When you develop a software, a service or a tool, you have a certain vision of how it can help people. So developing Geekbot we tried to address struggles that every remote team knows all too well: misalignment, unproductivity, disappointment, chaos.
Our team is remote and we know all about those firsthand. But no matter how much we envision our product’s future, ultimately it’s real people who have the last word whether they find your tool even remotely useful.
One day, one of our devoted users, a senior developer from NYC, left a series of tweets describing Geekbot. We are always excited to read people’s tweets and messages but Gregory proceeded with not just one or two messages. He described fifteen [!] unique reasons why he and his team enjoy using Geekbot. So we took the top 9, thought It would be a huge missed opportunity not to try and make an article out of it.
Thank you, Gregory. The platform is yours.
Reason #1: Asynchronous and Remote-Friendly Standups
There wasn’t much surprise here — many teams are using Geekbot for asynchronous standup meetings. Remote friendliness, on the other side, definitely sounded like a win.
Remote teams often struggle to find tools that work for their unique environment. Just recently we’ve covered a story about an engineering team that was working across four different time zones. Ten engineers tried to improve their workflow after a big release, yet couldn’t even bring everyone together to discuss things. Luckily, they used Geekbot for both retrospectives and stand-ups, so with Gregory’s team reasserting this, it feels like a major win for us.
Reason #2: Accurate Historical Log
Sharing feedback is great and all, but how can you remember what everyone said a week, or even a day ago? Daily stand-ups are supposed to keep colleagues informed about what everyone’s working on, and yet sometimes there’s too much information to handle.
With everything shared in a devoted Slack channel, all team discussions and takeaways from stand-up meetings are stored in one place. Which brings Gregory to his next point.
Reason #3: Easy To Search For Team Insights
When all of your discussions and colleagues replies are stored in the single Slack channel, you can basically see not only present activity, but analyze things of the past.
Want to remind yourself what your colleagues were working on a week ago? Just scroll up a bit of history a bit. And if you want to take it one step further, Geekbot dashboard allows you to filter answers by date range, by questions, and by participants, which helps a lot when you need to laser-focus on a particular issue and get to the bottom of it.
Analysing history, managers can spot areas of improvement, and co-workers can quickly сatch up with colleagues.
A new engineer, hired just a week ago, was able to quickly understand who was responsible for different parts of a product just by simply browsing Geekbot channel. The employee reached out to the competent peers with precise questions about current development, and thus quickly jumped into the project without spending weeks that typically are wasted during the onboarding process.
Reason #4: Works With Slack Out of Box
With that in mind, Geekbot made every possible effort to make its installation process as easy as possible for teams that use Slack. Even though we made a detailed tutorial on how to get started with Geekbot, last time we checked the whole process literally took 85 seconds.
Reason #5: Geekbot Respects Introverts
Yep, we are. We even wrote a guide on how to conduct agile ceremonies with a team of introverts. Check it out, fun read.
As a remote team, we understand firsthand how problematic it can be to get feedback from a diverse team with different energy levels, approaches, and mindsets. But the value of every team member can’t be overstated, so we strive to make Geekbot the tool that allows everyone on teams to express their ideas in the most efficient and comfortable manner.
With 50% of the U.S. population being introverts, we think that’s a goal worth pursuing.
Reason #6: Doesn’t Rob Of Concentration
Did you know that developers spend 10 to 15 minutes trying to resume their work after being distracted? On top of that every remote team struggles with pointless meetings just like any on-site company would do. And that’s not just the problem of developers — it’s no fun when everyone is constantly distracted. Remote workers can’t concentrate on the work and drastically lose their productivity.
Geekbot solves this problem by sending questions to the team members at the designated time. Team members then can answer those questions at the most convenient time, reporting about their status and sharing their own struggles.
Suppose Jim, a front-end developer, just finished working on a new sign-up form for landing. Now that he has some free time he can open Slack channel, report his status by answering Geekbot questions, and then finally check out if any of his colleagues are struggling with anything by checking their reports in the same channel. He reads that Helen, a head of UX Research, waits for the new landing page to be released for user testing, and shares with her the appropriate time when the new form will be pushed to release.
Reason #7: Stand-ups Evolve From Pointless to Valuable
We’ve already mentioned that there’s an epidemic of pointless meetings in the workplace, so seeing that Geekbot helped Gregory’s team to solve that is another great news for us.
What makes stand-ups so effective? Simply put, they are quick to the point.
- What did you do?
- What will you do?
- Do you have any roadblocks?
The main point of stand-ups was always, well, standing up. Because then people would be tired of standing up for too long and were encouraged to keep their discussions short.
Unfortunately, this very same idea was no longer working with remote teams with people sitting in their comfortable environments. Thus sometimes three simple questions morph into a 2-hour discussion that no one can remember anything about after.
With Geekbot, instead of listening and trying to remember what each one of your colleagues was doing, will be doing, and can’t do, you’re presented with a simple written description in Slack channel.
That way we’re back to short, concise, and to-the-point answers that make daily stand-ups so powerful.
Reason #8: Geekbot Is a Buffer to Micromanagement
That one actually surprised us a bit. Of course, the problem of micromanagement is persistent, but who would have thought that short and actionable feedback can be that effective to battle it?
To be honest, the more you think about it, the more it becomes self-evident. During meetings, people often trail away and sometimes blow certain issues out of proportion. That is where micromanagement usually gets its energy from — solving the wrong problems.
With Geekbot, team feedback is always on the point. You know what people are doing, what is the scope of their work, and how you can help them. There’s no issue of micromanagement because you see exactly what’s important and what’s not.
During the meetings, Karen, as a chief support manager, would always share with managers the issues that clients sent via support chat. However, the discussion would quickly trail off to the specific issues and not the bigger picture — a large number of complaints was associated with the latest release. With Geekbot, Karen was able to communicate the big problem in a simple and a short message, so both managers and developers finally took action.
Reason #9: Deeper Questions Without Wasting Everyone’s Time
One of the main strengths of Geekbot is how customizable it is. You are never restricted to the standard stand-up routine, and can set up your own questions and even who is going to receive them.
A manager behind a recently formed team of engineers used Geekbot to quickly bring everyone on the same page and improve team collaboration. In addition to daily stand-ups, she created a set of questions that the team would receive every Monday:
What did you do this weekend?
Share something amazing that you read or saw!
Any upcoming plans (travel/vacation/activities)?
The questions were sent to team members on Monday, at 12:00 pm, right after the weekend with answers were later broadcasted on #team Slack channel for everyone to see.
Due to that small customization, team members were quickly getting to know each other, which increased the number of side and cross-department conversations and permanently boosted the level of collaboration.
Have Something to Add? We’re All Ears!
We’re very happy to receive daily messages from our customers and their success stories. We know how much work it takes to create a highly-performing remote team, so even if Geekbot helped just a little bit to make this process easier, our conscience is clear.
But we assure you, we won’t stop there and keep making improvements and release new features!
Thanks to Gregory, that was a pretty comprehensive list. Have something to add? Tweet us! Chat with us! As you can see now, we read everything.