Taken from the world of Agile and Scrum, the daily stand-up meeting—also known as the daily scrum or huddle—is one of the most impactful and beneficial activities that you can do with your team on a consistent basis. It provides the opportunity to keep your team aligned and working in the same direction while keeping communication flowing and ensuring that no critical information falls through the cracks. This is especially important when working remotely in a distributed team. The meeting is held each day at the same time with the same group of people. As with most recurring meetings, it is a good idea to keep the schedule consistent at the same rhythm: start on time and end on time.
Be sure to communicate the agenda ahead of the scheduled meeting, especially when you are first starting this process so that your team knows what to expect. You can include the agenda in the calendar invite with meeting bridge details to help keep it all organized.
The agenda for the meeting is structured around three key questions:
- What have you completed since the last meeting?
- What do you plan to complete by the next meeting?
- What is getting in your way?
For us, these three simple questions have forever changed how our team communicates and works on a daily basis. Generally, these meetings should take no more than 15 minutes. However, when you have a remote team, I find that it is useful to allow people some extra time to socialize especially since there is no physical presence and water cooler talks cannot take place. Our daily meetings run for about 30 minutes, and we find that it is just enough time for a team of 6-7 people.
It might be helpful to group these meetings by functional teams that need to work together on a regular basis. If you have a company of 25+ people, it would not be practical to have a meeting with everyone there that lasts only 15-30 minutes. Use your judgement to determine what makes the most sense.
- Keeps everyone on the team aligned on priorities.
- Provides an opportunity for members to voice issues or concerns.
- Gives clarity as to who is working on which tasks.
How to do it
- Schedule a recurring daily 15-30 minute video conference call with your team.
- Keep the meeting set for the same time and duration for consistency.
- Allow time for each person to speak one at a time.
- Once each person finishes their part, let them “pass the ball” to the next person.
- Avoid discussing issues in great detail during the meeting. Take it offline.
- Keep it short and sweet.
Use video. Although virtual meetings don’t quite replace a meeting that is done in-person, using video helps bridge that gap and helps people feel more connected to each other as opposed to just using audio.
Use a shared notebook for meeting notes like Microsoft OneNote, which is included with Microsoft 365. This provides a digital medium to share meeting discussion points and action items with all participants.
Record the meeting. If you use Microsoft Teams, you can record the meeting and store it for free in Microsoft Stream to share with anyone in your team and company. This is helpful when not everyone can attend the meeting.