You might be doing Stand-ups Wrong

TL;DR Focus on the present, not the past.

Stand-ups are everywhere these days, from small startups to giant corporations. Everyone does them differently, but generally team members start their day by spending a few minutes talking about what they’re working on. These stand-ups often miss the mark with people focusing on what they did. And a lot of tools are following suit: Hello, Weekdone and I Done This.

The key part there is the past tense did and done. It's useful for evaluating performance, increasing transparency, giving kudos, etc. Those are good things, but once a task is done and in the past, it's too late. There's nothing anyone can do to affect its outcome.

daily standup By Klean Denmark (Daily Sprint Meeting) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Stand-ups are not meant to be status updates for managers. They are meant to reduce problems and increase collaboration. Instead of what people have done they should emphasize and expose what everyone is trying to achieve today. Once everyone knows what everyone is trying to do today, a lot of cool things start to happen. Everyone has the opportunity to affect the outcome of each other's aims.

A developer who previously worked on the mobile site can go give advice and assistance to a colleague who is working on a media query bug. A marketer who is interested in the potential Slack partnership now has the opportunity to stay informed and contribute to it. A designer that is blocking the release of the new pricing page now has notice and time to get out of the way.

Collaboration increases. Blockers decrease. Just having the opportunity to make an impact and the knowledge of what is going on around the company increases everyone's sense of ownership.

I've seen this kind of collaboration and its fantastic benefits first hand. At TakeAim we strongly believe in this value proposition. We keep the focus on daily aims and directing team members to where they can make the biggest impact.

TakeAim is free for teams of 5 or less and only $30/month for larger teams. See how only a minute or two each morning can improve your stand-ups by saving you time and avoiding costly blockers and delays.