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April 27, 2021

Mixing Up Stand-Up

Matti Salokangas



Senior Software Engineer
Grants Pass, OR

At ZEAL we have a traditional of sharing interesting things in the morning stand-up.  These "interestings" are then shared in our weekly interestings newsletter.  Often times we will share newly discovered libraries or coding tricks that we found were particularly special.  If you aren't already subscribed, you can subscribe here.  There really is some good stuff here, so check it out!

This tradition has been going on for years.  So many interesting things have been dug up and shared!  BUT...they started to slow down.  I noticed that we weren't sharing interesting things as often as we once did.  I also noticed that I found myself quickly searching around just to dig up something to share.  It struck me that we were in a bear market of sorts...that maybe we were running out of steam.  It got me can we bring back the magic?


This is where we came up with the idea to simply mix up the stand up.  To do something different for a while.  So, we decided to have a theme for each day of the week and rather than share interesting things we would have something new and novel for the day.  Here is what we came up with for our first week.


Improv Day

Appreciation Day

Dev Jokes

Project Day

There was little coordination, but I did take the lead for each day to introduce the topic and start off the discussion.  From there things just happened.  I have never laughed and had so much fun in our stand ups ever.  The magic was back!  I could feel the ZEAL-force increasing parabolically just like Dogecoin as it went to the moon.

Weekly Remixes

Going forward we may chose not to do this and go back to simply sharing interestings.  But, for now we decided to try another week of this.  So, now a new team member will put their own spin on things by remixing it up with new themes.

I'm excited to see where this goes and what "interesting" things may come out of this experiment. So, if you are feeling like stand ups aren't serving your team morale or if things just feel flat, maybe mix it up?

 You don't have to have a theme for each day, but maybe just try having "Improv Tuesday" or "Dev-joke Thursday".


Real quick, I have to share how our improv day went.  

So.  Here's what we did:

Without saying anything, the group had to count from 1 to 20 without being interrupted.

Here are the ground rules:

1) If two or more people say a number at the same time, you have to start over.
2) You cannot coordinate in any way
3) If there’s more than a count of two between numbers being said, you have to start over.

On a team of 14, over zoom, we managed to do this in ~8 minutes.  How fast can your team count to 20?  

Please feel free to reach out and share your results and experience!

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