Many Agile methodologies promote a daily standup meeting. The idea is that people are uncomfortable standing for a long period of time, so it will help keep the meeting short. The goal of the daily meeting (typically first thing in the morning) is to get a sense of what everybody is working on and if there are any obstacles. But, is the daily standup meeting effective?
I have worked for many companies that implemented some variant of Agile development and some of them implemented daily standup meetings as well. Based on my observations, the daily meeting is just a ceremony that doesn’t really contribute much. Let’s consider two different teams: small and large. The small team is generally fewer than five people. The large team is likely more than ten people. Teams that have between 5 and 10 will behave as either small or large depending on the team members and the culture. Small teams often work in the same room/open space. They already know what everybody does and obstacles can be addressed on the fly by turning around and talking to your teammate.
Large teams may be split physically and functionally and often work on multiple projects or separate aspects of the same project. The daily standup meeting either takes a long time when every member takes the time to explain what they’re working on and what issues they face or is kept short by rushing through and having each team member mumble a few sentences. There is no time for questions and often people are not really interested in the daily struggles of others and just want to get on with their day. Any serious discussion requires a separate meeting with the relevant people.
Given those concerns, what are the benefits of the daily standup meeting? It can contribute to team spirit, serve as a launch pad to a more in-depth meeting and occasionally someone may have insight about how to overcome a particular obstacle. The team lead may gain some benefit by getting a concise summary from the whole team, and finally it ensures that everybody is in the office at the same time!