Automate Standup and Status Update Meetings

A playbook to help you efficiently manage standup meetings

Automate Standup and Status Update Meetings

Standup and status update meetings seem necessary evil! Hated by most, these meetings help the team stay on top of their tasks. It is also a good mechanism for the manager to get an overview of the team’s progress and catch any issues early on.

The good news is... these meetings don’t have to be a “meeting” at all, and we are here to tell you how!  

1. What are standup or status update meetings?

2. How are status update meetings conducted today?

3. What is the best way to conduct standup update meetings?

Let’s dive right in!

What are standup or status update meetings?

These are team meetings where the members share status updates on assigned tasks, align on the day's priorities, and surface any help needed. With remote work being the new normal, these meetings have become highly critical in keeping the team aligned and ensuring that all members have access to the right resources to do their job.

How are status update meetings conducted today?

Typically, most teams use synchronous communication for daily or weekly standups. These meetings are usually conducted in a round-robin fashion. All the members take 1-2 min to provide a quick overview of the assigned tasks' status and highlight any blockers that might prevent them from completing the task. However, as you can imagine (and might have to experience yourself at some point!), these meetings are not efficient. For most of the meeting, individuals are waiting for their time turn to share status update for a couple minutes. Over time, these meetings lose participation, and it becomes the most dreaded meeting of the day/week.

So, next time when you find yourself sending an invite for a recurring status update meeting ... STOP! Why? Read on!

What is the best way to conduct standup update meetings?

Standup and status update meetings should always be asynchronous! We have created a playbook to help you implement a "no-meeting" standup meeting and give your team the time back to slay their to-do list.

You can implement asynchronous status update meetings following these three steps –

1. Create and share an update template

2. Setup an async calendar block

3. Follow-up 1:1

1. Create and share an update template

Leverage any collaborative workspace tool to share a template which you would like your team members to fill as part of the status update. It shouldn't take your team more than 2-3 minutes to fill - It is important to keep this template lightweight for your team and save any complex discussion for a 1:1 meeting or follow-up.

This template should include the following –

  1. Task: A one-line overview of the project. Most likely, this would remain consistent for a few meetings until the task is complete
  2. Owner: Name of the individual from your team who owns the task
  3. Expected due date: The date by which the team has committed to complete this task
  4. Status: Is this task “In Progress” / “Delayed” / “Cannot be Completed” / “Completed”  
  5. Blockers: Any unresolved dependencies or issues that the owner anticipates would come in the way of completing this task on time
  6. Help needed: Surface any help required from the manager or leadership to resolve the blockers and ensure timely completion of the task

2. Setup an async calendar block

Once you have the template ready, send a 10-minute calendar block to your team depending upon when you would like them to share the status updates. This calendar invite should have an agenda which highlights the intent of this meeting, actions that need to be taken by the invitees and expected next steps. Having a calendar block ensures that the team has a dedicated time scheduled to fill the template.

Here is what a sample calendar block invite would look like –

Subject: [Async] Submit status updates

Meeting Details:

Hi team,

This is a 10–minute daily time block on your calendar to share status updates on your projects. During this time, please take a moment to share your project status by filling up this template < link to the status update template>.

Once this time block is over, I will go through all the project updates and reach out to specific individuals as needed.    

Thank You,

[XYZ]

3. Follow-up 1:1

Once you have all the project updates, set up a time block for yourself to go over all the updates and identify the ones where you need to connect with the task owners. Ideally, you should be able to leverage your weekly 1:1s with your team to address this. However, for a time sensitive task, use email, instant messaging, or follow-up meetings to address the concerns.

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