This article was originally posted to the Microsoft Teams Tech Community Blog.
As everyone adjusts to the “new normal” of remote work, even agile development teams are learning how to adapt “in-office” processes to function in a remote work environment. A common reaction is to shift all rituals and meetings, like the daily standup, online – however, this is a missed opportunity to make full use of the situation to determine 1) whether the meeting was effective in the first place, and 2) whether there are other approaches and tools to enhance the process to fit the current environment and future.
Microsoft Teams and partner app integrations give agile teams the opportunity to experiment with several tools and approaches so they can build an intentional process that fits the needs of their workforce and accomplishes the principles and purpose of a standup.
Using apps in Teams to rethink daily standups
Daily standups even when times were “normal” were difficult to manage – e.g., finding a convenient time to meet, keeping it brief/efficient, and keeping everyone focused and informed. Now add the challenge of managing a completely remote team and you’ve got yourself a tricky situation. Before you shift your standups online, consider experimenting with new ways to make them simpler to manage, more flexible and valuable to your team. Teams and partner app integrations make it easy to experiment and discover what works best for your team.
An asynchronous standup is a great example of an opportunity to explore when your team is remote. Rather than a fixed time each day to sync, members provide their daily update when they can – providing flexibility and time to focus on doing work, as well as a record for tracking. Popular apps like AgilePolly and ScrumGenius automate the coordination, tracking, and reporting of asynchronous standups – making it easy for your teams to stay informed and progressing.
AgilePolly makes it easy for teams to stay in the loop, keep organized and save time by automating standups and team check-ins all while working inside Teams. AgilyPolly handles scheduling the standup series and takes care of sending out questions, collecting/consolidating updates, and displaying progress. Whether using AgilePolly for real-time standups, asynchronously, or both – you will waste less time gathering information and more time problem-solving.
ScrumGenius enables teams to perform asynchronous remote standups – all without leaving Teams. Check-ins are collated and played back to team members, while the ScrumGenius bot tracks their responses for progress on tasks, goals for the day and blockers. Insights are sent in an email summary report to the team and stakeholders and stored on the dashboard accessible in your Teams tab. From the dashboard, filter historical standup results by individuals, check-in status, or even keyword, to gain a rapid overview of team engagement. ScrumGenius also integrates with popular agile tools such as JIRA, GitHub, and Azure DevOps to match code pushes and issue changes from each team member seamlessly.
Integrate your task boards directly into your Teams channel
Another key consideration when exploring new opportunities of optimizing your standup is having your task boards available to your team in the place where they collaborate. Your task boards are the visual cues into how your team is progressing with work items and stories throughout the sprint and are important for them view alongside the daily standup updates. Popular apps like Jira Cloud & Server and Azure DevOps are integrated with Teams, enabling boards to be populated directly into tabs within channels for easy access and dialogue on.
Jira Cloud & Jira Server are tools designed to help you plan, track, and release world-class software. Access your Jira boards directly from Teams for a seamless collaboration experience and have notifications pushed to the channel for the team to view and act on.
As challenging as the current remote work environment may be, it is also a time for teams to explore new opportunities of working and communicating with each other. Whether considering asynchronous standups or a hybrid approach, it is important to remember that any change takes time and finding the right fit is an experiment. The breadth and depth of the partner apps found in Teams will make it easy for you to find the right fit for your team.
If you would like to learn how to better use apps in Teams to enhance remote work, see our remote work Teams apps site with more use cases and ideas, and take advantage of the free virtual training events each week.
For Teams end-users:
- Check out our guide to remote work apps
- Join a live, instructor-led training session called “Learn to Use Apps in Microsoft Teams.” We will show you how to find, install, and leverage the full functionality of some of our most popular apps.
For Teams Admins:
- Join our Chalk Talk series, where members of Teams engineering walk through the security, deployment, and management of third-party integrations.