How to Conduct Online Daily Scrum Meeting

How to
How to Conduct Online Daily Scrum Meeting

Video meetings have firmly established in today’s world where most companies choose to work remotely or have remote employees. At first glance, it may sound trite but as practice shows, online meetings are still a blind spot for most companies. Part of the reason is that some of the strategies that work well for face-to-face meetings, fail to be so good for online meetings.

Below are a few simple starting points for organizing and running online meetings that help my team sync up our daily activities.

1. Prepare the Tools

First off, about the tools that we use. Our marketing department uses Google Hangouts for daily meetings, it’s fast, it can be added to Google Calendar, and you’ll receive a reminder about the upcoming event. Generally speaking, it is a good fit for those who are used to working with Google Suite and a small number of participants – up to 8 members.

However, I know that other departments opt for Zoom more. In Zoom you can gather larger groups of people, but a free account has video limits – 45 minutes. You can have a Pro account (15$ / month) if you conduct regular meetings on a daily basis.

And here are other small and obvious details that often slip through the cracks:

  • Make sure your Internet connection is good.
  • Use a headset with a microphone.
  • Close extra tabs since they consume browser memory and reduce the quality of video
  • Choose the 360 video quality – it’s low, but it’s a hand-holding in keeping a steady connection.
  • Don’t sit your back to the window or bright light – you’ll be shadowed.
  • Mute microphone to reduce background noise. You don’t want your colleagues to be distracted by the sounds of tapping on a keyboard or ruffling of the paper.
  • Don’t forget to turn on the video, it helps to build a connection with participants. If you don’t want to show the room for some reason, choose Skype for video calls since it has a background blurring feature.
  • Speak in turns to eliminate jamming.
  • Fast-speakers should think about slowing down their speech.

2. What’s on Agenda?

Prepare the agenda in advance, make sure it’s clear and well-communicated. My team’s daily scrum meetings have a well-fledged formula. We discuss three most soaring questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday?
  2. What are you going to do today?
  3. What difficulties did you face?

The agenda should be clearly contemplated in the invite which is pinned in Google Calendar afterwards. Also you can attach a link to Hangouts there.

It’s easier to synchronize with your colleagues’ workflow, understand what troubles they face, and bounce them off your own. By and large, it’s a great way for self-organization since you have to recap your past day, analyze your wins and drawbacks, and get it off your chest in front of your workmates. The team has the opportunity to ask questions and clear up any confusion. Though being at distance, we keep on doing this bit into organizing and collaboration

3. Appoint a Meeting Facilitator

Our emotional input in video meetings is obviously less than during face-to-face ones. Video etiquette encourages participants to mute their microphones to avoid background noise, lessen body movements, speak distinctly and straight to the point. The lack of tonal, visual and physical clues impedes our understanding of what’s going on beyond the flat surface of the screen.

Under these circumstances, we fail to stream non-verbal communication. Are we doomed in the world with remote employment on the rise? Not really. We’re still very adaptable and creative creatures.

Design a meeting facilitator, a person who will steer the conversation in the right direction, away from distractors, and help participants keep up to agenda. Since it’s much harder to chime in with a comment, group participation is the first casualty of video meetings. Having this in mind, meeting facilitator’s task is to:

  • keep an eye on each participant’s engagement
  • asking questions
  • leave space for input
  • sum up and ask for feedback

4. Set Time Limits and Due Date

Usually, we set 10-15 minutes for in-person meetings but for online meetings it takes a bit longer – 20-30 minutes even though we do it at our normal pace, each in turn telling their part. Why does it happen so? Seeing each other in the office, we have the opportunity to chit chat and briefly exchange opinions on some issue. Working remotely, we can do it only once – during those thirty minutes talk. The other share of communication goes for chats in messengers.

Due date is also massively important to keep up processes. We have scrum meetings every day, at a set time, usually in the morning.

5. Stay focused

Attention span of a human being normally lasts 10 minutes or so. So if you plan a long meeting, don’t forget to take breaks. It will help people to stay focused and re-engage. In our case, daily meetings take no more than 30 minutes for the sake of brevity, but it’s enough time to get distracted.

Summing Up

Let’s cover the key points:

  • Choose the right tech and platform for video conferencing.
  • Put clearly what’s on the agenda. Ideally, prepare the questions for discussion beforehand, think about what impedes your work, and ponder on your plans for the upcoming day.
  • Appoint a person who will keep a watchful eye on the meeting process. It can be your Team Lead or any other team member.
  • Discuss time limits and be consistent in due dates.
  • Remove distractors to stay focused, take breaks if the meeting lasts too long, and meditate to practice holding the attention steady 😜

Virtual meetings are the reality of remote workers. Despite the fact we’re used to communicating through non-verbal channels, virtual meetings can be a serious obstacle in building the company’s workflow. However, it’s our own choice whether to adapt and acquire news skills or not.