and of itself fix a broken team.

  • by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:33PM (#38923993) Homepage

    When I first brought daily 10-minute meetings to my programming team, they were skeptical. They hated meetings because they had been long and unproductive. But recently, after three years, I gave the team the option to reduce the number of meetings to, say, twice a week. Unanimously, they wanted to continue the daily meetings. Each of them said they got a lot out of them. They felt they knew what was going on, and many problems were caught before they grew.

    The thing is, I respect my team members. I treat them like they are the professionals they are. In return, they give me everything they've got.

    Daily meetings done right can be highly valuable. Done wrong, they can be torture.

  • by porky_pig_jr (129948) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:35PM (#38924005)

    I'm sure Scott Adams will greatly benefit from these fads. Just think about Wally participating in stand up meeting!

  • by Liquidrage (640463) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:36PM (#38924013)
    I've run development projects for about 15 years now. I've always considered development a creative process. And as such I've always avoided too much structure in developers time. I'm not going to say to anyone, "Every day at 9:30 we're going to spend 15 minutes talking about yellow post-it notes". There will be meetings. But overall I treat developers as professionals, I'm not monitoring their time. I'd rather have 35 hours of productive time then 50 hours on the clock of which 10 is spent avoiding work and another 10 not giving their all. And I'd rather they stay until is needed without needing to be asked when the time comes because they appreciate the freedom they get normally. Basically, I measure productivity and not timesheets. I have no problem approving a timesheet that is "short" on hours as long as I feel the production was there. Some people like working late and come in late. Some early and leave early. Some like to skip out after 37 hours a week, but if they're productive why do I care?

    I might be lucky and through many stops have it always work for me. But overall a process development is simple. Get me good requirements. Do a good design. Develop with good practices and patterns. Test it. Deploy. More than that is a solution looking for a problem IMO.

    I've had several developers come in early and stay late and not do as much work as someone that always sneaks out a little early. What's the big deal unless their pay levels are off? The stand up's just seem childish and are a fad. I hope!
  • They always produce a new pile of management initiatives which I scoop up and deliver to the suggestion box in the park.
  • I tried to get my team to do daily stand up meetings, but everyone quickly ran out of fresh material and no one was funny anymore.

    The funniest thing I've heard recently is that I'm doing it wrong. That was a kick.

  • by AlienIntelligence (1184493) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:42PM (#38924051)

    Jesus effin christ... MEETINGS...

    one big stroke off for the idiots running the place, to tell the
    people that are really making them the money, that they aren't
    making enough of it.

    That, is why I'm out of the corporate bullshit circle jerk.

    -AI

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      At my last job it was exactly this, your doing it wrong we have no suggestions and you better fix it with all that free time you have doing 3 peoples work cause we are bleeding money cause no one in the entire place has a clue of a goal or how to reach it, so we do redundant work.

      Job before that meeting were fine, here is what we are doing, here is how we all could improve, what are your ideas, and we will try that and see how it goes from there!

      So yes it totally is related to the incompetence of the bosses

  • Not too often (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ToasterTester (95180) on Friday February 03, 2012 @11:51PM (#38924103)

    When people stick to the idea, previous days targets, any issues, todays targets, and move on. It fine, but when others start whining or manager wantabee start say "don't be so negative..." it turns to be a pain.

    At another place I worked we had morning meeting (sit down) with all who were at work. Meeting was set a one hour max. Manger made any annoucements and floor open to issues and questions, very informal. Those ended up being good meetings very informative and some morning only 15 minutes long.

  • by Aron S-T (3012) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @12:48AM (#38924389) Homepage

    Sadly, the word has lost it's original meeting because so-called consultants and trainers have turned "agile" into the buzzword du jour. It has been turned into a rigid set of must follow ceremonies, mostly coming from Scrum, which totally violate the original principles of the agile manifesto. If you feel daily meetings are useful do them. Personally, in my 30+ years of experience, the best way to ensure good communication (for after all that is a key agile principle) is to have the whole project team work in the same room and to use a good tracking system. As the manager/leader I half listen to the conversations going around the room and intervene when I think my input is useful or necessary or make sure people who arent in the conversation who need to be, join in. The tracking system keeps everyone focused and informed on what's important. That, along with the whip hand of a good QA manager who ensures things don't fall between the cracks. Formal meetings are important at iteration kickoffs and to discuss complex issues with customers. A strong leader will ensure meetings are short and to the point whether they take place standing or sitting.

  • They are a gimmick (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @12:50AM (#38924403) Journal

    I have done standups both as a teamlead and as a developer and in both cases they suck. I like to think of myself as a pretty good teamlead but I work by adjusting my monitoring to the skills of the individual develop and their current task. Some people work great if you just let them be and others need to be "unstuck" if they are working on something complex or be kept on track as they tend to wander off. One size of leadership definitely does not suit all.

    So, as a team lead I KNOW already what the fuck everyone else is doing and during standups, especially in this companies that like to share and get everyone from cross-projects to come join the circle I find myself listening to stuff I already know or don't give a rats ass about.

    As a developer, this is even worse, I know what I did, I know what I am going to do, I know what my issues are... why do I need to know this for a dozen or more other people as well? And if I get an issue, I deal with it then and there not wait for a standup where I can only speak for a short time and not have any papers or screenshots handy. Do people ever get an issue resolved from a standup they didn't already address before it? Then get you to a class on communication ASAP.

    But what if you got some problem that someone else might know a solution too... THIS NEVER HAPPENS. In some dweebs fantasy land this daily standups should result in brainstorms where one guys problem is solved by someone else by magic... the rules of the standup (short) prohibit anyone detailing a problem they are having and inviting others to think about a better way to solve it... and basic nature of the adult male does the rest. Have you EVER said during a meeting or standup "gosh, I have this project and it asks me to do X and I wondered if any of you could think with me on this"? Yes, you did? Then hand over you man card right now, you balls will be collected later.

    Standups only have room for blocks, not requests for brainstorms. Brainstorms should be done while comfortable and with plenty of data available and a place to write things down (another fucking idiotic thing about standing up, how are you supposed to make good readable notes, oh wait most never bother with that, so everything is forgotten and you got to mention it again after the standup).

    Management often feels the need to be kept informed the problem is that they want all the information without all the information. Either a meeting only contains abstract monkey babble that confuses developers, or it becomes techno babble that confuses anyone who ever had a date. Often "when will it be finished" really means "I want it finished yesterday and don't bother me about the laws of causality".

    Ideally, a good team lead can solve all this. In Dutch the term is "meewerkend voorman" basically the person on a shopfloor who both works and manages it. It is most common in blue collar type jobs but that is just because white collar jobs tend to require anyone doing management to loose any other usable set of skills.

    He doesn't have to be the best coder, and with this I mean that he can code fairly well but he is not a die hard code monkey like a John Carmack from Id, but he knows the job and has done it himself. He does know about management but is not a manager rather he is a coder who then became a developer (a coder writes code, a developer creates an application) and has then learned how to do the development part of coding for other people. The talking to management, the assignment of priorities, the overview of the entire project, the dangers of regression, why security is an issue, etc etc. He then sits as a barrier and a filter between management (the customer) and his team.

    Think of it as building a brick house. A foreman doesn't need to be the best brick layer ever and a brick layer he is managing might well be far better then him but if he can lay a good wall himself then he is all the better at supervising this. Because he knows about the job at hand, he can alter the amount of supervising depending

    • So, as a team lead I KNOW already what the fuck everyone else is doing and during standups, especially in this companies that like to share and get everyone from cross-projects to come join the circle I find myself listening to stuff I already know or don't give a rats ass about.

      If you don't give a rat's ass about what people are doing on other projects, ever, you're probably not a very good team lead or developer, but more importantly not a very good co-worker. And even if you know, does that mean everyone else on the project does? Everyone else in the company? Does IT know this afternoon would be the 100% worst time to update the servers? Does the designer doing a videophone assessment with Slovenia know the network is going to be saturated at 2:00?

      And if I get an issue, I deal with it then and there not wait for a standup where I can only speak for a short time and not have any papers or screenshots handy.

      What if no one on your immediat

  • Dilbert (Score:5, Funny)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @01:19AM (#38924515)
  • The Queen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jaweekes (938376) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @03:03AM (#38924905)

    The British Queen has daily meetings where she's the only one sitting. It's not for any formal reason but rather to make the meeting as short and to the point as possible. From what former PM's say, it works really well.

  • by pbjones (315127) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @03:40AM (#38925009)

    In a work environment that has email, web and other stuff, daily meetings were becoming a drag, so now we only meet when there is actually something to discuss.

  • Precedent (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GerryHattrick (1037764) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @03:59AM (#38925063)
    Britain's highest-level meeting, the 'Privy Council', has for centuries been stand-up only. All HM Queen ever says there is "assent", and that certainly keeps it quick too.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @06:44AM (#38925649) Homepage Journal

    If you want to ensure meetings are fast and don't run overly long, just schedule them for 4:30. Everyone will STFU because they want to go home.

  • It's AWFUL (Score:4, Informative)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @07:13AM (#38925763) Homepage Journal

    How time flies [slashdot.org].

    Stand up meetings are terrible, they always felt to me like a bad version of an homage paid either towards communism or fascism. The feeling is akin to that of a komsomol meeting, and that's probably what hitlerjugend must have felt like, especially those, who weren't devoted followers, but those who only attended it out of sense of self-preservation.

    Maybe this comparison is a bit too strong, but that's the first thing that comes to mind.

    As to the merits of such meetings - these are always denigrating, and totally worthless, nothing of any value can really be discussed in them because they are not aimed at solving any particular problem, just a reminder that the ant-farm is still in operation for some ridiculous reason.

  • by MagikSlinger (259969) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @12:50PM (#38927615) Homepage Journal

    I've been pushing my department of developers from using the corporate approved modified waterfall [wikipedia.org] method, which has lead to massive budget overruns since corporate pushed it down on us, to an Agile-like process (You do know you are allowed to modify Agile to your environment?). The last two projects we did that way came in under budget and only slipped the original schedule due to client-introduced requirement changes.

    One of the things we did was the 2-minute stand-up meeting (there were only 3 people for that project). Kept it focused to: What I did yesterday, what I will do today and what problems I'm having. When we had the weekly meetings, we usually found out about roadblocks a week after they happened. Now, the project manager found out things within 24 hours and could fix them quickly. "Yeah, the users aren't available for testing so they're going to put it off--" "I'll talk to [their manager] and get it fixed."

    So when I read all these skeptics and haters, I'm shocked. For those of us who used stand-up meetings, they are so much better than the old sit-down 1-hour meetings. Then I dug into the criticism and I think I know what's the problem: cargo cult management [gigaom.com]. That's where clueless managers follow the form without understanding the motivation or why it works. So the punishments, like singing and running a lap, makes my skin crawl. The agile manifesto explicitly says People over Process. Just a simple "You're late!" is sufficient. I've read other Agile horror stories on Slashdot over the last two years, and it seems like those shops followed the motions without understanding the why. One guy complained that he saw a bug but wasn't allowed to fix it because of some bullcrap like "You don't have the token to work on that". WTF? That's not Agile! If something's broken, anyone is allowed to jump in and fix it. But that shop seemed more interested in following the liturgy than actually being Agile. Remember the first rule of Agile:

    Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

    The Agile horror stories I'm hearing are teams choosing processes and tools over people.

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.

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