Lean Stand-Up Meeting: Get Ready for Action!

Many Lean focused organizations adopt some sort of daily stand-up meeting. These daily meetings may take different forms depending on the type of team, the typical problems to solve, and the nature of the business. Common elements to the daily stand-up meeting are: they tend to be short (5-15 minutes), have a visual management component (such as a whiteboard), and are conducted standing (as opposed to sitting) to keep discussions brief. There are multitudes of potential formats appropriate for these meetings. However I am going to present one type of format you can use for a daily meeting that may be well suited for bringing together a cross-functional team, such as management or supervision staff. This particular format was developed in part by two of my mentors, Kevin Meyer and Steven Kane. Both have many years of experience in Lean culture transformations.


The problems this format aims to address include:

  • How to communicate issues that need attention between functional groups
  • How to motivate individuals into action on particular issues
  • How to provide a forum for discussion of various business problems

The types of problems that are brought up in this meeting format tend to be “smaller” nagging types of issues that need attention. Many of these items deserve problem solving for continuous improvement, but some issues may be simply a matter of calibrating priorities between teams or individuals.

What’s needed:

  • A white board (preferably a magnetic white board) formatted into a grid with the first column for the names of those present at the meeting, and then 31 columns to show visibility for an entire month
  • “Super sticky” 2×2 Post-It notes (click here for more info)
  • Other magnet “do-dads” for other needs of the group (month names, stars, lines, etc.)
  • Black, red and green markers

How it works:

  • Each person comes to the meeting with any issues for others on a pre-written Post-It note. The comment could be in the form of a necessary action item or problem to solve. The Post-It note should include the name of the person originating the issue, the date, and the person receiving the issue.
  • The receiving individual will choose on what day they will report back the resolution and place the sticky on that date.
  • For the current day, each person reports back the status of any sticky notes. If the issue is not resolved, they place a “red dot” with a marker on the sticky note and moves the issue out to a new date. If the issue is continuously moved out, it will end up with “lots of red dots” which eventually becomes more and more uncomfortable as the person continues to move out the issue.
  • When the issue is completed, a “green dot” is placed on the sticky note to show closure. The individual would give an update on the closure, as necessary.
  • A magnetic line indicator shows today’s date above the corresponding column and delineates the current month (to the right) and the following month (to the left)
  • Green dot items are left until the first of the month
  • Include a line above the weekend dates
  • Note, it is important to use this system as a way to create action and accountability and to celebrate the improvements that result in the Action Board. Use stars or other decorations to celebrate accomplishments and continuous improvements to keep the meeting positive.
  • You can also incorporate KPI’s, Project updates, etc. into this meeting, depending on your needs.


Why it works:

  • The forum provides just enough peer pressure to support action and accountability, but not so much that it becomes overly stressful. The point is not finger pointing; it’s about action.

If you would like to watch the (free) LSSAcademy podcast describing this stand-up meeting format, click here.