3 Questions of Effective Daily Meetings

61687402Are your daily meetings effective?

When you ask what people want from daily meetings, the answer is that they’d be short. Or Shorter.

These answers usually come from people who suffer from long meetings and many other meetings in general. They want to just get back to their work. However, focusing on the length of the daily meeting, is about efficiency, rather than effectiveness.

A certain way to make the meeting shorter is to start on time, and be prepared. Status should always be up-to-date on the board, especially before the  meeting starts. People who update the status during the meeting, waste the time of the entire team. Updating the board before the meeting shows good manners.

Short meetings are definitely better than long ones. But do they achieve their goal?

The goal of a daily meeting is…

…not to get a status report from everybody. That’s right, this is not a status meeting. And in most cases, I don’t care what you did since the last meeting. If you got something done, good for you. The board should show it.

Like a release planning meeting, or a sprint planning meeting, the daily meeting is a chance to re-plan. Gather all the know information we’ve collected since last time, and see:

  • Has something changed in priority? Maybe we should work on something else that is more important?
  • Is a task blocked? We should do something about it. Help the blocked person. Or put the whole item on hold.
  • Have we bitten off more than we chew? Maybe invest in more research, or do an experiment, instead of what we initially planned.
  • Is a task stuck in progress for too long? Maybe instead of neglecting it, take a decision to park it.
  • Are we on track? Maybe we should remove or add items to our backlog based on our pace.

Re-planning is making decisions based on the information we have, and the learning we did. In order to do this effectively we need all the current information at our disposal (that includes the updated board). Then we ask the questions, but not the ones that don’t add value.

Here are the real questions that we should answer in the daily meeting:

  1. What have I learned since the last meeting?
  2. What can we do with this information?
  3. How can I help?

Get the information, re-plan and execute.

That’s effective.