How to improve Daily for Remote Teams
The Daily Stand-up for Remote Teams is the main channel of connecting to each other while they start building a relationship. This meeting will be for some of them the only discussion platform during the day until they get to know each other and reach out to one another more often.
Compared to the Daily Stand-up for co-located teams, the Daily for remote teams needs more attention and preparation, to make sure the connection is good, the web-cam works and the team board is shared.
The Web-Cam is the most important thing for a remote team. Sharing the web-cam during the meetings helps the team collaborate better, be more focused and increase the energy level. It supports one of the Agile principles: The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation (Agile Principles).In a face-2-face meeting we are able to see our reactions, face contractions, smile or anger and additionally the background that can anytime start a conversation.
Before the team starts the remote meeting, it is necessary to have a team AGREEMENT on the channels of communication, to make sure everybody has access to the communication platform, Skype, Zoom, Teams, etc. In the same time, the team should agree to sharing the camera, or using a meeting room with a web-cam, that can help the team members see each other wherever they are located.
While doing the Daily Stand-up, the Team has to see the virtual story board in order to easily see the progress or bottlenecks. Additionally, the board helps the team to create more transparency and to connect the members’ discussions to the stories on the board.
No Stand-up! Whoever is joining the Daily from his/her laptop at home or from the workplace will not stand-up and it is strange to have someone standing up in front of the Laptop. In case you have an elevating desk this might be possible, or in case part of the team is collocated and is joining from a meeting room, standing up is a possibility.
Tips to improve your remote Daily:
When a new team is formed, it is the Scrum Master that shows the virtual story board. After some time (depending on the team: on average two weeks) the SM encourages the team members to take over the board. You may nominate a Board Champion/Sheriff/Fairy to do it for one week and rotate with colleagues. Many people are a bit afraid at the beginning as they did not do it before, but once it is practiced, the team members will not have a problem to offer to share the board. In case one team member shows all the time, please ask that person to retire/delegate the task in the team.
Introduce the 4th question to the Daily Meeting: How do you feel today? This question will support and create a better atmosphere, bound people closer together and resonate as a team. It is a small niche to getting to know each other while we are distributed over countries/continents.
Agree with the team members on a general back-up channel (email, slack, sms, watsapp, etc) in case your main communication channel breaks. This is valid for all the other remote meetings.
In case you have more people in one location, get a BUDDY to help the Scrum master with setting up the connection/meeting room in their location. The Buddy could rotate every sprint.If some team members do not want to share the web-cam, one possibility would be to book a meeting room at his /her office
Do not PUSH people to share the web-cam, INVITE them and point out the benefits of it. A push will always create resistance. You can play some games when they are collocated and get some people behind some drapes or behind a foam board to simulate the remoteness. This is a funny exercise and they will understand easy the challenge.
Play the Daily Stand-up Game and encourage the people online to show the cards in the camera. The Scrum Master should make sure to involve everyone while playing the game, in a way or another, e.g. by pointing out the most Agile location, or the best headphones in the world (the biggest ears to listen).
Each speaker nominates the next one to avoid predictability and order. In this way anyone can speak anytime, so they need to listen carefully. There is a great game that helps the team learn to listen: One team member talks and the next one starts his talk with the last word used by the previous colleague. This is a very funny game and teaches them that listening requires more effort than just hearing. You can do this game with both co-located and remote teams.
Advice team members to join the meeting a few minutes earlier to make sure the equipment works. If all is fine you may engage in funny conversations and create a habit to join earlier and have a social chatIf just some Team members are remote, everyone should join remote, with the request to join from a quiet place, otherwise there will be difficult to “Listen"
A nightmare remote Daily:
- No web-cams, just an older photo
- Microphone is ON: people are tapping on the computer while they should be listening to their colleagues or visiting the toilet
- We hear the dog/grass cutting machine/kids crying
- No virtual story board is shared, everyone speaks without visualising the progress
- People speaking one over another
- Disconnections and pauses, losing some team members on the way
1. Do all your team members have access to the agreed communication channels (chat, voice, video)?
2. Do they all share the web-cam?
3. Do you have a back-up communication channel agreed with the team, in case the main channel breaks?
4. Do you have any meeting room available with integrated web-cams?
5. If more team members are grouped in one location, do you have a helpful group BUDDY to support the meeting organiser?
6. Does your team show the virtual story board/Kanban board on its own?
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