Shake up Your Stand-up
Standups are a cornerstone of Agile project management. As a Project Manager, conducting stand-ups provides a daily communication touch point with your team that allows you to build rapport while gaining a deeper understanding of each individual team member. However, after you have worked with your team for a while and established a good sprint cadence and team dynamic, the standup may lose its flare and, in some cases, its necessity.
If your stand-ups are getting stale, try a few of these tricks to freshen your stand-ups:
- Have a Standup or Two Via Slack. Post-Covid, we are inundated with virtual meetings. While the daily stand-up is meant to align all team members and get the day started with a common goal in mind, that 15 minutes may slow your team down if they are in the zone and want to complete a task. Try having the team write their updates at the start of their day and share them in a slack group chat. Chime in to help remove blockers as needed. Pro tip: Send out a template with the questions and ask for the responses by a certain time daily.
- Reduce Frequency. If team members are working on higher pointed tasks with multiple components, there may not be a daily update. Depending on the end of your sprint, try incorporating a no standup Friday.
- Celebrate Wins. While the “What did I do yesterday? What will I do today? What blockers are impacting me?” format is riveting, it may get a bit monotonous. Incorporate some time to celebrate wins during the standup. Pro tip: Name someone King/Queen of developers for a day when they complete a complex feature.
- Incorporate Team Feedback. A team member may want to pass along some nuggets of wisdom they acquired from working on a feature, another team member might want to share a helpful article or tutorial. Again, to keep to the true nature of the standup, it needs to be concise and contribute to the completion of tasks and the betterment of the team’s performance. Sharing knowledge helps attain both of those goals.
- Stand-up and Move. If you are working on-site and can meet with your team in person, have a walking stand-up. Walk with the team to get coffee or around the courtyard at your office space. If walking won’t work, get a stress ball, and pass it around as the team is talking through updates. Movement will help get everyone’s energy flowing and help the momentum for the day.
- Finish with a Bang. You could equate the standup for a project team to a huddle before a basketball or football game. It sets the tone for what you are about to accomplish for the day. End the standup with a team chant, special handshake, or a theme song. “Eye of the Tiger” comes to mind. Try whatever gets the people going and sets the day on a positive and motivational tone.
Every person is different, and teams are made of people, so tailor these tips to your team. If you don’t see something that will work for your team, consider this a challenge to motivate you to develop more ideas of how you can shake up your stand-up.