The Ultimate Guide to Stand Up Meetings a.k.a Team Huddles

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
Feb 9, 2022
Updated on
May 23, 2022
Table of Content

While remote work is definitely a convenient and flexible option for organizations and their employees, this unforeseen change has been far from perfect. Moreover, for firms with no experience, rapidly going remote can be a daunting experience. 

However, team connectivity is an essential pillar of agile methodology, and it has been proven that teams that work collectively are more effective and efficiently. Working remotely requires excellent and transparent communication to foster this success and ensure seamless collaboration. This is where stand up meetings come in handy.

Here is a quick roundup of the fundamental practices and tips regarding remote daily meetings to ensure that you optimize your remote teams' efficiency, accountability, and transparency.

What Is A StandUp meeting?

Stand up meetings, also known as team huddles, are short gatherings that aim to keep the team aligned and resolve issues quickly.

The meeting brings employees together —usually a team at a time— to plan, discuss, and move a project along. However, while other meetings can be pretty formal dumps of information in large gatherings, stand up meetings are about keeping small groups well-informed of the issues and exchanging short-term progress.

Team huddles have become a significant part of agile teams working in sprints. They enable managers and scrum masters to stay on track with the tasks being done, the bottlenecks, and the work scheduled during a sprint. 

When To Run a Stand Up Meeting?

Generally, these stand up meetings are 10 to 15 minutes long and happen during early working hours. However, the ritual of it is quite important, so it is good to run these meetings at the same time at the start of the day to give everyone a clear idea of what that day holds. But, if your team is in different time zones, choose an hour when most of your team members are beginning their day. 

That way, all the involved members can align on the critical tasks before working.

How To Run a Daily Standup?

When done correctly, daily stand ups can be an excellent productivity driver for your organization. In addition, when your team works collectively in a way that encourages collaboration and communication, you will find that solving and identifying business issues becomes more stress-free than ever before. 

So if you are trying to get your remote team to be more engaged and interactive, here is how to run remote team huddles:

  • Think about evening vs. morning. Some teams also refer to these as sunrise and sunset meetings. While some people prefer planning for the following day in the evening, others want to conduct it early in the morning before starting their work.
  • Give proper infrastructure to remote teams. You should provide good internet connectivity, web cameras, and laptops to the team members. In addition to this, it is essential to spend some time encouraging and training people regarding these processes.
  • Don’t include a lot of questions. Asking too many questions can defeat the purpose of the meeting and confuse the members. Stick to 3 or 4 questions to keep your remote daily standups effective.
  • Focus on how and what. For example, if there is a point of debate and contention about a task (like should you fix a specific bug today), and the conversation is elongating, ask for a side-bar. Then, motivate the involved people to meet individually and sort it out!

Templates / Formats For Standups

Here is a good template for your remote daily standup meeting to follow.

  • Start time. Decide on a start time depending on the local office time, members’ availability, and where your remote standup meeting originates from.
  • Short physical activity - 30 seconds. This is completely optional, but it can be daunting for people before level-setting their task work. A few companies have embraced this to help the meeting flow faster and better
  • Begin. Select the member who entered the meeting room last or maybe the person closest to the videoconference or remote technology
  • Get the answers. With the time limit of 30 to 60 seconds, every team member should have answers to the following questions:
  • What did they do yesterday?
  • What will they do today?
  • What issues stand in their way?
  • Closing/end. End your remote daily standup meeting with a cheer, reminder of your organization’s mission, and team clap

Every month, the host of a remote daily standup, usually the project or account manager, should meet with senior executives to discuss what is working well and what isn’t with the meeting. Then, try to improve and streamline the process and the plan by soliciting feedback to benefit everyone.

Tips And Tricks For Standup Meetings

The COVID-19 outbreak has propelled companies to go virtual and manage teams digitally while re-evaluating traditional processes. As a result, many of these companies started doing remote standup meetings. When you aren’t able to gather members in the same space physically, it changes the meeting dynamics drastically. 

So to conduct effective and fruitful daily standup for remote teams, here are some tips:

  • Follow an asynchronous format  to be inclusive of various time zones, personalities, work styles, and schedules
  • Use team-building or icebreaker questions to enable every team member to get to know each other and connect, even when they are far apart
  • Make it possible and easy for folks to take part– try leveraging communication channels that your team already uses to make engagement seamless
  • Motivate and inspire the participants to share more valuable context to make sure that everyone has a proper and accurate understanding of the work, without requiring you to track members down for follow-up discussions
  • Establish a solid recorded account of your remote standups so that it’s easier for anyone in the team or project to access information or get in touch with the right folks when they have to

Why Are Remote Standup Meetings Important?

The primary reason to run standup meetings/team huddles is that commonly and unfortunately— only around 8% of managers/leaders are good at aligning strategy with implementation. This creates a messy situation when it comes to task prioritization.

Recurring stand up meetings provide teams with a way to gauge what is happening in the project and align and plan their routine work accordingly while removing blockers.

Daily standups help align all team members on their specific objectives and goals, ensuring that everyone works in a coordinated way. In addition, it’s an excellent opportunity for participants to share ideas for improvement and their concerns and, most importantly, connect and bond as a team.

These meetings allow every team member to be recognized and heard, and for leaders, it keeps them updated on the progress of their teams. Also, these meetings are an excellent chance for getting everyone on the same page while checking in with each other to ensure that everyone is working collectively.

Furthermore, one of the other significant benefits of these meetings is that they keep the team organized. They ensure that all the members move in the same direction and concentrate on the core activities and objectives. Moreover, it creates a clear line and system of communication amongst team members, avoiding miscommunication.

From a leader’s standpoint, daily standups enable them to delegate tasks more efficiently and effectively. In addition, all team members are more accountable for their assigned work, as they will have to tell about their progress in standup meetings. This accountability factor keeps the team structured and allows the team leader to have a transparent idea of what is going on.

Wrapping Up

With Covid’s new work arrangements, remote work culture has found a solid foothold in businesses and industries across the globe. Therefore, it is imperative to establish a work culture that promotes and encourages remote employee engagement. 

The best way to keep your remote teams connected is to keep them aligned with shared goals. For example, with remote daily meetings/remote team huddles, you allow your employees to converse with the team while keeping track of the developments along the way.

It’s possible to create a collaborative culture with better communication for your remote teams with the tips mentioned above.

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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