Tag Archives: Teams

StandupTime Helps Make Regular Status Meetings Quick and Efficient

StandupTime Helps Make Regular Status Meetings Quick and Efficient

The worst thing about “status” meetings is that they can turn into “planning” sessions—where a quick get-together so everyone’s on the same page drags out so long you could be doing the work you’re sitting around talking about. StandupTime is a tool that can streamline the process—especially if you have to run those meetings.

Once you’re signed up, you can connect your coworkers, build out a team calendar, and even get (and push) notifications to everyone on the team when someone finishes something important, is late or has hit a roadblock, or there’s a general update. Best of all, StandupTime can collect all of those updates and events, then put them together into a status email to send to everyone on the team.

StandupTime does all of this without human interaction, which frees you up to actually work, or if you’re a project manager, manage the project instead of spending all day making sure everyone knows what everyone else is doing. If you have a “big board” or a dashboard somewhere, StandupTime even has a “TV Mode” that lets you put a live view up on the big screen. If your team uses Hipchat or Slack to communicate, it can integrate with those services to send project notifications to your team or project channel.

StandupTime is designed for whole teams (and has pricing to match), but there’s a free account option for individuals who run their own meetings, or just want to give the service a shot to see if it’ll be useful for them and the people they work with. The free account omits the Slack/Hipchat integration and the option to have “observers,” (people who don’t interact with the project but can watch and get updates) but has everything else. If you’re working on an open source project, they’ll even spot you a paid account for your team.


Waste Less of Your Time in Meetings with the 10-30-50-90 Method

Waste Less of Your Time in Meetings with the 10-30-50-90 Method

If you’re someone that automatically schedules your meetings to be an hour long, this method of timing meetings could net you more time to get other things done.

A lot of scheduling software will default to an hour-long block of time, but not all meetings have the same goals. Different goals take different amounts of time. Because of that, Alison Davis at Inc. suggests you break your meetings down with the 10-30-50-90 rule:

  • 10 minutes for check ins and quick questions.
  • 30 minutes for status updates and one-on-ones.
  • 50 minutes for addressing multiple issues or topics.
  • 90 minutes for brainstorming and problem-solving.

This method keeps you from blocking off your valuable time for things that can be handled quickly. Even if you only decide to shorten your hour long meetings to 50 minutes, you can keep things focused and give yourself transition time if you have another meeting. Remember, more meeting time doesn’t necessarily mean more progress. To learn more about this method, check out the link below.

Why Changing the Length of Your Next Meeting Will Make It Dramatically Better | Inc.

Photo by International Railway Summit.

Put Together a Productive Team with Jeff Bezos’s “Two Pizza Rule”

Put Together a Productive Team with Jeff Bezos's "Two Pizza Rule"

When you’re heading a collaboration of any kind, the number of people you bring on board can change how effective your team’s output is. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, suggests employing the "two pizza rule" to help keep yourself from including too many people.

Rachel Gillett at business blog Fast Company explains that it’s as simple as it sounds. Imagine you’ve ordered two pizzas for glorious consumption. Now how many people could you reasonably feed with those two pizzas? That’s how many people should be involved in your team project. It should be somewhere between five and eight people, which is a pretty safe range when it comes to possible collaboration downfalls.

Too many people can encourage what’s known as "groupthink," when everyone begins to agree with the same ideas because everyone else agrees with it. A smaller group size also helps prevent laziness or "social loafing." Social loafing occurs with larger groups because individuals believe they don’t have to work as hard because there are more teammates to pick up the slack. Other benefits of small teams are a greater trust between team members and less fear of failure because there aren’t as many people around to see you possibly screw up. Remember, big isn’t always better—especially with productive teams—and pizza should be involved with everything.

The Two Pizza Approach to Productive Teamwork | Fast Company

Photo by Jerry Huddleston.

Feeling Like a Part of the Team Can Fuel Your Work Motivation

Feeling Like a Part of the Team Can Fuel Your Work Motivation

The way you’re treated at your job can affect your drive. A recent study shows that motivation increases when people are treated as partners while working together with others, even if they’re physically apart.

The study, from Stanford University, covered social cues and how they can affect the mental state of people working together as a team. After five different experiments—several weeks in length—researchers found that participants who were treated as partners or team members persisted longer on challenging tasks, expressed more interest in the enjoyment of their work, required less self-regulation to stay on their task, and became more engaged with their work. Gregory Walton, a professor of psychology at Stanford and co-author of study, explains:

"Our research found that social cues that conveyed simply that other people treat you as though you are working together on a task – rather than that you are just working on the same task but separately – can have striking effects on motivation."

Group projects don’t have to be grueling slog through conflicting perspectives. Treating others on your team like they are important aspects of your project can make communication and collaboration much easier.

Cues of working together fuel intrinsic motivation | Journal of Experimental Social Psychology via Stanford News

Photo by woodleywonderworks.

Planleaf Creates Collaborative Task Lists in Emails, No Signup Needed

Planleaf Creates Collaborative Task Lists in Emails, No Signup Needed

Web: If email is your tool of choice, then Planleaf will create collaborative task lists, where you can also add teammates, issue deadlines and add notes to completed tasks—all with a simple email message.

The app is appealing because it doesn’t require anyone to sign up, is formatted as a check-list, and works anywhere using email. You could use Planleaf to create a new task list every day, and CC your team or anyone concerned. They have the ability to add new items, edit current ones, or tick the completed jobs.

To create a task list, just add a dash before each item in the list. Anything in the email without a dash won’t appear, while the subject line of the email is the task list’s header. You can add deadlines by putting the day or date in brackets—for e.g. (Monday)—and people can be tagged by adding an @ symbol before their name. However, you will need to rely on your email client’s search capabilities for finding the tags. Planleaf sends a daily email digest to show you the items due for that day.

While Planleaf could be used by individuals, it’s best as a short-term team collaboration tool. Send a daily task list, have people check off items or add more, and it’s all done on email. No apps, no fuss.