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The Power of the Stand-up Meeting

Grant management can take a leaf from software developers’ playbook by implementing a Stand-up Meeting. These are short meetings lasting anywhere from five to fifteen minutes and take the place of traditional, longer meetings. Team members remain standing as a reminder that this is a quick, boots-on-the-ground-type meeting and to keep everyone on point.

At Boost Midwest, we’ve found this to be true. And, the research backs it up. Stand-up meetings are shown to:

  • Reduce meeting time. Stand-up meetings reduce time spent in meetings by 34 percent, a data point taken from a University of Missouri study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

  • Boost productivity. Researchers at Washington University, in St. Louis, Missouri, reported that “groups working together on a project while standing are measurably more engaged and less territorial than while seated,” Reuters Health reported in 2014.

For these reasons, the Stand-up Meeting has spread far beyond software development. They also led Cynthia Husek, vice chancellor for performative improvements at the University of Colorado, to switch to Stand-up Meetings for the Office of Contracts and Grants in 2013:

“In addition to consistent, high quality information sharing, the format contributes toward building community and organizational pride. These standup meetings foster professionalism, collegiality and personal development by providing a wide variety of opportunities for each staff member to contribute individually or as part of a team. The only rule is to respect the 15 minutes.”

The meetings covered topics from complex federal regulations to keeping the lunch room clean, Husek reported, and teams decided the agenda and how to run their meeting— within the 15-minute timeframe.

The main points a Stand-up Meeting covers should include at least the following, with issues raised taken up outside the meeting among the team members directly involved:

  • A timeline check.

  • A project status report.

  • A review of the project goals.

Stand-up Meetings work remotely, too

With 3.9 million U.S.. employees working from home in 2017, more than double since 12 years earlier, indicators show that remote work will dramatically increase from the 3% of the U.S. workforce even post-pandemic.

With minor adjustments, remote teams can accomplish more and more efficiently using Stand-up Meetings as they did in the office. A standard agenda would include:

  • What each team member accomplished in the past week.

  • A status report of what they’re currently working on.

  • Whether any problems have arose, and if they need help.

Meeting guidelines should include:

  • An assigned meeting leader.

  • Topics discussed should affect everyone attending.

  • Know your meeting goals before it starts.

  • Don’t forget to listen.

In its Grants Management Division, Boost Midwest has found Stand-up Meetings to be an effective tool to include in its knowledge base and with clients who are leading grant projects.

Ready to learn more about how our team can help you manage time, projects and grants more effectively? Book your free consultation call with us today!


Boost Midwest

Chicago, Illinois

Little Rock, Arkansas


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