Daily Huddle

Daily Huddle – 3 Tips To Keep Your Lean Huddle on Track

If you are not running a daily huddle meeting in the field, I highly recommend it!

Daily Huddle Benefits

The benefits of a daily huddle are that they:

  • Organize the day’s schedule – with everyone catching up each day, we all know who is working on what, where, and for how long.
  • Improve communication and provide an understanding of expectations – when you’re making a point to talk to each other every day, communication naturally improves.
  • Save time – it sounds counter-intuitive, but it winds up taking LESS time—and achieves MORE—if you meet more often, for shorter durations.
  • Are informational – the meetings are short, so everyone needs to get to the point and relay the most pertinent information.
  • Solve problems quickly – that daily communication facilitates problem-solving like nothing you’ve seen.
  • Build culture – the spirit of teamwork and mutual respect that grows through this practice yields dividends in the environment of the project team.

However, tapping into those benefits will take work. Without intent and discipline, it is very easy for a daily huddle to get off track. It is important to know which problems or conversations are not critical to moving the huddle forward, to make sure the time is well spent. You will recognize trouble if you notice the following.

Daily Huddle Problems

The Fugitive— Your huddle has turned into a runaway meeting with no clear agenda, so now the conversation is all over the place with no clear direction.

The Hijacker—Your well-planned daily huddle has been hijacked by a terrorist who has their own agenda of topics to discuss.

The Main Event — Your huddle has turned into the UFC, and you are cage side watching two field foremen go toe to toe in verbal MMA.

Daily Huddle Tips

To avoid the above, here are three tips that can help.

1. Call ELMO (Enough Let’s Move On)

If a topic has run its course—if a point has been made and it is time to move on, or if the item being discussed does not involve the entire team—any member of the huddle is empowered to call ELMO. ELMO stands for Enough, Let’s Move On, and it means that the issue has run its course and needs to be put aside for now and resolved outside of the huddle. You will know it’s time to call ELMO if you have a foreman that goes on a monologue, talking about everything and nothing at the same time—meaning discussing items that were important to their craft, but that don’t involve the entire team. Once ELMO has been called, the topic being discussed needs to be placed in “the parking lot,” which is a whiteboard that keeps the off-topic issues listed in one place so they can be addressed after the meeting and only with the necessary people.

2. Use the Rule of “3”

If you have already spoken, you cannot speak again until THREE others have spoken, or it has been at least THREE minutes since you talked. The rule of three prevents dominant personality types from hijacking the meeting and allows everyone the opportunity to speak so one person’s perspective or opinion isn’t influencing all the others.

3. Stick to the Agenda

At our daily huddles, we ask the foremen to follow a strict agenda. We want them to use visual boards to answer the following questions:

  • What are you working on?
  • Where are you working?
  • How many crews/workers are on-site?
  • What are your constraints/needs?
  • What material deliveries are coming up?

By asking these questions, you’re engaging the trade partners and allowing them to collaborate and coordinate with the other trades. This achieves buy-in and accountability and allows for a more reliable workflow. It also prevents tangents, rambling, and off-topic conversation.

By leveraging these tips, you and your team are now firing on all cylinders by:

  • Keeping the meeting on track and focused on discussing the workflow and constraints for that day.
  • Helping ALL team members to stay engaged during the daily huddle.
  • Demonstrating respect to a team member who wishes to discuss a topic that doesn’t involve or impact the entire team or workflow that day, while keeping the meeting moving forward.

If you have other daily huddle tips to share, we’d love to see them in the comments!

Related Blogs

Daily Huddle Tips – Stand Up!

7 Rules for a Great Daily Huddle

10 Step Lean Daily Team Huddle Observation Checklist

Daily Huddle Rules – Stay On Track

For great advice on Lean Construction, follow Keyan Zandy on LinkedIn!

Keyan Zandy is a longtime Lean practitioner, enthusiast, and advocate. As Skiles Group’s COO, he has a dual focus on client service and on nurturing a progressive company culture. He is ultimately responsible for the oversight of the firm’s daily operations and ensuring that their Lean processes are continuously improved and consistently practiced. He is the co-author of The Lean Builder: A Builder’s Guide to Applying Lean Tools in the Field, which simplifies and clearly articulates the benefits of seven primary Lean concepts, and delivers them in a highly-relatable, immediately-applicable, and field-friendly manner. Keyan also serves as CEO for Smart Safety, an award-winning crisis management communication and emergency response tool.

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