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Daily Scrum meeting – Should one have it standing ?

A number of teams call the Daily Scrum meeting as a stand-up meeting, thus making it clear about their preference that the meeting attendees be all standing up (even if they are present in a well equipped meeting room with nice comfy chairs). The idea is that having everybody stand in the meeting makes it uncomfortable for everybody, and hence nobody will try to extend the meeting beyond the bare minimum required to complete the discussion. In this post, we will evaluate the reasons for having the meeting as one which is standing only, and take the contra position in the next post (the decision on whether you want to do the meeting with everybody sitting or everybody standing is for the team, and hence I am not going to try to advocate a specific position on this one).
So, why would you want to have a meeting on a daily basis (even if the meeting is a short one) where everybody is standing ? Consider these reasons:
– As mentioned above, when everybody is standing, it does convey a sense of urgency to everybody attending that they should ensure that they do not present any long-winded status and present their positions succinctly, ensuring that the meeting remains brief.
– Similar to the above one – it is felt that standing ensures that everybody remains thinking about the tasks, and do not really go off-track
– One of the most common problems with a meeting is that people have the ability to try and do multi-tasking; which means that they will start to work their email, or do other important stuff and hence their attention gets diverted. However, when everybody is standing, it is pretty difficult to do such multi-tasking, which ensures that everybody remains focused on the meeting and it can get over quickly
– When everybody is standing, you really don’t need a conference room. In one case, where there were always issues about not having a conference room available for the daily meeting, we started doing the meeting in somebody’s room and it turned out to be a perfect location (not requiring the chairs reduced the total space needed)
– You can arrange the standing position, whether this be around a white-board or some other such object; with the presence of a number of chairs, doing such arrangements can be much more difficult
– When you are standing, the level of energy in everybody tends to feel higher, as compared to a sense of lethargy or dullness which comes when everybody is sitting.
– This one is more empirical – we have found that when everybody is standing, the situation where everybody looks towards a sort of leader happens much less frequently compared to a sitting meeting (however, don’t ask me for a logic for this one, since this one is more based on observations).
– Having the meeting standing made it seem less formal, and once in a while, to ensure that there was some variation, we would change locations, once even doing the meeting in a coffee place, standing outside in the clear sun and having a quick meeting (this one might seem to be a bit out of the ordinary).

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