How to Huddle

Apply intentional and disciplined improvement efforts to solve problems through shared accountability and a focus on learning.

When huddling, it is important to be a good steward of the team’s time and create a non-judgmental environment where the team feels safe sharing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas. To help ensure the huddles meet the team’s needs, the facilitator should continuously evaluate the effectiveness of the huddle and make changes as needed. This will help the team members stay engaged and ensure that the huddle continues to be a valuable tool for improving team performance.

For the habit of huddling to stick, team huddles should be conducted on a regular basis. To help create the habit, the huddle facilitator should establish a routine for the huddle, including the time, location, and duration of the huddle. One of the more common routines for huddling is depicted below.

Establish an Agenda

Develop a standard huddle agenda that effectively uses the 10 minutes. Focus on sharing information important to the team’s work.

Assemble the Team

As the team arrives, consider starting the workday by huddling. If people can’t attend the huddle, have a plan for sharing important updates.

Review Performance Data

Update huddle boards with the most recent operational data (usually regarding the previous day).

Create a Plan

Discuss what worked yesterday and what might need to change for today to help the team be successful. Develop the daily plan.

As the team’s huddle process matures, a larger percentage of the team’s time will be spent discussing improvement efforts being made within the department. When discussing improvement ideas, it is important to keep the following in mind:

New Ideas

  • New ideas should be reviewed within a week of the idea being submitted.
  • The person who submitted the idea should be the person who presents the idea during the huddle.
  • The team should vote on new ideas to determine buy-in. If the idea has high buy-in, the idea should be moved to the To Do or waiting to start column. If the idea does not gain support, the idea can be refined by the idea originator and resubmitted.
  • A helpful method for quickly determining buy-in is to use “Fist to Five.” Fist to Five is a consensus tool used to gauge buy-in and understanding of the item or task being voted upon by having the voter provide a show of fingers for their vote. If a team member votes a 4 or 5, they indicate strong support. Whereas if they share a 3, they are neutral. And if a 1 or 2 vote is cast, it suggests there is disagreement.

Ideas in Process

  • Regularly review the ideas in process to ensure they are in good health. It is important to keep each idea card as current as possible.
  • The Owner of the Idea card should provide the update. If an idea card needs to be escalated, put on hold, or requires corrective action, the card owner should be responsible for the next steps.
  • Review the Closing or Done section to determine if the project has concluded and is ready to close out. Once the project has been sustained and determined a success, it can be moved to the Celebrate section. 
  • Review the idea cards in the Celebrate section. Celebration helps to motivate and excite the team for the next Idea generated.