Asynchronous Daily Huddles

asynchronous daily huddle

Asynchronous Daily Huddles 

I have written previously about the importance of daily huddles (daily stand-up meetings). Whether you conduct them face-to-face, virtually, or asynchronously, the daily huddle gives everyone in the team a quick status update of what is going on, and just as importantly, what is actually getting done.

Daily huddles help to coordinate support across the team and enable managers to coach their people more effectively.

One of my clients asked for more details on how to run an asynchronous daily huddle with globally dispersed teams working in multiple timezones. I shared the approach I used when I worked with a company with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Milwaukee, and Cluj (Romania) as per the following guidelines:

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Rather than a “live” meeting, teams who operate asynchronously in different timezones often use written text via their online chat platform (Slack, Teams, dedicated app).

As they are no longer “huddling” they often use different names like “Daily Update” or “15-5 Report” (based on the work of Yvon Chouinard, CEO of Patagonia, who designed “15-5” reports as an efficient means of having information flow up the organization and help everyone prioritize their time, and work together more effectively). The concept is that it should take each team member no more than 15 minutes to write their daily updates, and it should take the managers and colleagues no more than 5 minutes to read their team’s collective updates the following morning.

Team members submit their updates by a designated time, e.g. before 5 pm at the end of each workday (asynchronously in their applicable timezone), and post them in a designated meeting channel where their team can see them, add comments, offer praise, or offer support in the comment section below each post.

Here are the templates I used [with my instructions for the data entry fields]:

Daily Update: (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays – by 5 pm)

*Today’s Top 3*
[Don’t list everything you did, it’s not about justifying yourself. Just list up to 3 tasks that were completed today plus any other notable achievements. Not a boring list of tasks either, include a brief explanation to provide context and make it interesting for the reader]

*Tomorrow’s Top 3*
[List up to 3 tasks, ranked in priority order. Your #1 task, aka “The One Thing” is the most important task you need to get done tomorrow to move things forward in your role. Tasks must be specific action steps within your control]

*Roadblocks/Needs*
[Describe issues impacting your progress or requests for support]

 

Friday Feedback: (Fridays only – by 5 pm)

*Top 3 Achievements for this week*
[Don’t list everything you did, it’s not about justifying yourself. Just list up to 3 tasks that were completed this week and any other notable achievements. Not a boring list of tasks either, include a brief explanation to provide context and make it interesting for the reader. If you are accountable for a strategic project, provide an update on the current status of the project and what got done this week]

*Top 3 Priorities for next week*
[List up to 3 tasks, ranked in priority order. Your #1 task, aka “The One Thing” is the most important task you need to get done in the coming week to move things forward in your role. Tasks must be specific action steps within your control]

*Roadblocks/Needs*
[Describe issues impacting your progress or requests for support]

*Lessons Learned*
[List any lessons that enhanced your personal development or knowledge, and/or share any insights the wider team could benefit from]

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Using this format reduced the amount of time people spent in meetings each week, AND everyone felt better informed about what was going on. Managers and colleagues could reach out directly to individuals to offer support as required, or redirect someone if they were focusing on the wrong things. People who were away for a week (e.g. on vacation) could read the weekly “Friday Feedback” summaries and feel fully up to speed with everything that happened in their absence. 

Give it a try!

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Until next time…
Stephen

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