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I wrote my first program in Z80A when I was 14 on a ZX Spectrum and ever since I have been hooked. I love writing code of any flavour as well as being passionate about the coding process. I have worked professionally in the software industry for the last 15 years using Microsoft Technologies, and I code at night in PHP, HTML, Javascript and CSS. Chris is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 34 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Agile Decompiled: Stand-up Meetings

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Stand-up meetings are one of the agile practices that a lot of people coming to agile for the first time have a problem with. I know I did and still have to a certain extent. The idea behind the stand-up meeting being that if you are standing up then the meeting will be shorter.

In my experience however it does not matter if you are standing or sitting, a meeting can still be prolonged no matter what your vertical position is.

Having a daily morning meeting, in my opinion, does help communication. Some agile purists would say that it also promotes team building and team autonomy. I think most people would agree that long meetings with many people tend to be counter productive, so keeping a meeting on track benefits everyone.

In some shops, when the stand-up meeting is in progress the participants pass an object around to say who should speak next. This type of activity can also seem strange to those not participating in the meeting, or those who are new to agile type practices.

But let us digress for a moment and take a quick peek at a couple of ways in which a meeting can become long and irrelevant.

1.Topics discussed which are not relevant.

When people are in a meeting and topics are being discussed which are not relevant to them then the meeting sticks in the mind as being a waste of time.

2.Unnecessary details discussed in the meeting.

There are times when one or two of the participants may delve deep into a particular topic in such a way which is relevant only to the participants. Other people on the outside of the discussion tune out and again see the meeting as a waste of time.

I think most people agree that these kind of meetings waste time for all the participants.

Now Stand-up meetings have proponents and opponents, but at the end of the day they are just one way of ensuring close collaboration and communication between team members.

And just like in Steve Krug’s book Don’t Make Me Think, communication should be something which allows you to think about solving problems and not cause more problems.

In the end as long as the meetings you have are clear and focused and relevant to all parties then, for me, it doesn’t really matter if you are standing up or sitting down.

Published at DZone with permission of Chris Odell, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Prabhat Jha replied on Sun, 2014/06/08 - 1:00pm

IMHO you should not have this meeting as "first thing" after entering office, instead team should  have sometime before they get into so as to recollect what is their goal for today and previous day accomplishments. It is also the responsibility of Scrum Master to ensure that meeting is well organized and is not deviated from its main goal. If we follow basics doesn't matter if we are seated or standing.

Chris Odell replied on Mon, 2014/06/09 - 3:12am in response to: Prabhat Jha

I agree, an interesting article I found on <a href="">Martin Fowler</a> suggested carrying out the meeting where you actually do the work to help with recollection of what you have done as you have mentioned above. 

Prabhat Jha replied on Mon, 2014/06/09 - 12:30pm in response to: Chris Odell

Thanks Chris, brilliant link indeed!!!

Robert Mead replied on Wed, 2014/06/11 - 4:07pm

Agreed, the meeting is about more than standing up. Yet, there is more to standing up at a meeting than just keeping it short. There some published studies that suggest people in groups tend to bond when they are performing the same actions, and when they share information.

Strangers in sync: Achieving embodied rapport through shared
movements, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48 (2012) 399-402,

Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk, Barbara L. Fredrickson

 Do birds of a feather move together? Group membership
and behavioral synchrony, Experimental Brain Research (2011) 211:495-503,
Lynden K. Miles, Joan Lumsden, et al.


Chris Odell replied on Thu, 2014/06/12 - 10:59am in response to: Robert Mead

Thanks for sharing the idea that maybe the team bonds better if they are all standing up. Maybe there is a greater feeling of equality as no one person is standing at a board or is having the attention soley focused on them. I have noticed that at the standup meetings I have attended people are more likely to stand in a circle or crowd rather than having someone lead the meeting by sitting at the head of a table in a meeting room for example.

I shall take a look at the books you mention above, they sound interesting.

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