The Art of the Stand-up Meeting

Here at The Control Group, we’re a busy crew. It’s rare that we ever have a slow day, and if we do, it’s planned in advance to allow us time to recoup from a massive sprint. Between designing, developing and split testing, we’re constantly on the move. This is why our Director of Project Management, Sean Shahrokhi plays such a key role in organizing us to accomplish our goals. While he’s brought a host of offerings to our ever-growing team, (read his Drafternoon recap here) one of our favorites was his suggestion to implement stand-up meetings.

Stand-up meetings? While in many traditional business settings, the term “standing meeting” has meaning as one that occurs on a regular basis, for us it’s a bit more literal. Stand-up meetings are meetings that take place while everyone is standing up—seriously.

While to some that may sound weird or to others like a brilliant way to help the circulation in our legs, there’s a far more logical reason for this unique tradition. Simply put, it saves time and makes us more efficient. In a recent article by Forbes Magazine, Deborah Sweeney wrote, “Stand-up meetings are part of a fast-moving tech culture in which sitting has become synonymous with sloth. The object is to eliminate long-winded confabs where participants pontificate, play Angry Birds on their cellphones or tune out.”

Think back to your last meeting sitting around the conference table in an air-conditioned room, comfortable chairs, enjoying a cup of coffee as you chatted about a project while mostly weaving in fun anecdotes about your weekend. The act of sitting invites us to take our time and be leisurely.

However, when we stand, we get straight to the point. Each day, we have what we call our scrum meetings. Each team has their own scrum meeting where the basic format involves each team member reporting what they worked on the previous day, what they plan to work on today, and any roadblocks they encountered. The Team Lead (aka Scrum Master) drives the process to ensure the meeting moves quickly and helps to move projects forward.

After the team meetings, there’s the SCRUM OF ALL SCRUMS! (Yes, that’s a real technical term). All the team leads come together to share what their teams worked on in the same format. This is how we assess what projects are high priority in order to assign the tasks to either our Sprint board or our Kanban board.

Don’t know what those are? We didn’t either until Sean arrived. Stay tuned for more posts on Sean’s project management system—it’s a lot to take in at once. We’re still learning from this scuba diving Jira master ourselves, and we can’t wait to share with you.


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