Standard Work for a Lean Stand-Up Meeting

The stand-up morning meeting is a daily ritual of many organizations on Lean journeys. The format for a Lean stand-up meeting varies depending on the group that is being brought together. I’ve discussed a format for cross-functional teams in one of my earlier posts. In this post, I want to discuss a daily meeting format for one’s “first” or primary, focused team.

First, let’s discuss some reasons or benefits of a daily team meeting:

  1. Celebrate progress and “Wow” moments
  2. Share mistakes and learning
  3. Share problems and roadblocks for progress
  4. Encourages team support and collaboration
  5. Remind and emphasize company vision, mission, or “true north” ideals

Here are some standard work items to consider for your Lean stand-up meeting:

Visual Management. Center the meeting around your visual management board. Every team’s board will be unique to that team and will continue to improve over time. If you don’t yet have a board, create something quickly and plan to refine over time. Don’t over analyze this; it should be an evolving tool. I’ve seen effective visual boards that comprised of nothing more than post-it notes on a blank wall.

Start-up Rituals. The opening to the meeting can start with standard questions such as below. These are the quick announcements that usually take less than a minute. Generally, the person opening the meeting will iterate through each question:

  1. Any WOW Moments?
  2. Safety Issues?
  3. Customer Issues?
  4. Visitors/Events?
  5. Other?

Daily metrics. Devote some time to review the current metrics and discuss any recent problems or trends. This will also be unique to each team and should only take a minute or two. For metrics changing less often, these could be discussed at the appropriate interval (weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc.)

Team Member Updates. Focused teams are hopefully small enough that each team member can give an individual update. These updates by each team member are for the team’s benefit; they are not specifically for the manager or supervisor. Often people want to give updates directly to their manager and everyone else practically dozes off on their feet. In order to get out of this habit, the facilitator/manager can ask questions applicable to others, or draw attention to items in the update specifically applicable to others on the team. Meanwhile, regular one-on-one meetings should give each team member the opportunity to get that direct feedback they may be looking for. A daily meeting should not replace the one-on-one time with the team member’s supervisor. The important point is that the value of the updates should be for the benefit of the entire group. Here are standard questions to consider for each person’s update (not necessarily all of them every day):

  • What did you complete yesterday?
  • What did you learn yesterday?
  • What waste or opportunities for improvement did you find yesterday?
  • What prevented you from making progress on your priorities yesterday (what interruptions were there)?
  • What mood best describes you today: sad, angry, scared, happy, excited, or tender? (Note the acronym for this is “SASHET”). See this reference for more info.
  • What are your priorities today?

Time keeping. Have an accurate clock nearby to start and stop on-time. It’s important to respect everyone’s schedule and the daily meeting should not be an exception.

Closing Ritual. As a closing ritual, I share a success or motivational quote, a random science or space fact, or a riddle. This helps end the meeting on a light-hearted and fun note. When I come across something interesting I add it to a task list on my phone as a queue to present at the morning meeting.