How to do a stand up in the context of remote work

Before we start talking about the best way of doing a remote stand up, it’s probably worth explaining what a stand up is and why we use them. Depending on your organization, you might call your stand up a variety of different names, including a daily scrum, huddle, or touchpoint. Regardless of its name, the function is the same.

What is the daily stand up?

Daily stand-ups are a standard tool used in Agile software development teams. But, its uses and benefits aren’t restricted to just those organizations. Think of the stand up as a short operational meeting that keeps the team informed and connected.

Normally the developers, product owners, and the scrum master are all present for the daily stand-up or scrum. To stay as focused and efficient as possible, the meeting will usually revolve around some main questions:

What work was done yesterday? What work is scheduled for today? What are the blockers I need to clear?

Daily stand-ups help improve communication within a team, but perhaps most importantly, they help identify bottlenecks and issues that could cause a project deliverable to be missed. By keeping the development team up-to-date with all of the moving pieces, they are better able to identify problems and make decisions.

At this point, you might be wondering why is it called a “stand up?” Well, simply put, the meeting is conducted standing up! The stand-up meeting should be held at the beginning of the day and only needs to last 15 minutes. By keeping everyone standing and keeping the meeting short, the risk of timewasting is dramatically cut.

Understanding dependencies

A stand up works exceptionally well when project dependencies are easily identifiable. One of the best methods of accomplishing this goal is using a shared workspace like a wallboard or task board with different colored post-it notes or Cacoo, if conducting the meeting remotely. By making and using visual tools, everyone in the team is able to focus on a specific issue and understand how it fits into the bigger picture of the workflow.

Using this strategy, individuals responsible for a specific task are able to discuss details of that task moving the item forward. If specific roadblocks are identified, the team as a whole can suggest solutions with discussions that require more detail and analysis being held offline.

By doing this every day, issues and obstacles are quickly identified and resolved; new ideas are tabled for future inclusion, and the team in its entirety understands the overall status of the work being done.

The impact of remote work on stand up

The benefits of stand-ups are manyfold. They help align the team on the goals and objectives, ensuring that everyone is working in a coordinated manner. In addition, it is an opportunity for members to share problems and ideas for improvement and, perhaps most importantly, bond as a team.

However, working remotely impacts many of these areas. When working with task boards, for example, it is difficult to move the post-it notes from the To-Do board to the Doing or Done board when you cannot physically interact with them. Added to this is the psychological disconnection team members face when disconnected from their colleagues and peers.

Finally, with remote work, team members are unable to evaluate body language. Body language is

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