Just like any other agile team, we meet each day to discuss blockers and what we planned to work on. The goal of the meeting is to get everyone on the same page and make it clear when there is friction. We even tried async written standups. Then we cancelled standups all together.
What?! No standup?! But how does that work?
Surprisingly well, actually. At madewithlove, we hire good communicators. Because of this, we don’t fell the need for standups to force communication. The daily huddle is a must have for dysfunctional teams. It forces them to discuss what they are working on. It forces them to identify and seek help for blockers. It forces them to talk to their colleagues. But oftentimes people are distracted or just tune out the content. It’s another distraction to deal with before getting back to code.
So how does our team end up communicating? Well, if there is a blocking issue, they use Slack to immediately seek help in a public channel. Team members jump in and help when needed and if the problem or solution isn’t too clear then they switch to Zoom chat. Sometimes you have to sync up even when you work asynchronously. Don’t forget to document the outcome of these meetings.
Meet me near the old factory at 3
How do people coordinate their work? They have ad hoc meetings when needed. This might sound like a standup but instead of being every day at a static time, people meet as needed and they self organize. For instance, immediately after our last sprint started, the client and API groups met and decided on the request and response formats. After this short meeting, it was clear what the obligations were to each other. And if it’s not clear or something changes, then another meeting can be set up quickly. The work is truly collaborative.
At the end of the day, we have Slackbot announce a thread for anything super important that happened during the day. It mostly goes unused though, since, most importantly, we don’t use it to answer the three traditional questions. Instead, it should be treated like a diary. I do prefer Basecamp 3’s system of forcing this content out via email since updates can easily get lost in Slack. For the reader, it’s much easier to have it delivered rather than go hunting. There are some slackbot’s that offer this feature too but we haven’t found one that we love.
If your team is looking for the next way it can evolve, consider ditching the standup. You’ll need good communicators but, by removing some of the process, you’ll create more room for collaboration. Pretty soon your team will be ticking like a Swiss clock.