Overview with tools, software, best practices and alternatives

What is an Asynchronous Stand-Up Meeting?

An asynchronous stand-up meeting is a type of meeting that does not involve a same-time schedule. It can be associated with a remote stand-up meeting since members are not physically present in one area. Members are usually located in different time zones so asynchronous stand-up meetings are done by using the internet.

Who does Asynchronous Stand-Up Meetings?

Asynchronous stand-up meetings are done by teams that have distributed members, just like a remote stand-up meeting. Teams with dispersed members are also called “remote teams”, “virtual teams”, “geographically dispersed teams”, or “distributed teams”. The teams engage in an asynchronous stand-up meeting since being spread across many time zones will not allow them to meet at the same time.

Why do people do Asynchronous Stand-Up Meetings?

People do asynchronous stand-up meeting in order to maintain their communication channels as well as to save time, effort, and money. This set-up allows team members to carry out their duties regardless of their time zones. Generally, asynchronous stand-up meetings are done to conduct team meetings, to provide knowledge on a specific matter, to brainstorm, to set plans and priorities, and to establish and maintain relationships in a group.

How to do an Asynchronous Stand-up Meeting

Asynchronous stand-up meetings gain advantage from goal-setting, just like a face to face synchronous stand-up meeting.

It is important to identify the aim of the meeting. This is best done in discussion with the team members. Then, activities that will achieve the meeting’s objective should be determined, along with the development of the agenda. In addition, the schedule of the participants should be considered in an asynchronous meeting, since the time zones do not connect. This will also help identify logical time periods as well as the kind of tools to be utilized.

It is noted that an hour of synchronous interaction takes at least one day for a remote group to process if they are regularly online. There is a need to plan for longer time periods if the team members are online once or twice a week.

Tools to be utilized, both existing and new, should be identified. An e-mail list and web discussion space may be adequate for supporting discussion activities. A vault for file sharing is also useful, such a Google Docs. Shared whiteboards can be used as well if the agenda needs higher visualization context.

Team leaders should spend time for introductions if the team members are new to each other. This way, they will get to know each other. Text, audio, and video briefing materials can be used for participants that are new to a particular body of technology.

Advantages of doing an Asynchronous Stand-Up Meetings

Asynchronous stand-up meetings are advantageous in some ways. Since the meeting involves different time zones, it will save team members’ time, effort, and money. Team members will no longer have to go to an office and report for the meeting, since the meeting can be done at home provided they have internet access. Food and travel expenses will also be cut from the expenses list.

This type of set-up also enables team members to work at their own pace within the limits set within the team. People are given the opportunity to independently manage and utilize their time. The best thing about this is that people’s autonomy and time management will be improved.

Another advantage of an asynchronous stand-up meeting is the connection it provides among team members regardless of time and location. Since asynchronous stand-up meetings may involve usage of programs such as Google Docs, team members can just enter the necessary information in the program. The data entered will be seen by the other members even though they are in different time zones. The insights of the members will be documented and automatically saved for future references.

Disadvantages of doing Asynchronous Stand-Up Meetings

While asynchronous stand-up meeting presents its benefits, it also has some flaws.

Since there is no synchronization among members of the team in real time and brainstorming is not done face to face, the exchange of ideas might be quite limited. Team members will not be able to completely discuss their insights to the other members of team since they may not be at the same time zone.

Due to the differences in locale and timing, asynchronous stand-up meetings do not allow team members to meet at once. In this set-up, team members have lesser chance to interact with other members at the same time, thus, it is slower to establish relationships.

Best practices for doing an Asynchronous Stand-up Meeting

Asynchronous stand-up meetings make it easier for team members to gather opinions and ideas anytime and anywhere. In addition, such meetings shorten the time needed for synchronous meetings.

It is a good practice to use a tool that is widely accessible and user friendly. This is to boost the participation of the team members in team activities such as report submission. Invitations should be sent at least four days in advance. Team leaders should include their e-mail address and phone number in the invitation so that people have a contact in case they have trouble accessing or navigating the program or the software.

It is important to ask questions clearly. Open-ended questions usually produce greater responses that close-ended questions. Wording should be tested ahead, especially if there are non-native English speakers in the team. To encourage participation, the time needed to respond to five questions should be limited to at least a total of fifteen minutes. The number of questions should be controlled as too many queries will decrease the members’ enthusiasm.

How Teamreporter helps at doing Asynchronous Stand-Up Meeting

Teamreporter is a web based e-mail application that utilizes structure by replacing status meetings with schedule report mails.

The application is best for helping teams, particularly remote working teams. This enables them to share their knowledge and problems and resolve those conflicts as a team while checking their progress. Since team members submit reports to their team leaders, the leaders will be able to know the status of the team and the company as essential information can be collected easily and problems, both actual and potential, can be identify early. With Teamreporter’s automated and easy to use format, team members will be likely to send their reports. This way, leaders will not be chasing down the members for team updates.

Teamreporter is suitable to all workflows and work environments as team leaders can ask their own queries to the members. In addition, they can set the time for reminder mails and reports. The application also allows selection of members who will receive reports or will be reminded to submit updates. More than that, Teamreporter can either utilize a predefined scenario or adjust its interface to a specific workflow. Also, it does not require extra hardware and software.

Alternatives to Asynchronous Stand-up Meeting

While asynchronous stand-up meetings can be beneficial to the team having distributed members, synchronous stand-up meetings can also be an option. By carefully assessing the time zones of the team members, team leaders can identify a specific range of time in which they can conduct the stand-up meeting. The common time at the time zone in which all team members meet can be the schedule for the meeting. If it is not possible, asynchronous stand-up meeting remains as the best approach for the team.

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