June 17, 2023

What is the purpose of daily stand-up meetings?

Sup Bot Team

'Meeting cancelled.' That's two golden words that any corporate employee is eager to listen to on any given day. And if it's a standup meeting, the one question that’ll run through their minds is, 'Why standup meetings?'

And if you happen to be a manager, you must know the answer to these questions. Not like answers to a test but more like clarity about why you are doing what you are doing. So, let's first answer the question, 'What does a standup meeting mean?'

The concept of daily stand-up meetings

So, let's say someone asks you, 'What does a standup meeting mean, Brian?' How would you answer this question?

You could start with the numerous terminologies used to refer to these meetings. So, stand-up meetings are also called daily stand-ups or daily scrums.

'What reason for such terminology?' Well, standup meetings are called so because traditionally they are required to be conducted while standing. You may be asked, 'But, why?' - In order to keep the meetings short and focused.

'How short are these meetings really, Brian?' - They can last up to 15 minutes.

'Woah, if they are this short, what really gets done during these meetings?' - That's the thing about stand-up meetings. There are only three things discussed during this meeting:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. Are there any blockers to progress?

'What if there are things to be discussed that can cross the 15-minute mark?' - Anything that needs a discussion apart from the above questions can be taken after the stand-up in a separate meeting. The standup meetings are meant to be focused only on the above questions.

'How often are these meetings held, by the way?' - As I mentioned before, these meetings are called daily standups and daily scrums. So, these are actually held daily at the same location and at the same time, usually at the start of the workday.

'Standing for 15 minutes sounds about okay, but what if we want to shorten the time further and, um, not want to stand?' Well, there's Sup Bot for that.

'What's Sup Bot?' Sup Bot is a standup bot for Slack and Microsoft Teams. It can conduct asynchronous standups on the company messaging platform in a text-based format. It automates the process to make it smooth. So, you neither have to stand to answer the three questions nor spend more than a minute responding to them. Gets the standups done in a jiffy.

'That sounds cool, Brian. But why have them in the first place, you know? It's not like we weren't functioning well without these stand-ups.' - Valid question. Here you go.

Problems solved by daily stand-up meetings

There are multiple variations to the question, 'Why standup meetings?' For example, 'How does it benefit us?' Or, 'What problems get solved by daily stand-up meetings?'

Your asker will be more satisfied if you break down the purpose of standup meetings into the numerous problems they solve. This will give them clarity on the need for standup meetings in the first place. So, here we go.

1. Lack of communication

Nothing can take place without communication. And this is especially true if you are working with a team. Standup meetings come in to fill the lack of communication by making sharing updates, plans for the present day, and the roadblocks faced during progress central elements of the meetings.

It is made possible by asking your team three questions.

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What will you do today?
  • Are there any blockers to progress?

All three questions communicate to the team what everyone is doing so that everyone is on the same page. But when you are focused on what you are doing and want to get started with your day, how often do you pay attention to what your team members are saying during the meeting?

Hardly ever, right?

Here's the solution:

Sup makes it easier for you by making these standup meetings asynchronous and sharing everyone’s response in the common channel or group.

This means that you do not have to attend the meetings in real time and are still able to get updates from your team.

2. Lack of transparency

Ambiguity about what your team members are working on and how they are progressing can make it challenging to work as a team. This also makes setting timelines for goals difficult. Such a lack of transparency makes everything uncertain, making it tough to proceed.

Daily stand-ups fix this by ensuring that your team members regularly report on what they will be working on in the present day. Such clarity helps build a smoother road towards progress.

There are times when you would want to review these responses. It may be easier to do that for the present day, but what if you want to do that for an entire month? Nobody really notes down the responses during the meeting. So, how do you keep track of all the data?

Here's the solution:

Sup lets you integrate it with Google Sheets and generate a monthly report of all stand-up response submissions.

And what if you require a report only for a specific period of days? You can do that by simply going to the follow-up, hitting the ‘generate report’ button, and generating one for the required members yourself by mentioning the definite period of time, as shown below.

Just hit the 'generate report' button, and you will be able to view a sheet with all the responses for that period, as can be seen below.

3. Lack of collaboration

Let's go back to the question, 'How often are these meetings held, by the way?' The answer was - daily, right? What if there was a follow-up question from someone, 'But why are they held daily?'

The answer is to eliminate the lack of collaboration. This is because when team members get together on a regular basis, they get an understanding of what everyone is doing and the obstacles they are facing. This understanding can help identify opportunities for collaboration and work on solutions after the stand-up meeting.

Now, these standup meetings are held daily but at the same location and time, usually at the start of the workday. It is likely that a certain team member isn’t able to attend it. What do you do then?

Here's the solution:

Text-based asynchronous stand-ups from Sup automate the entire process, enabling you to send your responses from anywhere at the convenience of your phone.

4. Lack of accountability

As mentioned above, the stand-up meetings are held daily. This daily cadence serves another major purpose. When your team members know they have to report their progress daily to their team, it makes them feel responsible for their work. So, you do not experience any lack of accountability from the team.

But tracking who reports regularly can become another major task.

Here's the solution:

Sup also lets you view insights to check who responds to the asynchronous standups regularly, as shown below.

You can check stats for the current week, the past week, and even the past month.

You can also check who has not submitted their response by viewing the Slack daily follow-up summary, as shown below.

As you can see, Sup also tags the pending member who has not yet responded to the daily stand-up questions.

5. Lack of clarity and low productivity

Standup meetings help your team members identify the priorities for the day. This helps them to be focused on their tasks and have clarity about how they are going to use it to achieve their goals.

The fact that standups can last up to 15 minutes helps the team members focus their time and energy on their work. This significantly reduces the time wasted in meetings and makes them more productive.

What if you want to further reduce the time spent in standup meetings?

Here's the solution:

Simply automate the entire process and use Sup to make your stand-ups more time-efficient by making them asynchronous.

6. Lack of motivation

The usual process of daily stand-ups requires your team members to first share what they accomplished on the last day. This gives them a sense of achievement that can act as motivation to accomplish the tasks for the current day.

It is also possible that your team members report the same accomplishments during the stand-ups daily. This is because they are working on the same task for a consecutive number of days. Having to share the same thing repeatedly may seem insignificant and irritating to the team member.

Here's the solution:

With Sup, you can say goodbye to having to share the same thing again and again daily.

This is because Sup lets you add the response you shared the day before by simply hitting the ‘Use previous response’ button, as shown above. By doing this, the team member can quickly wrap up answering the stand-up and focus on the task at hand.

To summarize

There is not a single purpose that standup meetings serve, but multiple of them. There is so much it fills that you will not want to go ahead without including a daily standup on your list of mandatory meetings. And for all your standup meeting woes, you have Sup by your side to tag along. So, what are you waiting for? Get SUP-ping with standups today!

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