I've been saying this for a while, now I'm just gonna write it down:

Stand-ups suck. Treat them as a last-resort.

The classic stand-up: each day a group of people stand huddled in a circle chanting: "His Name is Robert Paulson... His Name is Robert Paulson... His Name..." - no wait that's not it...

They stand in a circle bored out of their skulls while each in turn says what they did yesterday and what they are going to do today. A couple of people sorta care what everyone says (usually project managers, or customer reps) everyone else is interested in what maybe one or two people say. No one can go into enough detail to really educate anyone. Everyone's glad when its over.

Sometimes people attend many of these per day (cross-team stand-ups anyone?). A few might even make it a significant chunk of their day & job descriptions; I think of these people as "Meeting Moths" - attracted to meetings like moths to the flame.



  1. Figure out who needs status and how often; GO AND GIVE IT TO THEM. It's a good bet they don't need to hear the minutiae of what code was written anyway & you're probably addressing that in existing stand-ups by making sure the programmers don't get too detailed killing any value they might've gotten from talking about what they are doing - dysfunctions beget dysfunctions...
  2. Those who are doing actual tasks should be free to talk about them when they need to. In my experience this part of the stand-up gets short shrift when its scheduled and attended by those not doing the work. GET THEM OUT OF THERE. If you do, you might just see spontaneous, short discussions start happening daily among task completors (that's a real stand-up btw, just don't call it that or you'll ruin it by attracting meeting moths)
  3. Move people next to each other who need to talk a lot. Conversely, if you already are around each other all day, you probably already know who did what and whose doing what (if not WORK ON COLLABORATING MORE)

If after you are doing all of these things, you still feel like you need a periodic daily meeting, then think for a while! Be creative! Don't just do what some book or consultant said to do, use your brain and solve the problem to everyone's benefit as best you can. Only then, if you still feel you need a stand-up, then fine; go ahead and schedule one for the things you still didn't address (but don't cover things already addressed!). The result is much more likely to be useful for everyone involved.

All periodic meetings including stand-ups evolve into wasteful time-sucks; They develop an inertia that supersedes whatever utility they initially might have had. Aggressively question their very existence; make the burden of proof be on keeping them, not ending them. Simpler still, kill em all and see what's not being done and then be creative on how to fix it.

Who knows you might just get away with one less meeting in your day.