Remote Culture Remote Culture

Teamwork and the Renewed Role of Standup

Greetings Dear Reader!

To hear me riffing on ths topic post Mar 9, Group Standup, have a listen to this audio file.

Standup, Standup, Standup (WRITE THAT DOWN!)

Since 2012, I’ve worked with all flavors of fast growing companies. In the past, I came to associate standups with a handful of reasonably negative details;

  • Leadership who used standups as a tool to create a “start working” time of the day.
  • Leadership who didn’t have very well written kanban boards and used standup to farm out new work.
  • Leadership who didn’t really trust people to work at their maximum potential.
  • Leadership who….

Some might say that in my early years, I lacked a broad enough perspective to appreciate the nuances of more experienced management. I might say that I still think a lot of leaders in my past abused standups and fostered a culture of “start/stop working”, the worse mentality for creative endeavors.

Fast forward to 2020 and beyond.

StartupLandia has had around 10 people coordinating around 6 complex projects from timezones starting around San Francisco and ending in Asia.

Most of us have never met and until global travel restrictions ease up, we probably won’t meet.

Enter stage left, the Standup

Standups have returned as a very effective way to accomplish a wide variety of goals including;

  • Cross Pollinating Ideas
  • Celebrating Individual and Group Successes
  • Talking About Things Not Related to Client Projects
  • Talking as a Group Live, Not Typing in Slacklandia
  • Honest Discussion of Mistakes
  • Transparent Discussion of Company Level Decisions
  • Opportunity to Get Group Buyin for Important Decisions
  • Opportunity to Source Design/Feature Feedback on Client Projects

We have two styles of standup,

  1. Informal All Hands Internal Standup
  2. Client Project Focused Standup

Informal All Hands Internal Standup

  • No more than once a week, sometimes once every two weeks.
  • Round the room style ‘Good, the Bad, the Ugly’ with the person, their work.
  • Voluntary participating, everyone on the Startuplandia team invited.
  • Focus can be personal events or professional events.
  • Foster a culture of people identifying personal actions that lead to positive or negative outcomes.
  • Sometimes very positive, replacement for social interactions, never more than 15-30 minutes.

Client Project Focused Standup

  • Usually once a week.
  • Review as many cards in project specific kanban as possible in 15-30 min session.
  • Only team members and client leads specifically involved in a particular design or engineering stage.
  • Initial standups can be quite long.
  • A sign of a well run project is standup on a complex project with a very brief, circa 10 min weekly standup.
  • Demonstration of sensitivity to Client’s time not being chewed up.
  • Frequently run by John Davison, StartupLandia CTO via screenshare of a Kanban.

I try to avoid the pitfalls of standups that I have seen in the past while emphasizing the positive opportunities that standups bring to the table. In my observation, our standup culture fosters responsibility and accountability to solve problems effectively. We love what we do, which is product engineering.

Have a great day and reachout [email protected] if you want to learn more!



A Dream Team

We have traveled many miles.

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