Here is a short summary of how we do our daily meetings in a 100% remote company of 20 people.
We meet online every day at the same time. There are two questions followed by free discussion.
Question 1. What are the moods in the projects?
This works as a project barometer. People in good moods = the project is doing great. Frustrated people = watch out, big risk ahead!
Believe it or… try it yourself, but when asked about moods people will always talk about the things that pose risks to the project.
Random question, not job – related
This is the fun part. The question changes every day and can be about just anything – movies, literature, a favourite toy, holidays or date of your dreams.
This helps us get to know each other, make connections and build relations, which is especially important when not collocated.
The word ‘bakłażan’ (‘eggplant’ in Polish) is the signal for free discussion to start. This is the time to follow up on the most interesting stories or simply share some random thoughts.
The meetings are based on the concept of self-organizing teams. Every week another person volunteers to be the *Chrum* master. She makes up the questions, starts the meeting and kicks off the free discussion. The participants speak in random order, which works surprisingly well.
Audio and video are a must. It’s like having a cup of coffee in the kitchen. You want to see each others’ faces and gestures.
Here is what we use:
• BigBlueButton for video – it’s free, open source and the quality is really great.
• TeamSpeak for audio – a ‘push-to-talk’ solution, works really well for 20 people, as it eliminates background noise from those not speaking.
• Skype for comments – chat is great for background discussions and comments.
It took us 2 years to come up with this formula. We started with a basic stand-up meeting, which turned out to be boring and inefficient.
The chrum formula works great for us to
1) get an idea of what is happening in the company as a whole
2) have time for a “water cooler” while working remotely
Questions? Comments? Please share your meeting formula. We are always on the lookout for improvements to Chrum.
*Chrum is the name of our “Company Scrum” meetings – it was meant to be fun and to differentiate them from the formal and boring Scrum daily meetings.