CI 101

What do you discuss during a huddle meeting? Tips for effective stand-up meetings.

Huddle meetings have the potential to be the most effective daily meeting you can have.  A properly conducted meeting is focused, full of energy, and accomplish its purpose of providing information, alignment, and motivation to the team.

To achieve the meeting objectives, follow these tips.

  • Respect everybody’s time by doing the meeting on their designated days and times without fail and held to strict time limits.  Do not wait for anyone.
  • Keep the focus, if a particular item is taking too much time, propose a different day and time to discuss it with the appropriate people.  If it is only a two people discussion, suggest finishing it after the meeting.
  • Go around the room, everybody talks and share their priorities within a one to two minutes time limit.
  • Do not allow mobile phone use or any other electronics during the meeting.
  • Use a dedicated room, with its equipment.
  • Keep the energy by having stand-up meetings, this encourage people to get to the point.
  • Choose the best time for the team.  It is common to have the meeting at the beginning of the shift, but right before lunch is an alternative that gives time to complete urgent tasks before.

Continuous improvement is a daily activity focused on quality, cost, and delivery, three elements that are essential to achieve the goal of delivering value to the customer when they need it, with the best quality at the lowest cost.  Following that idea, huddle meetings focused on the same three things, plus safety, which is another way to show respect to our team members.  Like I indicated before, you can customize the meeting to your business needs, but the following are ideas of items that you can include.

  1. What we did well yesterday?  Did we have a wow moment?  Let’s celebrate!
  2. What we could have done better?  Share the situation, reflect on the experience and learnings.  
  3. Top three metrics whose goal was not achieved the previous day.
  4. Announcements like visitors, events, audits, training, or new team members.
  5. Team members updates – something they have to celebrate (even if it is personal), what did they learn the previous day, improvement opportunities, what help they need, their priorities for the day.
  6. Recognition, take time to recognize the good, celebrate collaboration, business milestones, training, and projects completions, and team member birthdays!

It is important to keep the meetings short and dynamic.  This gathering is to strengthen teamwork and collaboration and promote attitudes and actions aligned with the company values.  For that reason, it is critical to stop immediately anything that smells like finger-pointing, blaming, or disrespect. Happy huddle meeting!

CI 101

What is a huddle meeting? What are the benefits?

A stand-up or huddle meeting is a short meeting meant to occur every day to provide information, align, and motivate the team.  This cross-functional meeting is a simple way to keep everybody motivated, working together toward common goals, using the same procedures.  

What is a huddle meeting?

  • A stand-up, pre-shift, or huddle meeting is a short meeting of not more than 10 to 15 minutes.
  • The objective is to provide team members with information regarding priorities, status, and announcements.
  • Other objectives are to keep everybody aligned with the company vision and strategy, develop team member skills, and gives them the forum to voice their concerns, personal priorities, and ideas.
  • The meeting is focused on safety, quality, cost, and delivery.
  • Use visual management tools to ensure the meeting focus and allotted time are achieved.  Examples of those tools are the Management Board and Projects Board.

What is not a huddle meeting?

  • Although problems are briefly discussed, a huddle meeting is not a problem-solving session.  Schedule for a different meeting those items that need deep discussion.
  • This is not a session to report to the boss what is going on.  The conversation is between work colleagues, a chance to talk to each other.

Benefits of a huddle meeting

  • Share the same information to all team members at the same time showing clarity, and transparency.
  • It is the perfect vehicle for alignment, promote the shared vision and discuss common goals.
  • Bring together cross-functional teams
  • Promotes collaboration and teamwork
  • Gives team members the chance to contribute in policy discussion and problem-solving ideas.
  • All team members to share the know-how, to be the subject expert on a topic.

You can adapt the format of the meeting to your business and team size.  Although traditionally a team leader or supervisor is the meeting leader, this does not mean that he or she has to dominate the conversation.  The meeting leader is more a moderator, someone that ensures that the focus and time of the team are achieved.  He or she would step up and ask the team to move on to another subject if they are stuck on one item.  Every day, a different team member can be the meeting facilitator.  The facilitator is responsible for opening the meeting, make it flow, and present the general information.  

Huddle meetings should be every day at the same time, in the same place.  Remote teams can participate via skype, zoom, or any other visual media.  If possible, there should be a room dedicated to this meeting, with no chairs and where the boards are the focal point.  The location should be a strategic place in the middle of the value-creating area, where other people can see what is going on.

What should be the agenda for this meeting?  What can be discussed in 15 minutes or less?  In the next post, I will talk about possible discussion items.