Commonly used in product development teams, daily standups can help any team get in alignment while working towards a common goal or deliverable. Here at Polly, we’re strong advocates of using daily standups (or daily check-ins) as a way to get a quick pulse on your team’s progress day-to-day.
While meeting in-person is great for face-time with the people you’re working closest with, it’s not always an available option – especially for teams with flexible working environments. With the rise in fully remote teams or distributed teams, we knew that there had to be an alternative that’s remote friendly, but still achieves the same overarching goal: getting in alignment with your team.
Today, we’re introducing a new and (hugely) improved Polly for Standups – a remote-friendly way to get daily status reports from your team. 🎉
The old (and broken) standup experience
For the folks who have been with us way back in the day, know that we’ve always had a daily standup template – which got a ton of love – but has never been optimized for the experience that you expect for a remote or distributed team.
With the old standup experience in Slack, you had to navigate through each question one-by-one in Polly’s DM channel, which can cause a lot of context switching if you expect the survey to start and end where it was delivered, in your project or team channel.
With respect to results, real time was not really real time, or all that frictionless: you still needed to navigate to the web app in order to view what your peers are working on, which defeats the purpose of an end-to-end experience in Slack.
The new standup experience, 10x better
Knowing the challenges that our users faced when conducting standups, we took that opportunity to improve the experience with the launch of Block Kit in Modals.
By removing the need to navigate to Polly’s DM channel, we remove the extra noise in-channel and the confusion around where to actually take the survey. Now, the entire end-to-end survey taking happens in context, and with much less clicks. You can see all of the questions in one view, and get right back to work when you’re all done.
Not only is it more convenient for remote team members, the need to know or plain ol’ curiosity can be satisfied simply by checking Slack. A streamlined yet dead-simple experience means that achieving 100% participation is just that much easier.
Incremental improvements to surveys that enable better standups
Instead of just delivering the new standup experience in modals, we also added a few small improvements that allows for a better and more productive experience.
More granular reminders
Standups would be significantly less useful if they weren’t done in a timely manner. And sometimes – it takes a little nudging to get everyone sharing their status updates. With automated reminders, Polly will send out a gentle nudge to the participants that hadn’t completed the standup.
However, we only had reminders up to day intervals – not minutes, or hours. And for the teams that move quickly, we added in support for minute and hour intervals for reminders. For us at Polly, we set up our daily standups to close after 2 hours, and 1 reminder after 45 minutes. That way, you can allow distributed team members to share updates on their own accord, without missing out on everyone’s updates in a timely manner.
Results in real-time, and upon completion
A digital standup is only as productive as the people who participate, and consume the results. Previously, you could only be able to share results in real-time, or hide results until the survey closes.
Now, you can get an automatic update whenever the survey closes and everyone has shared their status, but anyone can stay abreast of the work being done by checking on the updates whenever they please.
Future of Standups, and what’s next
We’re bullish that standups that take place in Slack are the future for remote or distributed teams. There will always be a time and a place for face-to-face interaction that you can’t quite replicate the same experience in an automated standup, but the pros greatly outweigh the cons when it comes to automating and digitalizing your standup meetings.
In the next few weeks, we’re focused on is bringing survey results and authoring to Slack, so that way you can get back to focused work without skipping a beat or ever leaving Slack. Keeping survey results in Slack enables for much better knowledge sharing and coordination across cross-functional teams, but without the context switch.
For us at Polly, we’re excited to continue investing into building out a fully robust solution for teams that follow scrum/agile methodology. This means investing in bringing integrations to Polly for some of your trusted tools that you love and use every day, and enabling better agile development scenarios.
Some of the scenarios we’re excited about are: planning poker (issue estimation), automated sprint retrospectives, backlog grooming, and more. Stay tuned!