Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Why a Daily Start Up Meeting?

Yesterday, I described the five identifiable elements of a Lean system. Today we talk about the Daily Start Up Meeting.

Most of us shudder at the thought of another meeting. Even worse, a DAILY one. Stay with me here, we're talking about something different.

Lean systems are built deeply on the value of each team members' worth and contribution to the continuous improvement process. The fundamental building block of this is the daily workgroup start up meeting. Here's what it looks like.

It happens in the intact workgroup. A workgroup is a collection of 4-9 people who could help do each others' job, if needed. It is small enough so all can contribute to the discussion. It is large enough to get some real work done. Note: the daily meeting does NOT happen with the whole company, unless it employs less than 9 people.

Everyone is present for the meeting. Input is valued.

The meeting happens in the workplace, not in a meeting room. No donuts, no formalities, no meeting arrangements.

It takes 10 minutes or less.

It happens daily, not 3 times a week. It builds a rhythm of communication and contribution.

It has a set agenda, and is not just a daily "water cooler" gab session. The agenda will depend on the nature of the work, but will almost always include the following topics:

  • Greeting the group at the start of the new day
  • Reviewing the previous day's key metrics on the visual display (more on the visual display later this week)
  • Making assessments about the group's performance
  • Asking about the day's plans for each group member and if they have needs
  • Wishing everyone a good day
It rotates leadership, eventually allowing everyone in the work group to lead. Many groups allocate leadership to take place in one week intervals.

More tomorrow on good and bad practices in such a meeting. I hope this is helpful.

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