Keeping Dispersed Teams In-Sync

Keeping everyone on your team in-sync and in the know on what’s going on is challenging. Agile software development methodologies provide a solution: the daily “Stand Up.” These prioritize a short check-in where all the participants stand, further encouraging brevity, and share work updates. Every person on the standup answers a couple of standard questions:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What are you going to do today?
  • What blockers do you have?

This is a great format, but its original design as an in-person, real-time conversation doesn’t work for geographically distributed teams, like the ones we serve at Rodio. How do dispersed workforces get the benefits of a daily Stand Up without having to coordinate a time that works equally well for folks across multiple time zones? 

Fittingly, Rodio faces this same problem. Our team works from multiple remote locations, spread across three time zones, and we did not want to forfeit our favorite method for team updates and collaboration. Prior to solving this problem, we set some no-compromise boundaries: First, we didn’t want to leave any teammates out of the process (even our odd duckling living in Arizona’s refutably difficult time zone). Second, we didn’t want to interrupt team members’ existing schedules full of meetings, travel and focused development blocks.  

Mobile-Friendly Stand Ups

First, we tried to use our Chat. It was useful, but hard to keep track of. Team channels provide great real-time communication, but information can get lost as a day’s worth of chatter accumulates. That led us to Bulletins.

Rodio Bulletins allow broadcast communication with comments. We can push our Stand Ups to everyone on the team outside of the normal team channels. Their elevated status ensures everyone gets to see the updates. It also makes it easy for someone to catch up after a few days out of the office. No endless scrolling through the team channel. Instead, users read the bulletins they received while they were out.

Every morning, each team member posts their standup with three sections: Yesterday, Today, and Blockers. This helps everyone keep on the same page about what everyone else is working on. Commenting allows folks to jump in and ask questions about upcoming work or to offer help with blockers. The process is natural and involves a minimal time commitment, all while keeping check ins asynchronous.

Make Asynchronous Check Ins Your Own

Beyond the basic Stand Up questions, we also have a few extras we add from time to time. As we experiment with new technology, it’s common to add a YIL – Yesterday I Learned – section with something we want to share with the team. We also use a reminder section whenever we want to remind folks of upcoming vacations or other important information that doesn’t fit in the Yesterday/Today/Blockers format.

Stand Up works beautifully due to its simplicity, allowing coworkers to share small bites of important information. However, your business may have unique daily tasks or projects that your workers need to provide updates on. You might prefer a different format, or different topics outside of the “Yesterday, Today, and Blockers” buckets. Bulletins are a flexible tool that, with minimal training, your team can use to sync across locations, time zones and projects in no time. 

Interested in checking out Bulletins and other Rodio communication features? Get in touch with us today.