Management & Organization

How to get started with stand-up meetings meetings

Whether you call them stand-up meetings, war rooms, productivity meetings, planning meetings or something entirely different, the method of using a shared white board (physical or digital) to give you a perspective on what your team is doing, is invaluable to a lot of teams.

If you aren't already using stand-up meetings in your company, you might be thinking: “Oh no, not another meeting!” But when stand-up meetings work, you avoid several of the other meetings, because you know who does what and when.

But stand-up meetings are not automatically amazing. Because, as with a lot of other things, you have to do it the right way.

A broad perspective increases productivity

Basically, stand-up meetings gather relevant employees and managers around a board (for instance a white or a blackboard), where work assignments, goals and actions are listed. This complete view means that every employee and manager easily gains a knowledge of what everyone is doing and they are therefore better suited at delegating assignments or act if an employee is too busy or if a goal isn't reached.

In lots of companies the shared knowledge means a considerable rise in productivity and a higher quality in assignment solving. Some use stand-up meetings for sharing knowledge of solutions to complicated issues. Others use stand-up meetings to keep an eye on how long customers wait until a technician shows up, how long the wait is in the phone cue to customer service or if the financial department pays the bills on time.

Kom godt i gang med tavlemøder

  • Start small.
    Break your value chain or strategy down to the most important goals

  • Be patient and consistent.
    It takes time to come up with the right measuring points. But stick to your setup and meeting cadence.

  • Remember the long perspective.
    Make sure that you step away from the continuous meetings and evaluate whether or not the right things are measured. Remember the milestones for the next 12 to 18 months.

  • Take and share ownership.
    Top management needs to be on board. The ownership of the process can very well lie elsewhere. The important thing is that there is support from above.


Source: Monday Morning. Navigation 16

Adapt the board to your needs

Stand-up meetings can take on many different shapes, because the content, purpose, etc. must be adapted to the company they are used in. That's why it's impossible to create a conclusive template for how to conduct your own stand-up meetings. However, you can say that, generally, it's a good idea to begin with a simple model and then add more complexity as you adapt to the stand-up meetings along the way.

Stand-up meetings could for instance be one of these four types:

  • Planning meeting. On a planning meeting you agree on which activities you want to focus on during the next time period. Especially within the area of manufacturing you will often see planning meetings, but administrating departments are also embracing this kind of productivity meeting.

  • Goal management meeting. Here the management team or department meet around a board with key numbers. The goal management board contains an amount of key numbers for a specific area and focus is especially on the red numbers: Where goals haven't been met.

  • Preparation meeting. In Lean terminology this is called Kaizen and its focus is on continual improvement. Initiated improvements are followed up on and new ones are planned. The activities often come from goal management meetings where the needs for improvement are identified or from an employee’s suggestions.

  • Problem solving meeting. This type of meeting is often used for following up on problems in the company’s operation or administration. This could be done with the help of a planning board that shows which assignments or orders haven't been carried out as planned, and identifies the problems that caused this (a problem solving meeting is often conducted as a part of a planning or a preparation meeting).

As you may know, the elements of stand-up meetings are closely related to Lean. This type of meeting can however easily be carried out without implementing the complete Lean-machinery.

You can generally divide your board into these areas:

  1. Incoming suggestions

  2. Current assignments

  3. Completed assignments

  4. Prioritization

  5. Status on goals

But remember to adapt to the assignments you are working on and their workflow.

The 10 commandments of stand-up meetings

  1. At least on person from top management and relevant mangers are present.

  2. The door is locked at 9am.

  3. All boards are owned by one person.

  4. You are interested in the entire business and provide inputs.

  5. Focus on how we are able to help each other – also across business areas.

  6. During the meeting you are not allowed to read emails on cell plone or tablet.

  7. Goal numbers are written on the board: Above goal = green. Below goal = red.

  8. When you present the board, you know the background of every number, and you focus mainly on the red numbers.

  9. You briefly and precisely explain what you want to do about the red numbers.

  10. You always follow up on your actions.

Source: SE (via Monday Morning: Navigation no. 16)