Ineffective daily huddles can lead to discouraged participants, wasted payroll, and poorly-executed sprints.
But the daily huddle meeting doesn’t have to be a waste of everyone’s time. Daily huddles can be a quick and efficient way to make sure everyone is on the right track, to identify blockers early on before they snowball into even bigger issues, and to encourage cross-team problem-solving.
So, how do you run effective daily huddles that your developers won’t dread?
In this post, we answer that by sharing our 5 tips to improve your daily huddle meetings:
- Find a Time That is Convenient for Everyone
- Don’t Solve Problems in Real-Time
- Make Sure Participants Aren’t Interrupting Each Other
- Don’t Feel Pressured to Hold Daily Huddles Every Single Day
- Keep a Record of What’s Discussed
1. Find a Time That Is Convenient for Everyone
Easier said than done, we know.
When scheduling your daily huddle, you’re going to run into calendar clashes and conflicting availabilities. Plus, if you have a remote team, you may have to manage different time zones, which means someone is likely going to join the huddle at an odd time, which isn’t effective.
But finding a time that works for everyone is a significant part of running a more effective meeting.
If you plan a team huddle when someone is busy or stressed, they may not be present enough to provide a detailed update about the blockers they’re facing. If a developer has to join a huddle near the end of the day their time, the whole process starts to feel pointless.
Scheduling is one of the more persistent challenges of running an effective daily huddle, which is why we made Geekbot, our asynchronous daily huddle platform that integrates with your company’s Slack account.
By holding asynchronous daily huddles, you give your team the luxury of answering the three daily huddle questions when it’s convenient for them, leading to more insightful responses.
To get started, you schedule when you want Geekbot to reach out to your team (including the days, the times, and the frequency).
Then Geekbot notifies each participant when it’s time to fill out their responses:
Because our daily huddles are asynchronous, participants can fill out their responses when it’s convenient for them.
If a participant has to take care of a last-minute problem, or is in the middle of a meticulous task, they can snooze Geekbot.
Geekbot will then follow up with them later in the day. You can set Geekbot to either use “smart reminders” or “manual reminders”.
A “smart reminder” is when Geekbot adapts to each participant’s response times. With a “manual reminder”, Geekbot touches base with a participant after a set amount of time has passed.
Note: If you want to use Geekbot to run more effective, asynchronous daily huddles, learn more here and try it free for 30 days.
2. Don’t Solve Problems in Real-Time
Because a successful daily huddle consists of developers sharing their tasks and whatever blockers they’re facing, it sometimes feels like solving that blocker in real-time is just the obvious and most efficient thing to do.
But this is a mistake. If two developers talk back and forth about a specific issue that only pertains to them, then the rest of your team sits idly wasting valuable time.
An effective daily huddle makes it so someone can acknowledge that they can help a fellow team member’s blocker without turning it into a troubleshooting session.
Here’s how that looks when you’re using Geekbot:
As you can see above, in Kate’s daily update, she tagged Brandon about a blocker pertaining to the new landing pages. Now Brandon gets a notification on Slack, and he can create a threaded response on Kate’s update, helping her solve the blocker or get more information so they can schedule a meeting to discuss the issue in more detail (without disrupting other team members).
3. Make Sure Participants Aren’t Interrupting Each Other
It’s important that you set up ground rules for your daily huddle, one of them being that participants shouldn’t talk over or interrupt one another.
If someone is disrupted while they’re talking, in the next daily huddle, they may be less likely to bring up blockers or share important updates. Also, talking over one another can make the standup last longer than needed.
Some teams solve this by having a token that you can throw to someone when it’s their turn to speak. Whoever doesn’t have a token has to be silent while the person with the token finishes their update.
With Geekbot, this is a non-issue as developers fill out their responses individually in Slack. Geekbot then takes their responses and posts them in a Slack channel of your choosing.
Note: In addition to Slack, Geekbot integrates with MS Teams.
4. Don’t Feel Pressured to Hold Daily Huddles Every Single Day
While it’s called a daily huddle, or a daily standup, it’s not critical that you do it every day.
Depending on the specific workload — including your team’s availability and the size of problems that are being worked on — it might make more sense for your team to hold a huddle every other day or once a week.
Plus, teams that are naturally more communicative may not have as much of a need to set aside time every morning for a daily huddle.
Note: With Geekbot, you can customize how often team members answer the huddle questions, and it’s one of the main reasons GitHub’s Services Programs uses our product (as you can read about in this case study).
5. Keep a Record of What’s Discussed
There’s valuable information shared in daily huddles that can be used to help with future sprint retrospectives, performance reviews, and sprint planning.
But plenty of agile teams don’t have a reliable system for recording what was discussed in their daily huddle. Because daily huddles generally happen frequently, there’s going to be a significant amount of data to keep track of.
This is another benefit of using Geekbot’s asynchronous daily huddle software. Since Geekbot integrates with Slack, it’s easy for our software to collect all written responses and turn them into data you can reference at a later date.
For example, with Geekbot, you can identify common bottlenecks that keep forming and work with your team to prevent similar issues in future sprints.
As shown in the screenshot below, you can view and browse through the tasks completed by a user in a month, quarter, semester, or year. Multiple users, as well as search terms and standups can be entered as filters to examine things like what was the evolution of a project with respect to time, and the tasks of the members involved in it.
Plus, you can find data that gives you insight into the daily huddle meeting process, such as:
- Participation percentage
- Report streaks
- Other valuable metrics, such as how much time on average developers spend debugging lines of code (see screenshot below).
Finally, you can use a Geekbot feature called Conversational Analytics to quickly get valuable information about your team by asking “who,” “what,” and “when” questions directly in Slack:
We list several examples of questions Geekbot understands here.
Interested in Trying Out Geekbot?
Sign up for a free 30 day trial here and watch our getting started video below to learn more about how Geekbot works:
Frequently asked questions
How Do You Perform a Daily Huddle?
A daily huddle — sometimes called a daily Scrum meeting or a daily standup meeting — has a clear template, which we go over here.
How you perform your daily huddle will vary depending on whether you’re running asynchronous daily huddles or synchronous ones. However, the focus of both is the same: identify roadblocks and increase communication between the development team.
What Are Fun Daily Huddle Ideas to Break Up the Routine?
Daily huddles can quickly feel monotonous. To help your morning huddle become less of a drag, we put a list together of fun daily huddle ideas, from changing meeting location to starting the meeting with an icebreaker.