Justin Kabbani is Co-Founder and Managing Director of independent digital agency Hardhat, with 40+ staff across Melbourne and Sydney. He is a regular presenter and contributor on the topic of building workplace culture and is passionate about growing high performing teams.
Momentum is hard to maintain. How often do you get to the end of your day, your team is vibing, everything’s moving along at perfect pace and then – as if the school bell has rung – suddenly the day has ended? Everyone goes home with best intentions of picking up where they left of the next morning. But the next morning, one has a doctor’s appointment, one is caught in traffic, another is out getting coffee. And it’s not until the afternoon that you finally get back into the swing of things, only for the school bell to ring again. Exhausting.
You might have heard of Agile methodology, but do you understand why everyone is raving about the results it can bring? At Hardhat, we gather in a large circle in the middle of the office to do a full company standup, each day at 9am on the dot. We whiz round and each in under 30 seconds, say what we accomplished yesterday and what we will accomplish today. This ritual alone is one of the key reasons that our agency maintains such a high velocity day after day, week after week.
- Standup fosters team interaction
Firstly, it’s a consistent time that we are all available to each other, every day. In a busy workplace, people can charge ahead with best intentions on a project, only to realise hours, days or even weeks down the track that the brief has changed or some feedback was missed. Daily standup says that rain, hail or shine, I’ll be standing in the circle at 9am each day, available if you need me.
- Standup focusses the company on achievement
At standup, we talk about achievement. What we achieved yesterday and what we will achieve today. This makes progress visible and increases morale by being able to acknowledge achievement daily. You know the feeling, when it seems like everyone is busy and working, but you’re not sure if anything is actually getting done? When people have to build their own incremental milestones openly in front of the whole company, the responsibility of progressing the little coloured panels on your Gantt chart are shared by the whole team. Standup creates accountability.
- Standup clears the path for success
And finally, things that are preventing work from proceeding, which we call blockers, are mentioned. This leads to a list of all the quick catchups that need to happen to clear the path for the workday to begin.
Within 12 minutes, we are all aligned, have set milestones for achievement for that day that are shared with and accepted by the team and that everyone starts their day with confidence that they are doing exactly what they should be. And most importantly, the momentum that was peaking at the end of the previous day, is picked up at the start of the next.