Daily Syncs

On my teams we do a daily sync meeting.  It's 10 minutes max.  We go around the team with three questions:

  1. What did you get done?

  2. What are you getting done next?

  3. Where do you need help?

We stay out of details (that's for offline and follow-up).  It's a status meeting more on accomplishments and progress over reporting activities (lots of folks are doing lots of things, so it's crisper to focus on accomplishments.)  The more distributed the team, the more important the meeting.

Keys to Results

  • 10 minute Timebox.  The 10 minute bar is apparently a big factor in how folks view the meeting, based on feedback from folks that have been in longer meetings (1/2 hr or more).  The 10 minute max is key because it keeps a fast pace and energy high (vs. another meeting of blah, blah, blah.)  We can always finish earlier (in fact, one of my teams was regularly finishing the meeting in under 2 minutes for a 5 person team).

  • Daily.  Daily is important.  Having them daily, means everybody can structure their day consistently.  Daily means it's also easy to build a routine and reduce friction points.  It also means that team members have a reliable forum for getting help if needed.

The best pattern that has worked over time is ...

  • Mondays - we define the most important outcomes for the week (the few big things that matter, no laundry lists).  This is actually closer to a 1/2 hour (max) meeting.

  • Daily - we do a daily checkpoint meetings. (this is about execution, bottlenecks and awareness)

  • Fridays - we reflect on lessons learned and make any improvements to project practices.

Another way of thinking about this is ... "if this were the end of the week, what would you feel good about having completed?"  "Each day, are we getting closer or further, or do we need to readjust priorities or expectations?" ...  "What did we learn and what can we improve?"

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Comments (2)

  1. Corey says:

    One of the things we’ve learned in our daily standups is that enumerating work-in-process is far more efficient than enumerating headcount.  Which, of course, is characteristic of the difference between workflow-oriented Lean thinking vs. craft-oriented Agile thinking.

  2. Thanks J.D. This is a great tip for effective work.

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