10/02/2014 10:09 am ET Updated Dec 02, 2014

What's a Stand-Up Meeting and Why Is It Beneficial?

TheSquareFoot is a small and active team of hustling entrepreneurs, it's not always easy to keep track of what projects everyone else is working on. Our roles are all so different! Especially as a small team each trying to hit a number of targets and each wearing a never-ending closet of hats, each employee has to bring a unique set of skills to the group. Projects and to-do lists and work-streams are constantly overlapping and intertwining, but our individual skill-sets are extremely different. Stand-ups for a team like ours, a team made up of developers and designers and marketers and brokers and leaders, are focused more on company-wide goals. We each bring up projects that may be particularly interesting to the group or that we could use help with, but generally try to steer clear of listing out our tasks for the day or week.

What We're Trying to Accomplish

Stand-ups are meant to loosely give everyone else an idea of what we've all accomplished recently, while also outlining our plans and goals until the next stand-up. The idea is to have some degree of holding each other accountable, discovering tasks we can help each other with, and having a general idea of the company goals and direction from week to week, or day to day.

Some of the benefits of starting the day or week with a stand-up meeting include:

  • Refreshing, reminding, and verbalizing our goals
  • Reinforcing focus on the most important tasks
  • Reinforcing a sense of team, and support
  • Communicating our accomplishments and struggles with the group
  • Routine Routine Routine
  • An effective stand-up has structure. We have a stand-up lead, who energizes the group, even the not-so-enthusiastic (read: non-morning-people) team members. We also stick to a fairly strict guideline to each meeting, although no two meetings are the same.

Here are some constants:

  • Who attends: Everyone. A stand-up is for ALL team members. That means if someone is traveling, they attend the meeting via phone, email, IM, face-time, etc. They are present, and their input is heard by the group.
  • What do we talk about: We share company-wide project updates, accomplishments or struggles, and milestones or deadlines we are trying to hit.
  • Where and when: For our team, it's Monday mornings at 9:30. Standing (obviously) in a circle-like shape in our open-layout office.
  • Engagement: GET PUMPED, because IT'S MONDAY MORNING!

Although we may not be the typical, fully-technical team, we've found that stand-up meetings are really useful. They're engaging, and help each employee think through their individual upcoming tasks for the week. Although we stay away from sharing our personal laundry list of tasks, these meetings help keep a sense of transparency between groups and allow everyone to know the projects each team is focused on. Stand-ups promote healthy discussion around company goals, collaboration, and a refreshing way to shift our focus back to work after the weekend.

This post originally appeared on TheSquareFoot Blog