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.