By Florian Lefebvre
Holding a daily meeting early in the morning is often considered one of the first steps of “becoming Agile.” You get your team together, and everyone says what they’ve done the day before, what they plan on doing today, and mention any issue they might have faced.
The problem is that, more often than not, when you get to it the magic just isn’t there. You find yourself with a group of people standing up together and talking aimlessly. You might even start being mad at them for not having things happen the way you see them in your head.
Here are simple questions to ask yourself to help you improve your daily meeting.
Why do you have a daily meeting?
When you set up this practice in your company, you might know precisely what you’re expecting to get out of it. Or you might have heard that it is a great practice, that it will help make your company more Agile.
You might want to try to use this daily meeting as a way for everyone on a team to synchronize, make sure the project is on track, and have an opportunity to help each other.
Now, whatever your reason is, you need to have one. If you can’t find one good reason for taking people’s time every day, you shouldn’t feel ashamed to simply put an end to it.
Is it a ritual?
The best way to anchor a daily practice in everyone’s mind is to make sure everything happens in the same setting every time. You want to make it a habit for people to be there daily.
Do you have the right space for holding your meeting? You need a place where you can fit your whole group. If the location you choose, may it be behind a desk or in a dedicated room, can’t hold your entire group at the same time, then you might have to rethink your choice.
Have the meeting happen every day at the same time. Your daily meeting should be a ritual, which means starting right on time, but also being timeboxed. It should never last longer than the maximum amount of time allocated to it. A maximum of fifteen minutes usually prevents from becoming a full-on meeting.
Do you have visual aids?
Talking as a group about what is going on with the project is great. But it might be hard to keep every task’s current status in mind. What is being worked on? Is this feature completed? Have we fixed this production issue?
One way to help get everyone on the same page is to have a visual aid. It might be a wall with post-it notes holding everyone’s tasks, or a Trello board on a screen. Maybe it’s your internal ticketing system or even a list on a whiteboard.
Whatever you choose to use, adding a visual component to your meeting can help make the various discussions more concrete in people’s minds.
What are people working for?
People will feel more invested in their daily meeting, and the project in general, if they feel they have a reason to. Yes, they are paid, that’s why they’re there and why they do the work.
But being invested is more than that. It’s about finding meaning in your work, knowing that you give a part of yourself for something. People must have a goal that they can get behind.
If your team members really are trying to accomplish something, they will use the daily meeting as a tool to reach that goal.
Do they work together?
It might seem like a weird question, but if you put people together and have them talk about what they’re working on, they better be sharing work at some point.
It’s not enough that they are in the same team or company. If they work on different projects that have nothing in common, then they aren’t really working together.
If you’re in this situation, you have one of two choices. Either you have people work together more, or you split your meeting in two or more meetings.The Power of TeamworkThe benefits of being an actual team for you and your companymedium.com
Do people know what is expected of them?
Going back to the first point, where you have this perfect vision of a meeting in your head. Have you shared that vision with your team members?
For people to participate and do well in their roles, they need to understand the role. What are they supposed to share? When are they suppose to intervene during other people’s speeches? What liberties do they have? What are the do’s and don’ts of the meeting?
Make sure the rules are clear for everyone so that people can be at their best.
Have you asked others for their opinions?
You have a vision for what this daily ritual should be like. Whether it happens how you want it to or not, remember that you are working with human beings.
People participate in this meeting every day. That makes it their meeting too. How do they like it? What issues can they see? What would they change to make it better? Having people share ownership of the meeting by being allowed to make it better will definitely make them more invested. It will matter to them on a whole different level.
Feel free to experiment
Rome wasn’t built in one day. The right recipe for your daily meeting won’t be found in one day either. You have to allow yourself and your team to experiment. Make sure you’re honest about how things go, what works, and what doesn’t. Only through regular improvement will you find what works for you and your team.