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2.9 Stand-Up Meetings: Keeping Business Meetings Short and Sweet (Obj. 2)

Here is an idea to shorten tedious meetings: Ban sitting down! A growing number of tech companies hold mandatory morning meetings where non work chatter is frowned upon and all participants must stand. Called “the huddle” in one company and “a daily scrum” in another firm, these regular stand-up meetings last no longer than 15 minutes. At one company if someone starts rambling, an employee holds up a rubber rat. A Microsoft development team determines the next speaker by tossing around a rubber chicken called Ralph. Other gimmicks include passing around a 10-pound medicine ball to literally keep the meeting moving. At one company, latecomers must pay a small fine, run a lap around the office building, or sing a nursery rhyme such as “I’m a Little Teapot.” Other methods to speed up the proceedings include holding meetings just before lunch or gathering in cold stairwells.

The idea of stand-up meetings is spreading in the wake of Agile, a method in software development that involves compressing lengthy projects into short segments. This approach also includes speedy daily updates of colleagues about three things: what was accomplished since the previous meeting, what will be done today, and what stands in the way of finishing the job. It turns out that the practice of holding meetings standing up dates back to some military commanders in World War I. A researcher who conducted a study of stand-up meetings found that they were about a third shorter than sit-down meetings while the quality of decision making did not suffer at all. A recent survey of more than 6,000 global tech workers found that 78 percent held daily stand-up meetings



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