Are standup meetings useful?

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f7369eca458>

As in, not being at standup meetings, and suffer from all that entails?

Not as in, they make fun of you on stage?

Yes, listen 5+ people recite their calendars for the day for ages at the ungodly hour of 10am.

Moving standup to slack is possibly the single best working conditions improvement available.

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Embarrassing admission: I pay more attention to novel methods of process than is helpful or probably healthy. :slight_smile:

I’ve tried a few things with standup. Posting on Mastodon, or groupchat, that kind of thing. And of course I get the concept: standing makes folks wrap it up. That’s the theory anyhow, I’ve never done it in person, only digitally.

And it was helpful. I think my little accountability network is mostly here now, and we have #dailies (#logs) which serve as a form of standup.

So, some questions for folks that do these in their job:

  • Pros/cons? (I know, not really a question)
  • Is a digital standup worse, better, different?
  • Are there benefits to my brain if I think of this as an individual? Is the experience in sharing, or needing to know what the others are sharing?


I’ve never really thought about doing it personally. That sounds kind of cool. But all my opinions about it are wrt work.

At work there are good things - consistent contact with team instead of only talking to each other at sprint planning or if you really need something, gets you to think about what you’ve actually been doing, lets people raise blockers, etc. But mostly it serves as a control and surveillance tactic - make sure you’re working at a specific time even if hours are supposedly flexible (and they 100% will move standup earlier when they want people people to work longer hours, I’ve seen it repeatedly), let managers track and compare what people are doing, and provide a consistent source of pressure to display work completed.

Digital standup lessens team bonding and makes management surveillance much easier (even executives and possibly shareholders can and will monitor!) but also provides much more protection and freedom if you play your cards right. Digital standup means you can pretend you’re working at 9:30 but not actually show up until 10:30 or not at all and management can’t complain. Since you have time to think about what you’re writing, you can carefully word it every day so it appears like you’ve done much more than you have been. And you also have longterm written records of what you’ve supposedly done or what was blocking you, so if management complains about something, you can pull out weeks of evidence of how you couldn’t get much work done because you were blocked by x and since you announced it in standup every day, the fact that nothing was done about it is management’s fault, and your manager’s manager can see that too. You can even use that evidence to pressure them into additional workplace conditions improvements. Also btw literally standing up does not make people wrap things up quickly at all, so digital standup is a huge time saver too - once team size gets past ~5, everyone is just miserable and waiting for everyone else to shut up during irl standup.

Basically, standup at work is a weapon of war and you can use it to your advantage or have it used against you. But standup outside the workplace sounds like it could be nice! :smile:


What we do in #logs (omg, I want that in the title font as What We Do in the Shadows!) is a derivation of standups, me thinks. When we were standup-ing at each other, I felt it was sometimes forced, as in: I don’t know what I’m doing, and I certainly don’t have any blocking items for ya’ll, so, meh.

I liked it from a product that I find is both fairly well-designed in some ways, and an incredible tool for controlling managing people: Basecamp. They had these reminders one could send out on a schedule, and I liked that as it was a simple email prompt to check in. At one company where I was complicit but trying to make good, I encouraged folks to set these up for Fridays or daily, at the end, so folks could focus on their stuff, and wouldn’t have to break off to do four check-ins.

I adapted this for myself, as a mechanism to keep track of what I’m doing.

The logs are collaborative, and I like it! I don’t automate anything, and we basically operate on “whoever has something to say, go ahead”. I was totally gonna automate it! But it didn’t feel slow or humane or useful.

Now I love them because they are prompts to ask questions about my friends’ lives that I wouldn’t have as I’m not nearby or otherwise unaware.

I’m loading this thread up with the origins so we can resist future attempts to manage our logs! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: