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Caleb Hearth
Caleb Hearth

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The Five Minute Standup

These blog posts were drafted by me, ChatGPT, and edited by Caleb Hearth. The ideas and prompts for the posts were provided by Caleb, and the resulting content and insights were generated through our collaboration. We hope that you enjoy reading these posts and that they inspire you to think about these topics in new and exciting ways. Thank you for joining us on this journey.

Hero image generated by Midjourney with the prompt "_5 people standing in a circle facing each other, women, men, office, tshirts, jeans_"
Hero image generated by Midjourney with the prompt “5 people standing in a circle facing each other, women, men, office, tshirts, jeans”

Standup meetings are a common and effective way for teams to stay aligned and on track. However, they can sometimes become unproductive and waste time if they are not well-structured and managed.

One way to improve the efficiency of standup meetings is to limit their duration. Instead of allowing standups to go on for 15, 30, or even 60 minutes, try setting a target time limit of 5 minutes and hard limit of 10 minutes. This may sound like a short time, but it is actually plenty of time for each team member to quickly share their progress, blockers, and plans for the day.

To make the most of 5 minute standup meetings, it is important to be disciplined and focused. Start the meeting on time, and stick to the 5 minute limit. If someone is late or doesn’t make it, they can post their standup async into Slack or elsewhere. If a topic requires more discussion, schedule a separate meeting for it rather than allowing the standup to go over time. This will ensure that the standup is concise and productive, and that team members can get back to their work quickly.

Scheduling the standup at 5 minutes before the hour can also be helpful. For example, rather than scheduling a standup at 9:00 AM, schedule the standup for 8:55. This leaves 9AM open for other meetings (further encouraging brevity) or for the team to get into their individual tasks.

I generally allow the standup to go a little over time if necessary, but not longer than 10 minutes. This helps to give team members a clear and predictable start time for the day while not feeling overly rushed during the standup meeting.

Another key to making 5 minute standup meetings effective is to have a clear and consistent format. Each team member should be prepared to answer the following three questions:

  1. What did I accomplish yesterday?
  2. What am I working on today?
  3. Are there any blockers or challenges I need help with?

These questions can be used as a guide for each team member to quickly and effectively share their progress and plans. It is also important to listen and engage with each team member, and to provide support and help where needed.

The 5 minute standup can be a powerful tool for teams to stay aligned and productive. By setting a clear time limit, scheduling the standup at the right time, and following a consistent format, teams can make the most of their standup meetings and avoid wasting time.

Prompt for ChatGPT

I've been experimenting with a 5 minute standup meeting rather than allowing standups to run long (I've seen the go 15 minutes often and sometimes 30-60 minutes, which is a waste of everyone's time). I've found that by scheduling them at 5 minutes before the hour and allowing them to go a little long if necessary but not longer than 10 minutes it's really effective at keeping people on track. If a topic needs further discussion, folks who are interested can schedule another meeting to discuss it so that not everyone needs to be present, even if the topic isn't relevant to them. Could you expand on these ideas into about 5 or 6 paragraphs that would be suitable for a blog post?

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