Daily Standup Meetings: Are They Right For Your Remote Team?

Question: When was the last time you left a business meeting and thought, “Yes, that was amazing! I wish we could do this every day!” Answer: NEVER.

The general consensus is that meetings are lame. But that hasn’t stopped us from scheduling 55 million of them every day in the United States. Why? Because, lame as they might be, meetings are necessary. Without them most teams wouldn’t be able to function.

So what’s the answer? Are we doomed to attend boring, unproductive meetings for the rest of our lives? Nope! All you need to do is host a daily standup meeting.

In this article, we explain what daily standup meetings are, why you should host them, how to host them, and a few pitfalls to avoid once you do. We have lots to get to so let’s dive in!

What is a Standup Meeting?

A standup meeting is a quick gathering that allows team members to share work-related updates. They’re typically held while attendees stand, which ensures brevity. During each meeting, team members are asked three questions to help keep them on track: 

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. Is there anything blocking your progress?

Daily standup meetings, sometimes referred to as daily scrums, originated in agile software development circles, but are now used by a wide variety of teams.

Should You Host a Daily Standup Meeting?

Nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks, “Wow, I can’t wait to attend that meeting at work today!” In fact, most of us think, “Ugh, not again!” when a new meeting is scheduled.

Most meetings are a complete waste of time. So we understand if the words “daily standup meeting” make you feel nauseous. But here’s the thing: standup meetings aren’t like the regular, boring, and unproductive meetings you’re used to attending. Here’s why:

  • Standup Meetings Are Fast: Say goodbye to hour-long snoozefests. If you can spare 15 minutes, you can attend a daily standup meeting. Yes, 15 minutes is all you need!
  • Standup Meetings Are Focused: Attendees arrive, answer the three questions listed above, and then get back to work. That’s it, there’s no opportunity for distraction.
  • Standup Meetings Promote Teamwork: When team members give each other updates on a regular basis, they help build a more collaborative work environment.

So, should you host a daily standup meeting? If you want to boost productivity and maintain a positive working environment for your employees, the answer is “yes!” 

How to Conduct Daily Standup Meetings Online

Now that we know what daily standup meetings are and why they’re beneficial, let’s talk about how remote and/or distributed teams can conduct them effectively. Here are five tips to help:

Use the Right Video Conferencing Software

It doesn’t matter what kind of remote meeting you’re hosting—a quick standup or a days-long business conference—meeting software is important. Choose a tool that:

  • Is Super Easy to Use: Your daily standup meetings should be fast. You don’t want to waste time asking your team, “Wait, how do I share my screen again?” or something similar. Choose a video conferencing software that’s easy to operate.
  • Has the Features You Need: The right features will make your standups more productive and impactful. Look for video conferencing software that allows you to share your screen, draw on digital whiteboards, and easily record your get-togethers.
  • Won’t Break the Bank: The video conferencing software you use should fit your budget. Choose an intuitive tool that has the features you need and a cost you can afford. There are plenty of quality solutions on the market that fit this criteria.

Speaking of quality solutions, give ClickMeeting a try.

Our video conferencing and webinar tool is used by thousands of happy customers in 125 countries around the world. It comes with all the features you need to host a successful daily standup meeting. And it will only cost your company $25 a month on an annual plan.

The best part is, you can try ClickMeeting for FREE right now. Sign up for our 30-day trial (no credit card required) to see if our solution is right for you and your team.

Create a Daily Standup Meeting Agenda

The best meetings start at specific times, end at specific times, and cover specific pieces of information. In other words, they have an agenda that meeting hosts stick to.

Daily standups are no different. Choose a regular time to host them—preferably in the morning. Make sure they end 15 minutes after they start. And have every attendee answer the three questions we outlined in the “What is a Standup Meeting” section of this article.

Here’s an example of a daily standup meeting agenda:

  • 9:00 AM – All attendees sign in to your company’s video conferencing software.
  • 9:05 AM – Your daily standup meeting begins and the three questions are asked.
  • 9:20 AM – Your daily standup meeting ends and each attendees returns to work.

Daily standup meetings should be simple and concise. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Simply create an agenda that resembles the one we just shared and then stick to it.

Eliminate Unrelated and/or Unproductive Discussions

The only way you can host a 15-minute standup is to “cut the fat.” You need to eliminate all discussions that don’t pertain to the three questions you ask each attendee.

To do this, try writing unrelated topics on a whiteboard behind your camera. Then invite team members to talk with you about them after the meeting if they feel the need. Or, post the topics in a team Slack channel to be discussed there, instead of during your standup.

Here’s what the dialogue should look like between you and a team member during a standup:

  • You: What did you do yesterday?
  • Team Member: I cataloged all responses to our support survey and organized them in a Google Sheet so that the information is easily accessible.
  • You: What will you do today?
  • Team Member: I’m going to analyze the data with Jack and work with him to update our content strategy for the rest of the year.
  • You: Any problems in your way?
  • Team Member: Not at this point, but I would like another set of eyes to look over the content strategy once we’re finished with it.

And then it’s off to the next team member. If you can keep your exchanges as short and concise as this, you’ll be able to host extremely successful daily standup meetings.

Always End Your Daily Standups With Next Steps

Ask one of your attendees to take notes during your standup. That way the action items discussed are properly tracked and everybody knows exactly what to do when they sign off. This will also help keep team members in the loop when they can’t make meetings.

Now, most of the action items will be your team’s answers to the second question: “What will you do today?” which makes the note taking process extremely easy. But don’t forget to write down any additional action items that pop up during your daily standup meetings, too. 

For example, if you ask Jenny, “Are there any problems standing in your way?” and she responds, “Yes, I could use some help combing through last week’s reports,” then Sarah says, “I can give you a hand,” make sure the action items gets added to Sarah’ workload.

Follow Up After Your Daily Standup Meeting

Finally, check in with your team after your agile standup meeting. Make sure they have everything they need to complete their tasks. Ask if they’ve run into any additional problems since you last talked. And make yourself available to help if need be.

You do NOT want to be too hands-on or make your employees feel like they’re being micromanaged. But a quick follow-up email will likely be appreciated.

This kind of communication will also help hold your team accountable. If they know that you’re going to check in with them a few hours after the standup, they’ll probably be more motivated to work hard and accomplish their tasks in a timely manner.

Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Daily Standup Meeting

Daily standup meetings have the potential to transform your company into a productivity powerhouse—but only if you avoid the common pitfalls outlined below:

Don’t Be Late

Your team’s time is valuable. Don’t waste it by arriving at your daily standup meeting after it’s scheduled to start. Show up on time and make sure you’re always fully prepared.

Tardiness shows a lack of respect for your employees and the meeting in general. If you can’t be bothered to arrive at the appointed time, why should your team feel the need to? It’s a really slippery slope to go down. It’s much better to just arrive on time.

Of course, life happens. If you know you’re going to be late, consider canceling the meeting and connecting with everyone again via video conferencing software the next day.

Don’t Sit Down

They’re called standups for a reason…

If you sit down, you’ll get comfortable—and comfort is the enemy of your daily standup meeting. Why? Because you’re much more likely to prioritize a quick, productive meeting when you’re uncomfortable than you are when you’re in a more agreeable position.

Remember, standup meetings should be short and to the point. Standing is one of the best ways to make sure your daily get-togethers don’t drag on for too long.  

Don’t Ignore Employee Schedules

If you manage a remote team, there’s a good chance that you have employees in different time zones. Keep this in mind when scheduling your daily standup meetings.

Take Jim, for example, who lives in New York City and manages two remote employees: Gary, who lives in Los Angeles, and Laura, who lives in London. If Jim were to schedule his standup for 9AM EST, Gary would have to be up and ready by 6AM PST due to the time difference.

Jim would be better off scheduling his daily standup meetings for 12PM Eastern, which translates to 9AM Pacific for Gary and 5PM in London, where Laura lives.

Here’s the point: pick a time for your daily standup meeting that works for everybody on your remote team. That way each team member feels valued.

Host Better Meetings

Daily standup meetings will improve your team’s productivity, once you learn how to host them. After reading this article, you know exactly how to make your standups the best they can be. You also know about a few of the most common pitfalls you should avoid.

All that’s left to do is schedule your first standup meeting! We’re confident you and your remote team will love the extra time it affords you every day.

Looking for a quality video conference software to host your daily standup meetings on? Try ClickMeeting for FREE right now. Our solution is easy to use, packed with features, and loved by thousands of happy customers. Click here to start your 30-day trial.

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