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Standup Points

I think daily standups are outdated and unnecessary” - the newly promoted engineering manager.

There is some truth to this statement, once you get past the hubris and naivete. They can be poorly run, dragging on with unengaging recitations of status. A pair of engineers can easily hijack a meeting of 8, potentially flushing several person hours down the toilet.

That said, quick group check ins are a cornerstone of collaborative work. Just as a football huddles before every play, software teams need to understand how their work affects others. Individually, coming prepared to stand up requires everyone to have a handle on their work for the day.

All that said, it’s perfectly reasonable to be flexible with format and regularity. It should be ok to, at random, run them asynchronously, and have folks just write a quick update in a Slack thread. Ask them to directly speak to anyone they need to coordinate with. Or better yet, randomly cancel, but follow up with folks who need to check in with each other.

Team dynamics tend to oscillate on a spectrum of too many meetings and not enough communication. Injecting some randomness into a team’s routine can keep them away from the painful extreme areas.


Published Mar 22, 2024

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