I’m sure some of you already heard of this buzzword Agile. And if you read more about Agile and Scrum as a framework for developers you might find the ideas interesting. But then you realize you don’t have a development team. The priority of your team is operational support, day-to-day business and issues which need to be handled. So the ideas, like Daily Standup Meetings, won’t work and you will move a long and search for something else or you do business as usual.
BUT, why are you not trying some of these ideas? I know it is hard to change yourself and have people change too, but if you don’t try you never know if you could improve your team, your output or your teams motivation. Same applied to me when I first read about Scrum and Daily Standup Meetings. I liked the idea to keep everyone informed about what’s going on today and what is planned to do until tomorrow, but you would this work with a Service Desk team? And will it work? Well, I said to myself: if you don’t try, you don’t know! So commit, then figure it out!
My way to implement Daily Standup Meetings
There was a the point in time where I wanted to change something in my team. We grew in a very short period of time from 2 employees to 8 and the way the team worked together changed. With two people they always had a chance to quickly exchange information about what’s going on, discuss some issues and so on. But with 8 people it is much harder to keep everyone informed or to discuss what’s happening today. And in addition to that we had a remote worker too, which makes things a little bit more complicated.
But I still was convinced that the idea of a Daily Standup Meeting would be beneficial for the team. So I started to invite the whole team for 15 minutes to a quick video standup call. The main question to be answered was: What’s happening today? This could be any major issues, outages or changes that will come this week. This meeting was every morning after the first two hours of support, so that we had a rough overview of how this day will be.
First, the team was very open to the idea of a Daily Standup Meeting and it was clear to everyone to attend. They shared what was happening and discussed solutions to issues we had so far today. But after a while communication went down. No one was sharing something, everything was already discussed within parts of the team and we mostly ended the meeting after 5 minutes. Of course I was very unhappy with that because for me the meeting had different goals.
My goals of a Daily Standup Meeting
- MOVE: First of all as a support agent you usually sit for 8 hours a day in your job, answering calls and solve incidents remotely. There is not so much movement and this could be a reason why you get sick. Therefore the idea of the meeting was to have everyone in the team stand up and move for at least 15 Minutes a day.
- SHARE: Make everyone aware of the team and their colleagues. It is not obvious that everyone knows everything that’s going on today just because he is in the office. It is important to have everyone informed about major topics for the day. And everyone should be able to participate and bring up their items to the whole team. Sharing information is key to success nowadays!
- SEE: Because we have one remote worker on the team I wanted to have him more visible to the team and more integrated. A quick video call a day should help here a lot.
These were my three goals. After the first couple of weeks I realized that we move away from these goals because of shorter meetings. Therefore I stopped the Daily Standup Meetings and wanted to see if someone is missing something. And I can tell you, it was very quiet for a while.
But after a couple of weeks the discussion came up to bring back the Daily Standup Meetings. People felt they miss information and also the connection to the remote worker. We discussed it in the team how they want to proceed and we came up with the solution that we will try to have two Daily Standup Meetings per week.
We have this now in place since a couple of month and we still communicate a lot within these 15 minutes. Everyone feels informed and is engaged to participate in this meeting.
Experiment with your ideas. Don’t let you stop from your own thoughts. If you don’t try, you will never know if it would work. For me and the team it was a very good exercise to try and adjust the idea to our needs. And this shows me that you can use a lot of tools and ideas even if they are designed for other purposes. Try and adapt.
And in addition to the adjusted Daily Standup Meetings I can recognize a change regarding implementation of new ideas. The team is very open to new things and bring up a lot of good ideas. We agreed that we will try all of these ideas and do our experiments. If we can’t adjust and still feel uncomfortable, we will stop doing it and move on. And this was the best out of this experiment. To shift the mindset of a whole team into that direction. So give a Daily Standup Meeting a try and see how it works. It is a small change and who knows what you will get afterwards.