Why You Should Quit Praising Stand-Up Meetings - Less Meeting

Posted by | March 02, 2012 | Meeting Tips | No Comments

Is your computer running antivirus software? Chances are it is, and every morning when you start up your computer it downloads new antivirus definitions in order to protect against the latest viruses and spyware. This is know as signature-based detection.

There’s an interesting problem with this model though. You see, each time your antivirus software updates itself it’s only protecting your computer against known threats. If some malicious hacker created a unique new virus and loaded it onto your computer, your virus software would be helpless against it.

Antivirus software makers realized this. To combat this they’ve developed techniques to protect against these unknown threats, known as zero-day viruses. Instead of a reactive approach to protecting against viruses, these methods work by going at the source of viruses.

Stand-Up Meetings Are Great, But…
I’m guessing you’re asking what this has to do with stand-up meetings, right? Well, let’s first start by finding out a little more about stand-ups.

There’s been an increasing amount of press lately about stand-up meetings. If your team isn’t having stand-ups it seems you’re in the meeting dark ages.

And this press is well warranted; stand-up meeting are great and if you haven’t tried running stand-ups you really need to. Why?

  • They are short, so you can spend more time actually getting work done
  • They keep the meeting focused & on topic
  • They eliminate distractions like phones and computers
  • They prevent people from getting on their soapboxes

In short, they’re a perfect way to quickly and effectively figure out what your team’s current status is.

3 Ways to Meet Instead of a Stand-Up

Ok, time to revisit your antivirus software. The signature-based detection method is a great and you’d be mistaken not to take advantage of it. BUT, it’s just a treatment – and so are stand-up meetings. Stand-up meetings are fantastic ways to run meetings but they’re not the end solution to make all meetings better. Are you really going to run your hour long brainstorming session as a stand-up?

To be clear, keep having your stand-up meetings, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this will magically fix all of your bad meetings. Instead, start doing these 3 things too and you’ll start having better meetings, (even if you’re not standing up!).

1. Plan Your Meeting Beforehand
The easiest way to make your meeting better is to plan it right. Create an agenda and send it out ahead of time. Keep the attendee list small & invite only the necessary people. And don’t be afraid to decline if you don’t think you need to be there.

2. Run Your Meeting with Focus
Start and stop your meeting on time, following the agenda you created. If you see the conversation getting of track, use the parking lot.

3. Don’t Forget to Follow Up After the Meeting

The meeting doesn’t end when everyone leaves. Take time to send out minutes to everyone (even those who couldn’t make it) and follow up on action items until they’re complete.

Stand-up meetings offer a lot of great benefits. Remember, though, that if you really want to fix your meetings there’s a lot more you can be doing to address the source of your meeting problems.

image: improveit