Running daily huddles in Microsoft Teams helps remote teams to get aligned on tasks and track their progress. However, the traditional way of holding these huddles — via live, synchronous video calls — has some significant downsides, including:
- Scheduling conflicts. With synchronous meetings, it’s often a struggle to find a convenient time slot that works for everyone, due to busy schedules and calendar clashes. This problem is exacerbated for remote teams in different timezones. As a meeting facilitator, imagine the time and hassle involved with finding the perfect meeting time for 4 teammates in Europe, 2 teammates in North America, and 2 teammates in Asia. (Oftentimes, someone will have to sacrifice and meet at a very late or early hour in their timezone.)
- Workflow disruptions. Imagine working for the last hour on a difficult problem, entering a state of flow, and feeling determined and motivated to complete the task, only to realize that a huddle meeting is about to start. This can be both irritating and bad for productivity, since when the huddle is over and you return back to task, it can take a while to regain the same level of concentration.
- Irrelevant updates. Oftentimes, especially in a larger daily huddle (e.g., 6 teammates), 2 folks may start discussing an issue that only pertains to them, but not to the other 4 teammates. This can be very frustrating and cause the other teammates to tune out the rest of the meeting, thus potentially missing an important update that does pertain to them.
As a remote team since 2009, we had experienced the problems of synchronous huddles for years.
This prompted us to build Geekbot — a free daily huddle tool for Microsoft Teams. In a nutshell, teammates answer the daily huddle questions in Microsoft Teams (asynchronously at their convenience), and their answers are posted in a central channel.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the three easy steps of running a Microsoft Teams huddle with Geekbot.
Note: Click here to create a free Geekbot account. Our tool is free for teams with up to 10 active participants. For larger teams, it’s $2.50 per user per month (on the annual plan) and $3.00 per user per month (on the monthly plan).
How to Run Microsoft Teams Huddles with Geekbot
Geekbot is our free asynchronous meetings tool that integrates with your Microsoft Teams account. You can use it to run huddles, retrospectives, polls, and many other kinds of remote check-ins.
In this section, we’ll focus on the simple 3-step process for running huddles in Microsoft Teams using Geekbot.
Note: Click here to create a free Geekbot account and follow along with the article.
1. Choose the Daily Huddle Questions You’d Like Teammates to Answer
When you first open Geekbot, you’ll find templates for many different types of remote check-ins (e.g., standups, retrospectives, polls), team bonding activities (e.g., teammates answer fun icebreaker questions in Microsoft Teams), and more.
Each of these templates comes with prefilled questions. All of the questions are fully customizable, so you can also adjust them to your needs.
For example, the default daily standup template includes these questions:
- What did you do yesterday?
- What will you do today?
- Anything blocking your progress?
- How do you feel today?
You can use this template to run your huddles as is, or you can edit, add, and remove questions, as well as change the time and date when they get sent.
If you don’t want to start with a template, simply click on the blue “Build your own →” text and create your huddle from scratch.
2. Schedule When the Huddle Questions Get Sent
Geekbot makes it easy to select when the huddle questions are sent to teammates in Microsoft Teams:
- Every day
- Every week
- Every two weeks
- Every three weeks
- Every four weeks
- First week of the month
- Last week of the month
- And so on
Plus, you can also instruct Geekbot to send the daily huddle questions in each user’s local timezone:
Why is this important?
Let’s say you had teammates in different time zones (e.g., Munich, Honolulu, and San Francisco), and to help everyone get aligned at the start of the day, you wanted them to receive the huddle questions at 8:30 AM.
Without the “User’s local timezone” option, teammates receive the daily huddle questions at inconvenient times (really early in the morning or really late at night).
However, with this feature, everyone receives the questions at 8:30 AM in their local timezone.
Note: If a teammate receives a daily huddle notification in MS Teams while they’re busy and want to enter their questions at a later time, they have the option to set up reminder notifications, as shown below.
3. Collect Answers and Start Conversations
At your selected time, Geekbot sends the daily huddle questions to each participant via a DM in Microsoft Teams:
Then, everyone’s responses are posted in your selected channel:
Once the answers are broadcasted to a channel, team members can:
- Review them at their convenience.
- Start conversations (if needed) about specific updates. Per the image below, Kate tagged Brandon and asked to chat and arrange a call about the status of the new landing pages. Brandon replied via thread, so that other teammates don’t receive a notification about an issue that doesn’t pertain to them. (In comparison, in a video call or face-to-face huddle, teammates often sit through discussions that don’t pertain to their own work.)
Additional Geekbot Features
When you conduct text-based huddles with Geekbot, you also get two more important benefits:
- Searchable history of everyone’s answers. What if you were performing a retrospective or performance review, and in preparation, wanted to view teammates’ past daily huddle answers? Or, what if someone encountered a problem which they remembered another teammate already shared how to solve? With Geekbot, you can easily find past answers via our dashboard by selecting the relevant date or typing in the relevant keyword. In comparison, unless you take notes during a synchronous meeting, the answers aren’t saved. (And even if there are written notes, it’s not as intuitive to search through them and find what you need.)
- Huddle summaries, which you can choose to receive via email at a certain frequency(e.g., daily or weekly to review each teammate’s answers). Sometimes, you may get overwhelmed with tasks, and forget to check Microsoft Teams, or simply not have enough time in the day to get to it. This is a useful feature to catch up on past answers.
As we’ve mentioned, beyond daily huddles, you can also use Geekbot to run asynchronous:
- Team bonding meetings
- And much more… (click here to explore Geekbot’s various use cases.)
Start Running Asynchronous Microsoft Teams Huddles with Geekbot for Free
As of this writing date, Geekbot has over 170,000 users, with a 4.9/5 rating on Capterra.
Geekbot is free for teams of 10 or fewer, and for larger teams, it’s $2.50 per user per month (on the annual plan) and $3.00 per user per month (on the monthly plan).
If you’re interested in trying our tool, sign up for a free account here.
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Frequently asked questions
How can I make my daily huddles more effective?
To make your daily huddles more effective, consider using an asynchronous meeting format, where teammates answer the daily questions via text at their convenience.