Daily Standup for Remote Workers: The Most Important 15 Minutes of the Day

Annalena Simonis, Thursday 07 May 2020 | Reading time: 6 min.

“Daily scrum”, “15-minute meeting”, “daily check-in” or just “daily”. Short, precise communication is particularly important when working from home. Read here how 15 minutes in the morning are already enough to increase the productivity of your team.

Due to the current situation, many project teams have to work from home. In order to enable a structured workflow and to keep track of who has to do what and which tasks still have to be done, there is a simple method: the Daily Standup. The short meeting originally comes from the agile projectmanagement method Scrum. In agile, the Daily Scrum is a central event where the team meets every day to agree on upcoming tasks. But teams that don't work with Scrum can use this meeting as a fixed communication tool as well, because it’s pretty easy to implement and the whole team can benefit from it. Even when working remotely this method can be used in a slightly modified form.


Really, another meeting?

In addition to the challenges of working from home, do you really need another meeting to fill your day? - Yes, particularly because coordinating digital teams is more difficult. This makes it even important to maintain an overview and focus on communication. The Daily supports the systematic and regular exchange within the team. Everyone gets an overview of their own tasks and other team members’ tasks in addition. This increase team motivation, because you can see the project’s daily progress. Thanks to the daily exchange, everyone always keeps an eye on the big picture and strengthens the feeling of working together towards a common goal.


How does the Daily work?

In the Daily Standup according to Scrum, a team coordinates itself daily at the same time in a fixed time frame (time box) and discusses the upcoming tasks of the team. The meeting focuses on three central questions that each team member must answer:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What will you do today?
  3. What blockers stand in your way?

The original Daily Standup actually includes the special feature that - as the name suggests - all team members are standing during the meeting. The standing position emphasizes the dynamic and brevity of the meeting and helps the team members get to the point. You can also include a short physical activity to get the team moving and give the meeting even more drive. Here is a template for a possible agenda for your next Standup Meeting:

  1. Starting time
  2. Short physical activity (optional)
  3. Answer the three questions in order
  4. Conclusion of the meeting with positive impulse

When working from home, some points are difficult to implement, which doesn't make the meeting any less useful.


What you need to pay attention to

Always start the meeting on time and at the same location to avoid pushing the set time limit before the start of the meeting and to develop a routine. Try to keep the daily within the time frame and avoid possible delays or distractions. If necessary, use a time tracking tool or a stopwatch. Adjust the time and duration of the meeting to the needs and size of your project team. We recommend a morning appointment and a maximum duration of 15 minutes. The Daily is not used for brainstorming, status updates or direct exchange with certain colleagues. Only bring in information that is relevant for the entire team and avoid unnecessary details such as appointments. Detailed conversations can be conducted individually or in small groups afterwards.


How to make the Daily work when working remotely

Working from home makes it difficult to implement the Daily Standup under the same conditions as in the office. Follow these three tips to achieve the same effect:

  • Ensure a solid connection via video or phone to avoid delays caused by technical issues which significantly reduce the efficiency of the meeting.
  • Provide easy access, for example, set up a daily calendar invitation with a conference link for all team members involved.
  • Provide regular feedback to all remote workers and work together to make the additional meeting a success, not a burden.


After the Daily is before the Daily

To ensure that the daily meeting fulfils its requirements and does not exceed the time frame, it requires a certain amount of preparation from each individual team member. With the Kanban Board in InLoox it is easy to get an overview of your own tasks. Simply create your own backlog project in InLoox for your daily tasks and determine which tasks still need to be done and which you need to do today.

Organization of the backlog project is done via the Kanban Board (here InLoox Web App)

Picture: InLoox Web App: Organize tasks in Kanban Board

With this overview, you are well prepared for the Daily Standup and can provide precise information on your upcoming tasks to your coworkers. Learn how to set up your personal backlog project in InLoox and also how to plan personal target times: Time Management: How to Work More Porductively with Timeboxing 

Every team handles the Daily differently. Timing, length and regularity can vary according to individual needs and priorities. Try out various things at the beginning and find out how the Daily can be most useful and efficient for everyone in your team.

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