Remote Work Glossary

What is a stand-up meeting

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    A stand-up meeting is a short meeting where team members share status updates on their work.

    It’s called a ‘stand-up’ meeting because, originally, team members would stand up for the duration of the meeting. The purpose was to encourage attendees to keep the meetings concise, as standing can get tiring quickly. Today, most teams don’t require attendees to physically stand during stand-up meetings.

    In agile software companies, stand-up meetings are also referred to as daily scrum meetings.

    What’s the purpose of a stand-up meeting?

    Stand-up meetings were designed as a fast and efficient way to keep entire teams informed on what their team members were doing. This type of meeting is especially impactful for agile teams or team members who don’t have high visibility of what their colleagues are working on throughout the day but benefit from knowing their status.

    How long do stand-up meetings last?

    There’s no formal rule for how long a stand-up meeting should last, but they’re usually no longer than 15 minutes. These meetings focus on status sharing and don’t involve other tasks such as company announcements or morning roll-call, which can be a waste of time.

    Stand-up meetings always occur at the same time on the same day(s). Some teams have stand-up meetings every single morning of the work week, while others hold them every other day or once a week. Base your meeting schedule on your team’s availability, communication style, and deliverables.

    What’s the difference between a meeting and a stand-up meeting?

    While a stand-up is a type of meeting, not all meetings are stand-ups. A typical meeting can take place anywhere, for any length of time, and cover various topics. A stand-up meeting, on the other hand, usually occurs while the participants are standing and focuses on efficiently sharing status updates in 15 minutes or less.

    How to conduct effective stand-up meetings

    Stand-up meetings follow a simple meeting agenda that can be applied to in-person team meetings or video conferences with a distributed team.

    1. Before you begin, designate a meeting facilitator who will host every stand-up meeting. Identify a backup meeting leader if the original facilitator can’t attend a daily stand-up meeting

    2. Select the time and day you’ll hold your meeting. Stand-up meetings should take place at the same time on the work day(s) of your choosing. Ask your team what time and day(s) they prefer and reach a general consensus—if you’re on a remote team, consider how the selected time will impact employees in different time zones

    3. Stand-up meetings are open for everyone, not just leadership or key stakeholders. During your status meetinghave team members take turns sharing updates, round-robin style. Each employee should answer three questions:

    • What did you accomplish yesterday?

    • What will you accomplish today?

    • What blockers or impediments do you need help with?

    1. Share action items that employees need to complete before the next meeting and identify how they can help team members facing roadblocks

    2. Log meeting notes in a collaborative document the entire team can access. Employees who miss a meeting can check the document to see what was covered. Make a note of any topics that require further discussion as well as specific items to check in on before the next meeting

    Best practices for conducting a stand-up meeting

    Follow these tips to help your stand-up meetings pack the most impact in the shortest amount of time:

    Don’t postpone your meeting: Ideally, your whole team would attend every daily stand-up meeting, but that’s not always possible. You should not postpone stand-up meetings if an employee cannot attend. Instead, proceed as usual and encourage the employee to review the meeting notes and follow up with questions as needed

    Stick to a structure: Ensure efficiency by creating a standard meeting template for every meeting. Share it with your employees so they know what to expect (especially if stand-up meetings are new to your team)

    Set a time limit: Choose your ideal length for your stand-up meeting and emphasize the importance of sticking to that time limit to employees. Some teams have a designated timekeeper to help keep the team on track

    Stop unnecessary discussions: Don’t let the team veer off course or waste time discussing a status update beyond the allotted time. The meeting leader should put a gentle stop to the conversation and have employees book another meeting to discuss the topic or invite anyone interested to stick around after the stand-up call to continue the conversation

    Keep it small: Stand-up meetings work best for small teams and get more complex as companies scale. Eventually, you may need to divide your team into smaller groups (such as by department or location) to conduct effective stand-up meetings

    Can remote teams hold stand-up meetings?

    Yes, remote teams can have stand-up meetings. Even though you’re not standing together in person, the focus on efficiency remains the same.

    Gather remote employees on a video conferencing app such as Zoom or start a huddle on Slack to conduct the meeting. Remote team members can also conduct asynchronous stand-up meetings by documenting their status updates on a collaborative platform like Notion. Read our Ultimate Guide to Virtual Meetings to learn more.

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