I just read are very intriguing post by Ken Clyne on the Agile Blog, located at RallyDev.com. The post was about how problems can arise when people don't realize a meeting is over. Ken offered one way to avoid the never-ending meeting is by having a clear signal that the meeting has ended. I could not agree more. Don't you just hate it when a meeting has ended, not everyone knows, and people just start to filter out of the area? I've found myself looking at the meeting host and actually ask if we were done. That is not a way to conduct a meeting.
Though I believe this applies to all meetings, the daily stand-up (daily scrum) really needs to have a clear beginning and end. Though some may not agree with me, I like to use a visual aid like a big alarm clock. Everyone sees the clock ticking away and know a very loud alarm is going to go off at an agreed upon time. You see people get anxious if others are rambling on and the time is ticking away. Think back to your youth. Remember how you knew you were late for class because you heard that starting bell? Remember how you knew you were dismissed from class because you heard that same bell? Let those years of conditioning motivate the team. Though I like the visual queue, you should still say something to the team to close the meeting.
Unlike your school days and hearing your assignment is due Monday, I know I've closed meetings with So let it be written, so let it be done, Make it so and May the force be with you.