Daily stand-up meetings are a well-known agile ritual, and it's essential to learn how to organize daily standup meetings because the routine promotes team alignment, progress sharing, accountability, and speedy problem-solving. These meetings are an essential component of any modern business as they aid in ensuring that everyone on the team is on the same page.
Remote teams do not have the luxury of proximity; as a result, they often encounter several problems associated with a lack of communication with team members, such as missed deadlines, appointments with clients, misinterpretation of roles or tasks, and so on. However, with regular team meetings, such problems can be avoided. Hence the need for stand-ups.
Most workers detest meetings. This is because they are frequently ineffective and take up much time (the typical professional spends three hours each week in a conference room). However, stand-up meetings are short and have guidelines to ensure that issues are effectively discussed. Organizing these kinds of meetings for remote teams will improve their chances of performing productively.
This article comes with an outline of how to organize daily stand-ups for remote teams.
How to Organize Daily Standup Meetings for Remote Teams
1. Choose the Appropriate Meeting Frequency for your team
While some teams hold stand-up meetings every day, others do so once a week or every other day. The frequency of the stand-up meetings will vary depending on the needs of each team and will be influenced by several variables, such as team members' time zones, schedules, workloads, and deliverables. To determine the cadence that would be most effective, seek feedback from everyone who would be there.
2. Schedule the Stand-up Meeting for a Regular Time
No matter how frequently you meet, it's critical that your stand-up meeting be held at the same time each time so that your team can make plans around it. It's crucial to pick a time when everyone will be readily available. Stand-up meetings are frequently held first thing in the morning, but you might need to set one for later in the day due to the difference in time zones of remote workers.
3. Choose A Communication Tool
Remote team members do not have the luxury of being present in the same place. Fortunately, the concept of the stand-up need not be abandoned because of a lack of proximity. Digital solutions are available that can keep teams connected and projects on schedule. The additional advantage is that many of these tools are free or cost little, so employing them won't break the bank.
So when planning a stand-up meeting for a remote team, select a communication tool that will be used in these meetings. A video or telephone conference is a good option. Also, endeavor to stick to one or two communication tools to keep up with familiarity.
4. Have a Definite Meeting Leader
Every meeting should have a leader in charge of ensuring it is productive, and everyone present should be aware of this leader. It could be a stakeholder, the departmental head, or a project manager. To increase participation and get new insights, some teams favor leadership rotation. Asking your team for suggestions on the best approach to structure leadership is a terrific way to engage everyone.
5. Keep it Brief
Short meetings allow for a more focused discussion of important issues. They also allow teammates with a lot on their plate to carry on with their day on time.
According to experts, stand-up meetings shouldn't take more than 15 minutes, and each team member should aim to talk for no more than one minute at a time. Your stand-up meeting may be brief or lengthy, depending on the size of your team. To ensure that everyone has equal time to talk, it is a good idea to set a timer for each speaker or assign someone to be the timekeeper.
6. Clearly State the Meeting's Objectives
Even though stand-up meetings tend to be informal, the structure should still be there. Each team member typically shares three essential pieces of information during stand-ups:
- The task they've completed since the last meeting
- What they intend to finish before the following meeting
- Challenges they're facing in the completion of the current task.
All team members' challenges should be briefly discussed, but if any challenge requires a longer conversation, it should happen after the stand-up meeting.
7. Make use of Templates to inform and direct your next stand-up
The stand-up meeting doesn't have to be boring simply because you only have 15 minutes and three questions to respond to. Templates can help you with daily huddles by assisting you in creating agendas and enjoyable check-in activities and centering your priorities with simple visual cues. These templates not only facilitate teamwork but also assist teams in collaborating.
i. The Team Stand-up template
This template is a terrific place to start and a quick and easy method to get to the core of a successful stand-up (the three questions). You can shift tasks from one column in the template to another when loading the backlog, planning the kickoff activity, and visually outlining the stand-up process.
A Kanban board is included in the Team Stand-up template to provide a more complete picture of the tasks that team members are currently working on. The team leads who are just beginning to incorporate daily stand-ups into their process will benefit most from using this template.
ii. The Ultimate Team Stand-up template
The Team Stand-up and Ultimate Team Stand-up templates are extremely similar, but the Ultimate Team Stand-Up template supersedes it. It's most useful for team leaders or facilitators who wish to enhance the daily stand-up routine but have already established it. It includes a check-in activity and emphasizes work priorities, which team leaders or facilitators may find more pressing than a check-in with three questions.
The Ultimate Team Stand-Up template is a little unconventional because each person may only choose one main priority for the day, making this much more concentrated. It serves as a fantastic substitute for a typical stand-up for team members who need a productive strategy to maintain alignment because it functions more like a check-in.
iii. Daily Scrum Meeting Template
This stand-up template was created expressly for Scrum teams; however, it is more challenging and natural for daily stand-ups than the first two unless you also utilize a Scrum framework.
The Sprint backlog, the In Progress tasks, the Completed tasks, and the Blocked column are all conventional Scrum task columns added to this traditional Scrum stand-up template, which also employs a check-in activity. This template is for you if you use an Agile framework and integrate Scrum into your workflow.
8. Stop engaging in unnecessary or fruitless conversations
Even the most successful, laser-focused teams occasionally wander off in unrelated directions. The stand-up meeting's facilitator is responsible for maintaining its agenda. There are various ways to do this:
- Write unrelated subjects on a whiteboard or send a memo containing these unrelated topics to each remote team member before the meeting starts or at the beginning of the meeting. Members who are interested in these unrelated matters can stay and talk about it after the stand-up meeting.
- Post the subjects on a group channel so people can talk about them all day.
9. Share the Minutes of the Meeting
To ensure that everyone on the team is aware of what needs to be done and that tasks are given to handle any barriers, someone must take notes during the stand-up meeting on any action items that arise from the conversation. This will also make it easier for any team members who couldn't attend to communicate with the rest of the group. The meeting leader should ideally be someone other than the one doing this so that they may concentrate on running a successful meeting.
10. Pay attention to any physically challenged staff
To stand up is the whole point of stand-up meetings. This way, attendees are kept motivated; otherwise, they can grow complacent. However, not every team member needs to stand up because it's a “stand-up” meeting. Employees with back issues, expectant mothers, or those who face other physical obstacles could find it challenging to stand for prolonged periods. Giving everyone on the team a chance to express any reservations about standing will promote inclusivity.
11. Set Some Time for Feedback
You can take advantage of amazing ideas and problem-solving solutions if you conduct daily stand-ups without asking your team for comments. Set aside time to gauge the group's reaction to the outlined tasks.
For instance, Scrum methodology employs a follow-up meeting known as the Sprint retrospective. The team's input is used to help the meeting facilitator plan better meetings in the future. Whether or not you utilize Scrum, you could follow the same procedure for your stand-up.
If your feedback session takes longer than 15 minutes, move it outside your stand-up. But if there is still time for discussion in your meeting, get feedback on how it could have gone more smoothly or gather ideas to give the entire team more authority. With this kind of criticism, you can have a more inclusive, productive conversation that can benefit your subsequent stand-up.
Stand-up meetings are short team meetings held regularly; regularity encourages team alignment, sharing of progress, accountability, and quick problem-solving. These meetings help to ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page, making them a crucial part of any modern organization. Remote teams often encounter many challenges due to constant communication, so organizing stand-up meetings for these teams is essential. These stand-up meetings are brief (usually 15 minutes) and come with guidelines to help the team stay on track, thus ensuring effectiveness.
The importance of stand-ups cannot be overemphasized. One of the factors of a team's productivity is constant and proper communication; having a stand-up can ensure this. This will help prevent or address most of the challenges remote teams encounter. I have covered 11 steps to properly organize a stand-up for a remote team in this article. Following these steps will ensure an effective and well-organized stand-up meeting.
Each organization, and each team, is unique, and creating a collaborative culture takes time. However, using these strategies might help you cultivate that culture.