The morning is off to a good start, that is until you get that dreaded reminder notification that your team's daily standup meeting starts in 10 minutes. Ouch! It hasn’t even begun yet and you are dreading it. We know the struggle. Last week’s excuse to not attend won’t work twice, so you buckle up, press connect, and listen intently (or at least pretend to) as your colleagues explain their current and upcoming tasks. By the time the second person is done you disconnect, and so does pretty much everyone else (you'll be lucky if you made it past the first person's update). Sound familiar?
In a remote team environment, what started as a quick catch-up, has turned into an inefficient way of communicating daily updates. Suprise Suprise 🙄 We’re not saying that daily standups shouldn’t exist but for them to be effective in an online environment, they need to be effectively optimized to meet the growing changes and the needs of the team.
If you prefer your employees to be engaged and enthusiastic about communicating what they're working on via a daily standup, you have to innovate. Companies like Atlassian are a great example. They decided to scrap their daily standup altogether and transition to a fully distributed team by adopting other practices; but, that's not to say you should do the same. You can, and should continue to run your standups (if, they are proving valuable), but, please 🙏 , don't continue running them if you're just having your employees report their daily tasks as if they were reporting their whereabouts to their parents.
There are two main options to build and conduct a successful daily standup; either you optimize it for a remote environment or scrap it to implement a tool specially designed to keep remote teams synchronized. Either way, we'll cover both and share some tips and tricks on how to optimize your daily standup meeting for either the online space or how to switch to an asynchronous collaboration tool to keep your remote team in the loop.
🤔 If only there was a master formula on how to run effective standup meeting calls, but unfortunately, there isn't a magic formula; ultimately, it all comes down to each company and, more specifically, the team. While our focus here is on online daily standup calls, some of the tips we are sharing also work well for in-person scrum meetings.
The internet is speedy and it's no surprise, that it has already come up with a name (and many memes) for the symptom of zoom meeting exhaustion: the Zoombie effect. While the name is slightly humourous, the reality is definitely not. Whether you've fallen victim to the negative zoom effects, or are battling against meetnapping as Antoino Molino of Qualifo notes in a recent interview around remote cross-functional collaboration, both will play against your daily standup and how your team views it.
The daily scrum call should not be something that we dread, instead, it should be a casual, yet productive work catch-up with your co-workers. That leads us to our next point 👇
We recently sat down with Sherif Mansour, Product Manager at Atlassian, to talk about distributed-first teams. He mentioned that his team transitioned from the boring standup call to a casual (and voluntary) Daily Café meeting. While the “meeting“ starts as a casual chat, it slowly transitions to work-related topics. It’s a smart and almost unnoticed way to replace the daily standup for a more casual but equally, if not more valuable chat.
You may very well be following the right structure for your meeting, but your coworkers are possibly still leaving feeling misaligned and as if they have lost precious time. After trying to tweak their daily standup meeting agenda, corporate travel management company, Shep, realized that their standup meetings weren’t effective because they weren’t formulating the questions right. They were focusing on the individual— the 'you' (What did you do yesterday? What’s your goal for today?) rather than the common project— the 'us'.
For this reason, they decided to rephrase the status questions and put the main focus on the common goal (the team project). With this change, the main questions turned to What was done yesterday for this project? What is the next step for this project? This shift led the team towards a common focus that was more actionable and put emphasis on what was important: the common team goal (the 'us').
You’re probably thinking “how do I conduct a daily standup meeting if I scrap it?” That's exactly it, you don't have to scrap it, but you do need to innovate it. There are more effective, smart, and meeting-less ways to keep your team afloat and synchronized.
Specially created for distributed, remote and hybrid teams, there are many asynchronous collaboration platforms that improve async connectivity and communication. These tools allow remote teams to build quick regular or weekly check-ins, engage in real-time written discussions, create meeting minutes and monitor team progress towards a common goal.
If you’re looking for a more effective, engaging and time-saving meeting-less solution for your team’s daily standup meeting, check us some of the tools that may help👇
With Check-ins distributed teams can plan, update, and keep their team in the loop with what's taking place, all without attending another meeting. For further connectivity and synchronization, tools like Fellow, Know Your Team, and Range, integrate with communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and task management apps like Asana.
With async discussion tools, you can hold a written 1 to 1 or group async discussion, collaborate or kick-off a project in one shared space. They also allow any member of the team to see what's going on without the need of jumping on another zoom call, just to get the status updates.
Since standup meetings are a team matter, it might even be a good idea to present and try out both options for running them to see which works best. Whether you choose to optimize and keep the daily standup or give one of the above mentioned tools a spin, don’t expect improvement to happen overnight. Standups, like anything else, entail planning, calculation and implementation.