Data Driven Management 4 minute read

Why Daily Stand-ups are the worst and what to do about it

By Sheel Gupta

Most teams today will have a daily stand up. These are beneficial for many reasons. It keeps everyone on the same page, holds people accountable, gives managers a clear understanding of how everyone’s dividing their time and builds team camaraderie. 

Yet, in spite of these benefits, most people seem to not be a fan — including myself. After drawing on my own experiences and speaking to a bunch of other people who share my sentiment, I discovered these are the common reasons why people don’t love daily-stand ups.

1- The rambler

There is always that one very verbose person who doesn’t get the idea of speaking in bullet-points and the question of what are your priorities for the day turns into a long and drawn-out monologue. It slows everything down and it can be uncomfortable for the manager as they try to politely get them to wrap it up.

My solution would be to get some “wrap it up music” like they have at the Oscars for when they go on a little too long. Just kidding – that would be funny though. My actual solution is down below.

2- The glazed eyes

One of the benefits of stand-ups is so everyone is on the same page. I’ve observed, however, that often times, people seem to not listen to each other. Maybe the repetitiveness of it, maybe they feel that it doesn’t apply to them, or maybe they are just thinking about what they are going to say when it’s their turn.  Whatever the reason, seeing a lot of glazed eyes in a stand-up is not unusual

3- The sidebars

Stands-ups are supposed to be about concise updates and raising quick blockers. But more often than not, discussions creep in. When you have 10 people standing in a circle and 2 people start diving into a discussion, it takes a good 15 seconds before people start to get fidgety.

4- The late person

Some people are chronically late. When you have a 45 min meeting and someone is 3-4 min late, it’s not a huge deal as you are just getting started. With stand-ups, you get right into and if someone is late, they may miss some updates that apply to them or blockers that they could help with. And if they miss it, they miss it, and it’s because….

5- No logged history

No one takes notes at these things. I remember I tried to for a while. I took notes, typed them up and sent them to the team. Yet, I knew that no one reads them. In fact, I would have bet $1000 that no one read them – so I eventually stopped.

6- The huge team

Stand-ups are supposed to be quick. You say your priorities for the day, blockers you foresee, and anything else that may be relevant to the team.  When you have more than 8 people on the team, and you have to meet every day, it can get, well, super boring.

7- The remote team

This is probably the biggest challenge for stand-ups. When people are in different locations or are traveling, a simple stand-up turns into a challenge. You need to have a dial-in, hop into a room, send a calendar invite, etc. If you have teams in different time-zones then it’s really, really hard because the time is always going to be inopportune for some of the team. So either they are left out, or they have to call in at 11 pm at night.

And now, the solution:

Humble Dot! 🎉 🏆 💙

Now I know it’s a complete faux pas to write a blog post that ends with you selling your product. You are at least supposed to be subtle about it. But we built this product and are giving it away completely for free so I really don’t feel too bad.

The way Humble Dot works is everyone gets a link in their email or Slack. They take a minute to put in their update (priorities/blockers) and then everyone can see everyone’s answers in a clear, organized way. Then people can comment on each other’s answers and have their side-bars as needed without taking up everyone’s time.

Here ya go!

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