Management

Text based stand-ups


Luke Lowrey
Luke Lowrey

Like a lot of software companies Endpoint IQ runs a daily team stand-up. It keeps the team promotes accountability and transparency. But you don't have to go far to find a developer who loathes the morning stand-up ritual. For some it can cause anxiety while most fail to see the benefit.

Stand-up cancelled

We used to do the traditional stand up in a circle and talk method but I have found the most effective way to keep everyone informed is switching to simple, text-based updates.

Every morning the team posts an update in our #standup chat channel with something along the lines of:

  • What I did yesterday?
  • What am I doing today?
  • Are there any blockers?

The format itself isn't important as long as we capture where we are up to, what we plan to do and if anything is stopping us.

Example text stand up update

Writing the update as opposed to just saying it during a meeting is quick and I find it has some real advantages:

  • It forces me to think before we I start work and make sure my plans are aligned with what the team is trying to do.
  • Keeps me focused during the day. Having a record of what I planned to achieve and knowing it will be revisited the next day keeps met accountable.
  • Stand-ups are not dominated by loudest voices.
  • Allows us to be flexible times. We have people start from 7am - 9:30am as long as you provide your update you never really "miss" a stand-up

This type of short, recurring daily update lends itself well to collaboration tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams. Endpoint IQ uses a dedicated Teams channel #standups to post the updates. Any questions or updates from the team takes place in the replies to the original post. This keeps the discussions easy to follow over the course of the week. I also encourage people to posts screenshots, videos or gifs of their work.

We tried out a couple of "stand-up bots" which attempt to automate the process by sending reminders and consolidating responses. The bots generally got in the way more than they helped.