Have you ever really thought about what happens in a huddle? Whether it’s the pregame huddle on the field or in the locker room, or that time between plays when we run to the kitchen for another snack, there’s a lot going on in that huddle that probably deserves more attention than it normally gets.

When our team began work on a large greenfield hospital project in a market where $200M+ projects only happen once every 5-10 years, we knew that we would have to adopt some communication methods that were a bit non-traditional to keep everyone informed. This was the inspiration for our daily huddles. This article will explore the qualities of a good huddle and create a POSTER for your teams to get started.


Why do you want to huddle? It could be to keep internal team members from the same company informed or to communicate workflows externally with members from 2 or more companies. Some huddles are used as part of scheduling processes to communicate daily progress on a prescribed work plan and then adjust the next day’s work. Some huddles are used to inform a group of people about the events and happenings around the office. Teams should be clear about why they want to establish a communication around a huddle.


Every individual at a huddle should be engaged and want to be involved. Just because we may have identified which companies need to be involved, it doesn’t mean that everyone from that company is the “right” attendee. The audience at the huddle should be able to acknowledge that participating in the huddle impacted their ability to operate in a more efficient way because they were involved.


A huddle should last no longer than 15 minutes. To do this, there should be a structured agenda of topics that are to be covered. Another characteristic to a short huddle is to lose the chairs. Holding “standing” huddles prevents people from being distracted by the work at their desks and helps them focus on the conversation. It will take a bit of discipline to get participants to keep their updates brief, so one strategy is to set up a “parking lot,” where items can be tracked if they require side conversations, outside the huddle.


With a short, structured agenda, everyone attending the huddle should be focused on the content. Our teams required all attendees to share the leadership of the huddle. Having the same person lead the daily huddle only offers a single perspective on the day’s topics. By rotating the leadership, it encourages everyone to participate and helps to keep the content and delivery fresh. Leading a daily huddle is also a great way to introduce your younger employees to leadership roles.


Your first huddle didn’t check all the boxes? Don’t worry about it. Huddles often arise out of the need to communicate certain types of information, and these needs can change over time. Once your team becomes accustomed to huddles, the team will help guide what information is discussed and the way in which the information is shared. Teams will come to realize that adopting huddles will not only cut down on the frequency and length of meetings but will also provide for better communication. Meetings will be more focused and productive, where only the “right” people are committing the extra time to work on specific tasks.


Encourage your teams to keep a huddle board where the previous day’s information can be reviewed. A huddle board can be electronic, or a simple white board dedicated to the specific topics covered at the huddle. The huddle board should be a visual element that can serve as a reminder of the day’s discussion. It can also serve as “meeting minutes” when someone comes to the project location and missed that day’s huddle. Even without attending, a quick glance at the board can provide a wealth of information about the day’s events.

Remember, running a play without a huddle can work out, but usually that’s only an option when the clock is ticking, and the team is almost out of time. The better strategy is to have a huddle and get the entire team focused on the same outcome.

Hopefully, this POSTER will give you some quick reminders about how to get started.

P- Purpose
O- Organize
S- Short
T- Trade Leaders
E- Evolve
R- Review

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Dan is a 1997 graduate from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering (BAE) degree. He immediately joined Alexander and the Butz Family of Companies and has spent more than 25 years in various project management roles within the organization. In his current role as a Project Executive, he provides leadership to our project teams and helps to discover, create, build, refine and foster relationships with people. His portfolio includes more than 30 projects. In 2018 Dan attended his first Lean Construction Institute (LCI) Congress and participated in the establishment of the Mid-Atlantic Community of Practice (CoP), where he currently serves as the Leader for this group.