Since the advent of the COVID pandemic and resulting acceleration in adopting remote tools and practices, tools to automate Asynchronous Standup Meetings in Slack have grown in popularity.
Suppose your team is considering migrating into asynchronous Slack based Standup meetings. In that case, you need to know the solutions available in the market today and the key features to evaluate a Slack Standup Bot for your team.
We have a list of 8 Key Features here. Some or all of them may be critical to meet your team's needs. We will go over what they are and how to evaluate each of those features.
Once the product checks on the key features, there are also 3 Deal Breakers for most customers where you do not or can not compromise.
First, let us look at the 8 Key Features every mature Standup bot is expected to have.
Easy to setup: Quickly setup and customize one or more standup meetings for your team
Custom Questions: Customize the number of questions and question text to your team needs
Timezone aware: For distributed teams, run Standup at each user's respective timezone
Web Reports: Easily visualize your team's progress and drill down to team contributions over time
Team Insights: Identify opportunities to improve team engagement
Shared Channel Support: If you are working with one or more external organizations in shared channels, you may want to run standup meetings in shared channels, including members from the external organizations.
Integrations: Connect and pull activity data from your project management tools
Holidays planning: Plan your team holiday calendar and individual user vacations.
Other nice to have features that may be a priority for some teams.
Mood tracking: Share mood, build trust, and get a better sense of team morale every day.
Export Data: Export one or more report data for your custom reports.
Troopr Slack Standup Bot offers all of the above features, and 24/7 email and chats support by our dedicated support team for every customer, including our free plan. Troopr paid plans are most affordable for any team size.
These key features help solve the problems with slack standup meetings faced by remote teams.
Before we get to the deal-breakers, let us look at what you should expect in each of the features listed above and how to evaluate them and compare the different vendor offerings.
Easy to setup
Once you install the slack bot, the first step is to set up one or more recurring Standup(s) for your team(s). If you additionally want your Standup to automatically pull user activity data from your existing task management tools, you will need to setup a connection to the tool. This process should not take more than a few minutes.
Setting up a Standup for your team involves:
1. Deciding on a schedule: When and how frequently you want to run the standup
2. Questions: How many and what do you want to ask your team
3. Reporting: When, where, and how do you like to send the summary report.
Most standup bots also come with built-in reminders to gently remind the participants before the end of the meeting time if they have not submitted their response.
Most standup vendors will require you to go to a web portal for setup. Setting up and managing directly in Slack is usually easier and more accessible for the team if it is available.
Troopr Slack Standup Setup is entirely in Slack and supports an unlimited number of standups in all plans, including the free one.
It is vital to be able to customize the questions you want to ask your team.
If you are an agile team following scrum practices, then the standard daily scrum questions should work for most.
Some standup vendors offer different types of questions to answer with plain text or choose from a list of values. Freeform responses are usually most compatible with the needs of different teams. Questions can also be configured to be mandatory or optional.
Standup bots also come with pre-built question templates for a more straightforward configuration.
Troopr Standup questions are optional and freeform by default but configurable. Troopr is also built for agile teams and supports daily scrum, retrospective templates.
The Standup must run for distributed teams at the scheduled time local to each user's timezone. The reporting time in those cases will be relative to the user's timezone to allow every team member to respond.
Alternatively, if your team is co-located or has sufficient overlap in timezones, you can pick a common timezone. Most standup vendors allow both options during configuration.
Troopr Standup is built for distributed teams and defaults to user local timezone based schedules.
Slack Standup bots go beyond reporting standup responses to Slack.
Most also can easily visualize your team progress in an intuitive dashboard. This preserves standup report data for eternity even if your Slack workspace is not a paid plan and subject to a limited number of available chat history messages.
Web reports can also be extended to drill down into user-based and time-range based filtered historical reports.
User-based reporting filters allow you to look at the contributions of one or more team members. Time range based filtered reports will enable you to look at overall team achievements over a period of time.
Analysis of metrics like team participation over a period of time allows you to identify opportunities to improve team engagement.
Troopr comes with beautiful web reports for visualizing standup responses, team engagement, and mood reports.
Shared Channel Support
Slack allows your team to collaborate with external organization members in shared channels.
Suppose you are working with one or more external organizations in shared channels. In that case, you may want to run standup meetings in shared channels, including members from the external organizations as participants.
Troopr is the only Slack Standup bot that allows you to run Standup meetings in Slack shared channels. If running Slack Standup with external members is a priority for your team now or in the future, you should try Troopr.
When you set up connections with your tools your team uses, a Standup bot may automatically pull user activity and automatically attach it in the Standup report.
Tools that typically add the most value are ones your team uses for project management.
Troopr has the industry best Slack integration with Jira and Github. Troopr Standup automatically pulls user activity data from the connected Jira domain.
Troopr also automatically unfurls and links the issue mentions in the report. Troopr brings Slack an actionable list of Jira/Github issues relevant to the Standup report period.
The team holiday calendar is essential to allow the slack bot to not bother the team during holidays and off days. Individual user vacation calendar planning ensures participants of the Standup are not disturbed when they are on leave.
Troopr supports easy planning calendars for both teams and participants.
Standup bots optionally include the ability to track team mood by asking them a relevant question. Team mood tracking allows team members to build trust by sharing what is going on and opening up a discussion.
The scrum bot should allow easy export of one or more report data for your custom reports.
Now that you know how to evaluate features that matter for your team, next is getting to the all-important deal breakers.
The Deal Breakers
Once the Standup bot checks all the boxes for features relevant to your team, you want to evaluate the following deal-breakers to run effective standup meetings.
Reliable vendor: Essentially, the question here is, will the vendor be around the same time next year? If you see a sustainable business modal, that's a good indicator. If the team actively shares new product updates and fixes, that's another good sign. Customer testimonials help as well.
Reliable Support: Typically, you expect 24/5 email support. This will be easy to assess during the evaluation period.
Troopr provides 24/7 email and chat support for all customers, including ones in the free tier.
Affordable pricing: There are a bunch of free Standup bots with no advertised monetization plan. While they may have sufficient feature set for your needs, you have to investigate if there is enough motivation in the individual/team building it to keep the business going. Your best bet is to go with a free tier option in a commercial Standup bot or pick one with the most affordable pricing plan.
Troopr has the most generous free tier of all mature Slack Standup bot with 25 users and unlimited Standup meetings.
If you are in the market for a Slack Standup Bot, Troopr Slack Standup Bot is packed with a ton of features, including everything above.
The best part is all of this comes at a flat affordable price of all team sizes.
If you are a 25 member team, Troopr is free forever.
For up to 250 users, Troopr is flat $49.
This saves you several hundreds if not thousands of dollars every month for a comparable service.