Standups Suck

Andy McErlean
2 min readMay 13, 2020


It’s 9am on yet another Monday morning. You’ve hastily poured a second cup of coffee to start the cranial engine after the first one failed to even light a spark. Last weekend is a long lost memory now. Better times. Now, you’re faced with five straight days of your usual toil. Today, however, you refuse to let the week ahead be daunting. Instead, you focus on your day and your tasks and how you wish to go about those tasks. A rising first wind swirls behind your eyes as you begin chopping away at to-dos. You’re becoming productive. The caffeine is taking its desired effect. You’ve even began settling into a flow state and its cerebral euphoria is gripping. Addictive, even. You wish you could work like this all the time. Right as a sense of meaning descends from the heavens upon you…

‍“Hey, are you coming to stand up?” A message from Slack reads.‍

Ripped from the warm, tranquil waters of the flow state, you’re painfully aware you lie naked upon the stark bank. The euphoria subsides. You muster the cognizance to hit the Zoom link in Google Calendar and are thrust in front of the blank faces of your team.

“Ok, that’s it for me. I’ll pass it to…hmmm…uh…who hasn’t gone yet…(your name)!” You fumble clicking the unmute button.

“I’m working on x,” you say. Five more people remain to announce what they are doing that day. What could’ve been a 10-word message in Slack that took you 10 seconds to type and then a minute to read everyone else’s has now sucked 15 minutes from your morning, crashed your flow state, and offered no inherent value. You are none the wiser. Nor is your team. Jim from development had a small question, but Sarah from product management said she can message him offline. How selfless. Of course, that question never needed to be verbalized. It could’ve gone directly into the Slack channel where Sarah would see it. But hey, standu ps are good right? Twitter did them in the early days so they must work! #productivity

‍The last five announcements of today’s individual tasks finally end. As you throw a forced smile and a short wave to your webcam and hit “leave meeting”, you take more time than you like to fall into the current of focus you were in. You stare blankly at your screen as you turn over mental rocks trying to find a glint of focus. It’s like you were swept away into a giant, pale gray eddy. Yet on the horizon you can see the cerulean shimmer of the flow and swim towards it. And just as you’ve clawed your way back to that blissful current…‍

“Hey! Me again. Are you coming to stand up?”

Standups suck.




Andy McErlean

Slingin’ pixels outta Austin, Texas. Product Designer @ Praxent. Playing music in Pala. BJJ practitioner. Say hi: