What do I do When the Team Members are Late to the Daily Meeting?

Daily meetings are an essential communication tool within Lean-Agile, specifically for Agile Planning and Agile Project Monitoring and Control. So if you notice that people don’t show up then you could have a problem.

But before deciding it is all going pear shaped you need to assess how bad the situation is. Is it:

  • Only very occasionally?
  • One person regularly?
  • Several people occasionally?
  • Pervasive and common?

If lateness is a very occasional problem then doing nothing is a good option.

But what if a person is regularly late? Well, they might have a good reason, like dropping the kids at school (something I’m sympathetic to), or might just be slack (which I’m not). Sound out whether there is a good reason behind the behaviour and if so then consider moving the meeting to accommodate the person.

For regular slackers and the people who are occasionally late then a good starting point is to ask the team what to do. There is a good chance this will elicit a response from the people in question that they’ll be better in the future. And there is a good chance that doesn’t actually happen. In which case you go back to the team again.

One common suggestion is to collectively impose a penalty each time a person is late. The penalty should cause minor psychological pain and the team has to buy into whatever the penalty is. Nothing that will hurt too much but it has to be sufficiently painful to encourage adherence to the team rules. Examples include £1, buying biscuits for the team meeting, singing a song in public.

This post is part of my What do I do When … ? series. Please drop me a line or add a comment if you’ve got a question you’d like answered.

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