No More Angling for the Best Seat; More Meetings Are Stand-Up Jobs

Posted: 03/02/2012 in Technology

Employees follow strict rules: Attendance is mandatory, nonwork chitchat is kept to a minimum and, above all, everyone has to stand up.

Stand-up meetings are part of a fast-moving tech culture in which sitting has become synonymous with sloth. The object is to eliminate long-winded confabs where participants pontificate, play Angry Birds on their cellphones or tune out.

Holding meetings standing up isn’t new. Some military leaders did it during World War I, according to Allen Bluedorn, a business professor at the University of Missouri. A number of companies have adopted stand-up meetings over the years. Mr. Bluedorn did a study back in 1998 that found that standing meetings were about a third shorter than sitting meetings and the quality of decision-making was about the same.

The current wave of stand-up meeting is being fueled by the growing use of “Agile,” an approach to software development, crystallized in a manifesto published by 17 software professionals in 2001. The method calls for compressing development projects into short pieces. It also involves daily stand-up meetings where participants are supposed to quickly update their peers with three things: What they have done since yesterday’s meeting; what they are doing today; and any obstacles that stand in the way of getting work done.

If employees are late to this meeting, often called a “daily scrum,” they sometimes must sing a song like “I’m a Little Teapot,” do a lap around the office building or pay a small fine, says Mike Cohn, president of Mountain Goat Software, Lafayette, Colo., an Agile consultant and trainer. If someone is rambling on for too long, an employee may hold up a rubber rat indicating it is time to move on. Companies make exceptions to their no-sitting rules if a worker is sick, injured or pregnant—but usually not for workers outside the office telecommuting on Skype.

For more information :

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204652904577193460472598378.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_RIGHTTopCarousel_4

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