Increasing Efficiency With Stand Up Meetings

Jereme Wong

Standup MeetingIt is a fact that we try to minimise internal meetings in clickTRUE, adopting the approach of quick alley way discussions as opposed to formal conference room meetings. Except for the month end regular management meeting, where we review metrics and operational issues, it is usually one of the longer meetings since everything gets thrown into that session.


True to clickTRUE’s culture where we try to measure and optimize everything we do (aside from clients’ PPC campaigns!), we tried ways to compact our meeting agendas and went to the extent of deliberately setting meetings to end right before lunch time. However, we never have much success in reducing the average meeting time of 3 hours, until the last management meeting when our CEO decided to do a stand up meeting.


Well, it seems the little inconvenience of having to stand naturally invokes a psychological desire to end the meeting faster. Simply contrast this with having a soft cushioned chair, a table to lean on, comfortable air-conditioning, and a great opportunity to day-dream. The difference is apparent.

As each individual shifts his frame of mind from “let’s get comfortable, this is going to be long”, to “let’s get this done and go back to work”, everyone starts to show more initiative and naturally contributes more (and faster) during the meeting. In fact, stand up meetings seem to be so effective that major companies like Google hold them regularly – even daily.

(photo by Bloomberg showing how Google employees gather for a team meeting at the Google headquarters in Mountain View)


According to a report by Bloomberg:

Google co-founder Sergey Brin once estimated that it took seven minutes to walk across the Google campus; it’s now company tradition that meetings end on the hour and new ones start seven minutes later.

Everyone working on the project gathers, standing-up to make sure no one gets too comfortable and no time is wasted during the rapid-fire updates.


This goes to show that the simple act of standing up does indeed have an effect of inherently increasing the efficiency and productivity of meetings.


The Conclusion

In the end, the meeting adjourned in record time – 80 mins with time to spare (that’s almost more than 50% of time saved!). While it is still no where close to Wikipedia’s definition of a stand-up meeting, but effective nonetheless. More importantly, action plans were drawn and the agenda was met. One thing for sure, we will definitely have more stand up meetings in future.

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