Communication 101

How To Run a Stand-Up Meeting as a Product Manager

September 2, 2022
5 min read

When executed effectively, stand-up meetings can significantly benefit your team and organization as a whole. They can lead to better collaboration, improved efficiency, enhanced problem-solving, and help participants stay focused on the agenda. They can also help team members retain essential information related to organizational goals, action items, and strategies.

Stand-ups are perfect for keeping remote employees on the same page, though they work well in physical conference rooms as well. We all know how work meetings can quickly go off the rails and run overtime, hindering everyone’s schedule for the rest of the day. Stand-ups save time and eliminate the need for pointless meetings that can be handled over email.

Below, Poised explains these types of meetings in more detail and provides practical tips for conducting them effectively.

What Is a Stand-Up Meeting?

Agile teams have used stand-up meetings for many years, but many types of businesses and groups are beginning to adopt the practice and reap the benefits. Essentially, these meetings are held regularly, often daily, and enable team members to update the rest of the team on their work status. Attendees typically stand during these meetings to discourage a lengthy discussion.

The stand-up meeting is ideal for companies that schedule multiple meetings a day. It’s also known as the daily scrum meeting, daily huddle, status meeting, or morning roll-call. Because they’re usually conducted between five and 15 minutes at the start of the day, stand-up meetings provide an excellent format for remote workers. They are sometimes held with a specific team but can involve participants from various departments. 

Typically, companies conduct a stand-up meeting to help employees prioritize their daily goals, address challenges, and boost collaboration. All participants speak in turn and explain what they accomplished the day before, what their daily goals are, and if there are any impediments in their way.

How Do You Run a Stand-Up Meeting as a Product Manager?

Stand-up meetings might sound simple enough in concept, but there are many strategies to consider and mistakes to avoid if you hope to get the most out of these short meetings. 

Yes, the priority is to provide a platform for employees to discuss what they’re working on, but you must determine how you can optimize the time you have to improve communication, collaboration, and productivity.

For example, be sure to gauge your team's energy leading up to the meeting. If you sense a lack of motivation, you can begin the meeting with a short warm-up of fun exercises or stretching to help employees hone in on the tasks at hand.

Keep in mind that remote development teams may lack synergy, and a team-building activity could be just what they need to get going and start the working day off strong.

Here are eight other tips for conducting an effective stand-up meeting:

1. Book Your Meetings at the Same Time Each Week

First, schedule your team meetings at a recurring time each week or day, depending on how frequently you run them. Your team members must be able to plan around your meetings so they don’t miss them and can stay focused during the gatherings. 

The biggest challenge is finding a time when the whole team is available, especially when working with a remote team. Most companies try to schedule daily stand-up meetings first thing in the morning, but you might need to plan yours for a later time if you have people working in different time zones.

Having meetings at the same time each day or week gives employees a reliable framework they can quickly get used to. Over time, the time slot for daily stand-up meetings will become second nature.

While it’s essential to have a consistent time for your stand-up meetings, don’t be afraid to mix up the structure. Establishing the same routine every day is likely to bore your employees. Keep everyone engaged by throwing in rewards for specific achievements and changing the order in which participants speak.

Shaking up the structure can keep everyone on their toes, boosting interest, attention, and productivity. For instance, two popular methodologies to share updates include “Round Robin” and “Walking the Board.”

2. Encourage Active Listening While Others Talk

Active listening is an essential skill to learn as a business leader or employee. If your team can grasp the value of showing interest in what others are saying, your stand-up meetings will reach heights

For example, focus on your nonverbal communication, especially backchanneling. This practice proves to speakers that they have your attention; it involves head nods or responses like “right,“ “okay,“ or “uh-huh.” It can also help to paraphrase the speaker's message, which demonstrates your attention while also helping you retain the key points of the status update.

Another way to actively listen at your daily stand-up meetings is to ask open-ended questions after the speaker finishes their presentation. These questions include anything that requires the speaker to elaborate on their feelings, beliefs, or ideas (avoid asking “yes” or “no” questions). 

Further, don’t hesitate to verbally affirm participants after they’ve spoken. The ultimate goal is to encourage team members without interrupting them. If you do have a more elaborate question in a video conference, use the “raise hand” feature on Zoom or similar platforms.

3. Keep Your Meetings Short and Sweet

According to experts, a daily stand-up meeting should never last longer than 15 minutes. One short meeting a day could help avoid dozens of Slack messages where one person needs to connect with the next person, creating a daisy chain of check-ins, which are typically a waste of time. 

Maximizing workflow is key to maximizing profits. Even small companies can lose big from poor communication habits. This common mistake costs small businesses over $420,000 a year.

During a stand-up meeting, each team member should be prepared to give an update within one minute. The total duration of the meeting will depend on the size of your team. A stand-up meeting with only a handful of employees might last five minutes. If allowing each employee to speak for one minute will put you over the 15-minute threshold, you probably have too many participants.

As you plan your stand-up meeting, consider designating someone as the timekeeper to help ensure each attendee has equal time to speak. Another option is to set a timer when each person begins speaking.

4. Create an Agenda for Each Meeting

It’s crucial that your standup meetings have a structure, even though they’re generally informal. Shaking up the structure now and then can keep attendees engaged.

Still, every meeting should involve each employee sharing three bits of information:

  • Their accomplishments since the last meeting
  • What they will achieve before the next meeting
  • Any blockers/impediments keeping them from meeting goals

Your stand-up meeting agenda should allow time for team members to share concerns and challenges without going over 15 minutes. If that isn’t enough time to address the obstacles, schedule an additional one-on-one discussion after the standup meeting.

5. Eliminate Filler and Small Talk

One way to keep your meetings on track is to monitor your use of filler words and make your communication more concise and clear. Apps like Poised will track your filler words and alert you in real-time so you can make immediate adjustments and keep your meetings going smoothly.

It can also help to display unrelated topics on the team’s Slack channel or on a whiteboard and encourage interested employees to discuss them after the stand-up meeting. Moreover, allot a minute or two before each meeting for small talk before reigning in everyone to focus on the content of the meeting.

6. Take Time To Praise Your Team

Yes, you’re working under time constraints with stand-up meetings, but you also want to allow time to acknowledge your team’s progress and contributions to the company. Some leaders take a few seconds to praise the entire team before or at the end of a stand-up meeting, while others address each employee after the meeting.

7. Talk About Areas That Need Improvement

AI can give you real-time feedback, but people can’t. That’s why addressing areas of weakness is equally critical. Carve out time in your stand-up meetings template to discuss how your team can improve its communication, collaboration, productivity, and efficiency. 

Keeping roadblocks under control reduces workplace stress, arguments, and ultimately, employee turnover

8. Experiment With Remote Stand-Up Meetings

As in any other business area, each organization should find its own rhythm with daily stand-up meetings. Setting an agenda and structure for your gatherings is an excellent step forward, but don’t be afraid to experiment with different frameworks and strategies until you find ones that help your specific team flourish.

And if you’ve never tried remote stand-up meetings, this is the day and age to give them a shot! Video conferencing software has made significant strides toward equipping distributed teams for easy-to-access and productive meetings. 

Run Better Meetings With Help From Poised

If your company conducts frequent meetings, chances are you can benefit from transitioning to stand-up meetings. Executing these brief discussions effectively will significantly improve your team's productivity, efficiency, and overall progress.

Using the right tools can help you stay on track with your stand-up meetings. Look to Poised to monitor your communication performance and learn how to conduct better meetings!


5 Tips for Scheduling Meetings That Respect Everyone's Time |

7 Things Great Listeners Do That Set Them Apart | Business Insider

11 Strategies For Praising Employee Work (Without Causing Team Resentment) | Forbes

How to Use the Round Robin Discussion Teaching Strategies | TeachHub

How to use the 'raise hand' feature in Zoom to notify the meeting host that you'd like to speak | Business Insider

The Cost of Poor Communications | SHRM

The Effects of Poor Communication in Business | Chron

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