Automating Your Text-Based Stand-Up Meetings

Having daily stand-up meetings – just a quick, structured check-in meeting at the start of the day – is a popular way to keep the team on track. In fact, it’s called a “stand-up” because if you do it while standing, people won’t want to do the meeting for very long :).

The world of office work is increasingly remote and asynchronous, what do you do with a partly or fully remote team? How about a team scattered across the globe? In this case, a text-based stand-up might make a lot of sense.

These replace the more traditional in-person or on-call stand-ups where people on the team share:

  • What they did yesterday
  • What they’re doing today
  • What roadblocks they have

For remote teams in different timezones, some challenges with doing stand-ups in-person or on a call are:

  • It doesn’t respect the timezone differences within your team
  • If key people are late, people stand around waiting
  • If your meeting leaders don’t carefully corral people who tend to ramble, the meeting will take longer or not get through the entire agenda
  • Either no one is taking notes of what is said and the information needs to be repeated, or you have to pick a note-taker

Taking stand-ups to text

For these reasons and more, text-based stand-ups might be better for your team.

The overall format doesn’t change much. It should still happen in a dedicated place and people will share the same three elements of their update.

The dedicated place, instead of being a meeting room or a video call link, will become a channel in your text-based communication tool, such as Slack, HipChat, Rocket, or whatever your team is using.

You don’t need a dedicated global time, just set a standard local time, such as “by 10am in your timezone.” People will then know to get all their notes in by 10am in their day, and everyone can choose when to read the standup notes.

Keeping updates consistent

With so many people typing out the same brief update, you’ll want everyone to use the same format to make skimming easier. Set up an outline or template as a standard for the team. Here at TextExpander, we use TextExpander snippets for that.

Here’s an example fo a good reusable outline for stand-up notes:

Hey folks, here is my standup for today;




Here are some additional notes

For other TextExpander users, ;dailystandup makes a good snippet abbreviation for this.

Additional benefits of text-based stand-ups

Here are some of the added benefits of text-based standups:

  • Text is easy to translate if someone’s first language isn’t the language your team uses
  • New teammates can get up to speed on how things have been progressing since before they joined
  • Increased opportunities for accountability mean it’s easy to see when to send a message such as “the plan was to look at x, but it seems you spent all day on y; what can we do to help?”

Why we like TextExpander for this

In addition to keeping things quick and consistent for everyone, mew employees can pick up the structure of the meeting quickly. The provided outline guides them to have the right tone and amount of information to add.

It’s also easy to make your snippets adaptable to different situations. Fore example, if it is crucial for people to know how available you are on a particular day, you can add a checkbox to your stand-up snippet that can trigger an auto-fill saying, “I will be hard to get hold of today”.

How do you do standups?

How does your team do standups? Would you consider moving a text-based approach? Let us know in the comments below!