Jump straight to the “wrapping up” conclusion for a TL;DR
Daily standups, or huddles (as we like to call them 🐧) are short meetings where everyone in a team can reflect on yesterday’s progress, share blockers and set their intentions for the day. They enable each team member to be kept in the loop and to stay aligned on the goals they’re all working towards.
Usually, standups follow the same format to ensure consistency and to limit the time it takes to conduct these daily check-ins (also why they originally involved standing up, the discomfort also limits the time). The most common questions asked in a standup meeting are:
Here at Questmate, we adapted those questions to suit our own needs. You can do the same with our Standup Quest, which allows you to automatically assign daily standups to your team members on a schedule that works for you. You can then auto post the results wherever your team prefers to hang out (e.g. Team Slack channel).
Ever since the 2020 totally upended the way we worked and shifted us all to a fully remote model, many teams adapted and came up with processes to help them collaborate more effectively while working from home.
Now that things have opened up again, many teams have changed the way they work so they can get the best of remote and in-office working. It’s more common for teams to follow a Hybrid model now than ever before 🏡🏢
Therefore, it’s incredibly important for companies to explore options that set teams up for success in a hybrid model too, not just work from home or fully co-located models.
According to Hummel et al (2013), the most effective way to collaborate as a hybrid team is to employ a mix of synchronous and asynchronous strategies. In other words, it’s best to make space for your team to meet face-to-face (in-person or over Zoom) while also providing a way for them to touch base more flexibly, via tools designed for distributed use-cases.
Here at Questmate, we’re always looking for ways that we can level up our team processes. We want to make our remote members feel as part of the team as our co-located members 🥰 So we also use a mix of sync and async strategies for connecting as a team.
Synchronous standups are the original kind of standup, where everyone meets together face-to-face at a specific time (in-person or via Zoom), most commonly in the mornings to share their progress updates ☀️
The pros of face-to-face standups are clear: you get the immediate feedback of seeing someone’s reaction to what you’re saying. From a team productivity standpoint, it’s much more efficient to have everyone in the same room, able to communicate with each other directly.
But there are also some drawbacks to synchronous standups 😱 For starters, they can be disruptive. If someone is in the middle of a task, and they’re suddenly interrupted for a standup, it can throw them off and make it difficult to get back into the groove.
Similarly, when teams are distributed across different locations and timezones, it can be pretty difficult to get everyone online for a daily standup. A morning standup in Germany 🇩🇪 is an afternoon standup in Sydney 🇦🇺 and an evening standup in some parts of America 🇺🇸
Unlike synchronous standups, asynchronous standups usually happen over a more extended period of time, usually via written communication ✍️ They’re a type of meeting that doesn’t require everyone to be in the same room at the same time.
Async standups are great for teams that are spread out across different time zones 🌎 because updates can be shared at a time that works best for each team member. They also minimize distractions, since people can read updates on their own time.
The downside is that they can be a little less personal, since you’re not getting everyone’s immediate feedback in real time. There’s also a higher requirement for accountability when it comes to async updates. Team members need to follow up with each other to avoid missing or forgetting to provide an update.
Now that we know the pros and cons of face-to-face and remote standups, it’s time to take a look at the things we can do to get the best from both worlds 🏡🏢
Our Daily Standup Quest has become a team-wide intention-setting ritual. It’s the first thing we do every morning (besides caffeinating). When we’re all in the same timezone, we tend to fill out the standup Quests around the same time. Then, we read each others responses and jump on a Zoom call to chat about them.
When we’re in different timezones, we’ll still read each others responses when we get notified of their arrival on Slack. Then whenever we find a time that’s good for everyone to sync up (less frequently than our co-located dynamics), we’ll scan through the past daily standup responses to refresh our minds of anything we’re curious about asking/exploring further with our team.
Either way, we still get the benefit of a consistent intention-setting routine, and don’t have to wait until the next global check-in to keep up-to-date on everyone else’s awesome progress 🥳
Since supplementing our team huddle routine with our Daily Standup Quest, we started noticing that our in-person/zoom conversations have become even more valuable. We now join team meetings having already articulated our own intentions, blockers and plans, and having read everyone else’s.
Our focus has shifted from trying to express our individual thoughts to focusing fully on what everyone else is saying. In the same amount of time we’d otherwise spend on sharing our own stuff, we can now deep dive into each others thoughts and share feedback and suggestions. Team meetings feel like real opportunities for collaboration now 🥰
One of the really cool things about using our Daily Standup Quest, is that we can browse through all of the completed standups from everyone in the team in the Questmate app. This provides a really clear record of all of the progress we have collectively made towards our goals (check out our team alignment article for how we set our team goals).
We’ve also set up a completion action to automatically post each of our responses to our team Slack channel. So, we can also scroll through the team channel to see the history. I personally use both. Sometimes we want to see just the standups without comment threads in-between in the Questmate app. Other times we like seeing the comments and emoji reactions in our team Slack channel.
Here at Questmate, we use our Daily Standup Quest in combination with face-to-face (in-person or zoom) meetings to get the best of both worlds: