The practice of holding regular check-in meetings, sometimes referred to as “stand-ups”, is a popular project management technique for high-performance teams. Stand-ups can help your team identify and resolve any problems that arise, as well as keep the project on schedule. This lesson will offer best practices, helping you implement or improve your regular project check-in meetings.
Check-In Meeting Cadence
Here at Tettra, we do an in-person standup meeting each week called the Weekly Wave. Our product and engineer team members also do an asynchronous daily stand-up meeting on Slack. This daily cadence can be especially valuable when someone has a question or needs to ask for help.
There’s no single “right answer” about the frequency with which you meet. What’s most important is that you follow a regular cadence. This regularity sets an important tone, so that people know when to pose questions or bring up new information.
Regular stand-ups can also reduce distractions during non-meeting times. Rather than interrupting other people’s work throughout the day, your team members know there’s a specific time carved out for discussion. People can prepare themselves with updates, issues, and questions, according to the meeting cadence you’ve set.
What to Share During Project Check-Ins
The goal of your check-in meetings should be to make sure everyone can work on the right things. Consequently, you should focus on addressing questions or resolving blockers. If someone is grappling with a blocker that prevents her from accomplishing a key task, the whole project suffers. Use your stand-up meetings to surface these issues.
When questions do arise, seek to answer them during the stand-up meeting, so everyone can keep working. If you’re not able to answer the question right then and there, make sure you pick a directly responsible individual who will run point on next steps. This is especially important for tasks that have dependencies, since one person’s blocker could impact multiple other people.
How to Document Your Stand-Up Meetings
Good documentation of your standup meetings means greater efficiency for your team. Anyone who wasn’t able to attend can review the meeting notes and get up to speed. Documentation also helps when people need to refresh their memories about a decision or an action item.
On our team, we document our standup notes in a new Tettra page each week. We include context on the DRI for most items, and we make inline references to other Tettra pages and/or Google Docs when relevant, using the Google Drive integration.
We save ourselves a ton of time each week by automating the creation of new weekly standup pages. We use the Zapier integration to create a new page each Friday, so that we can document our work in advance of the Monday standup meeting. An automated notification is pushed into our Slack “Standup” channel when this page is created, prompting us all to document our work.
Regardless of how and where you document your standup meetings, your team benefits from this project management technique. By holding regular check-in meetings and documenting the conversation, you’ll help everyone get access to the info they need to do great work.