Agile Project Management Automated:
10 Agile Processes
to Put on Autopilot
Do you know there is a powerful way to automate
Agile Project Management processes?
Yes, it's now possible. Clear for takeoff.
✈️
In this guide, we talk about 10 the most effective Agile practices explaining how to run them efficiently.
For each process, you'll find a step-by-step instruction on how to automate them using Slack and Standuply Slack App.

It took us three years to build it all. With so many features on board, we see a need for the full guide on using Agile Project Management with Standuply.

It can save hundreds of hours for you and your team. Proven by thousands of happy customers.
What is Standuply?
Standuply is the most popular Agile Project Management Slack App used by thousands of teams including Slack, IBM, Google to automate their unique workflows.

However, there are several repetitive patterns across many teams.

These are the three most popular automation workflows among Standuply customers.
1
Replacement of physical standup meetings altogether
You'd be surprised to know how many developers hate standup meetings. For some of them, it's a distraction, others don't like talking much. Overall, an easy-going process becomes a hurdle for an Agile development team.

In addition, when a team is remote scheduling standup meetings could be a pain in the calendar. Since the remote work is a popular trend nowadays, many teams start to feel that pain.

The solution is easy and elegant: replace a standup meeting via a scheduled survey on Slack. Standuply does that perfectly with customized questions, flexible scheduling options, and integrations.

As a result, team-members receive daily updates in their #standup Slack channel without being distracted. Being asynchronous fits every remote worker keeping them motivated :)
2
Partial replacement of physical standup meetings
Keeping a personal touch and high morale in a Scrum team is important. It's one of the purposes of a standup meeting. As mentioned above having a meeting every single day could be overhead. But at the same time, it's crucial to update everyone on a team on a daily basis.

Some teams decide to run 2-3 physical standup meetings a week and automate others via Slack using Slanduply. The additional benefit of that approach is that Standuply saves a history of all the meetings to be explored later (if needed).

For example, we at Standuply have meetings via Slack from Mon to Thu and on Friday we gather together for online standup meeting via Zoom.
3
Preparation for a physical standup meeting (standup agenda)
Developers often come unprepared to standup meetings. We don't mean to be fully prepared, but at least to think a bit prior to a meeting of current tasks/obstacles. Few people do that. It leads to longer meetings and unnecessary discussions.

By the way, it's one more reason developers dislike standup meetings.

There is a simple and yet powerful solution. Standuply surveys team-members and then delivers a brief report just before the physical standup meeting. This way people start thinking about their progress beforehand and all members can skim through the answers and prepare their questions or comments.

As a result, a standup meeting goes quickly and straight to the point.
Now, you can unfasten seat belts and enjoy the flight. We'll pass Agile processes and dive deeper into how to set them on autopilot which wasn't possible before.
STAND-UP MEETING
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Stand-up meeting in Agile Project Management

Agile teams run standup meetings every day, always at the same time, most often at the beginning of the day. Here come the question: what to say in standup meeting?

Scrum Master (meeting host) asks three questions that each member of the meeting must answer. They may sound different, but the essence should remain the same:

— What did you do yesterday?
— What do you plan to do today?
— Do you have any obstacles?


The standup meeting is time-boxed to 15 minutes. All the discussions longer than a minute or where only a few members are needed should be scheduled as a separate meeting. Daily standup should be quick to inform everyone on the team's progress and potential obstacles.

Overall, standup meetings have three purposes: focus, accountability, motivation. When done right, it's a great practice that improves a team's productivity.

Want to quickly learn about Scrum? Here's the great video about it.

In this post we described various aspects of running Scrum meetings.
Setting up stand-up meetings with Standuply
Standuply has several automation options to improve your virtual stand-up meetings. We call those automation reports. You can configure your own report or choose any of the predefined options.
All report options in Standuply
Classic Standup Report
This is a classic way of running a standup meeting with the three questions (however, you can change them if you like).

You pick a schedule and people to ask and then Standuply reaches out to selected people and survey them asking questions you set up. Once the process is over, Standuply serves an aggregated report in a Slack channel.
In Slack the process looks like this:
Advanced Standup Report
This way of running a standup has an additional option to answer questions with a task input from your task tracker. Such an option appears when you choose a task response option from a dropdown menu near a corresponding question.
Сonnect Standuply to your task tracker (JIRA, Trello, Asana) and define a list of tasks to be included in the question. Then a person will be able to choose a task from a list as an answer.
In Slack the process looks like this:
Remote Team Standup
We designed this report type for teams distributed among different time zones.

When you define a schedule, you'll see User's local time zone in the time zones list (at the very top). With that option, Standuply surveys every person in a report based on their local time.

Let's say you have a standup at 9 am with folks from San Francisco, London, and Tokyo. So Standuply will reach out to all of them when it's 9 am in their cities.
Kanban Standup Report
This automation represents a different flow. Here Standuply asks selected people about specified inputs (tasks, in that case).

Think of it as the Advanced Standup Report combined with the Kanban board. Kanban focuses on reducing the amount of work in progress. Its goal to move tasks from start to done as fast as possible.

Aren't familiar with Kanban? Here's the short video explaining it in detail.
You choose a list of tasks to be asked about, but the questions are different compared to the Classic Standup. According to Kanban, questions are focused on the specific details for each task.
In Slack the process looks like this:
RETROSPECTIVE MEETING
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Retrospective meeting in Agile Project Management

A retrospective is a meeting held at the end of a Sprint to discuss what was done right and what can be improved. This meeting can drastically improve the development process of an Agile team, especially if the team is distributed.

A retrospective provides an opportunity for a team to look back and inspect its productivity. The role of scrum master is making sure that the team understands its purpose and holds a meeting on a regular basis.

The goal of the retrospective meeting is to improve the work of the processes. The whole team should decide what they want to:

— start doing in the next Sprint;
— stop doing;
— continue doing;


Using retrospectives, the team comes up with a plan of improvements for the next Sprint.

Setting up retrospective meetings with Standuply
Standuply records retrospective feedback from the team during the sprint and then sends it directly to Scrum Master or PM to be discussed during a retrospective meeting.

There is a Retrospective report template for that purpose in Standuply.

See the Retrospective feature webpage on Standuply.
First, you define a schedule. We recommend running a retro once every two weeks on Friday or after a finished sprint.
Then on the second step, you choose people to ask and type in questions. We have prefilled the set of questions for the retrospective, but feel free to choose whatever works for your team.
In Slack the process looks like this:
By the way, you can use it as a preparation before a physical retrospective meeting or as a replacement for that meeting.
FEEDBACK ON TASKS
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Feedback on tasks in Agile Project Management

When the task is done, there is one more thing experienced managers do about it. Their goal is to gather feedback on that particular task: was that engaging, challenging or boring? When people work too much on boring tasks, they become demotivated.

If you don't want that on your team, this Scrum process will help. It starts with asking your team members basic questions like How did you like working on <task>? or What tasks would you prefer working on in the future?.

The more advanced way is consistently run such a survey and keep track motivation results of every team member. You may notice that someone starts feeling low about her task. It's time to get involved and solve this issue in the next one-on-one meeting.

Sometimes it's just enough to keep track of the overall engagement state on the team. Moreover, you can survey the team not only on finished tasks but on on-going tasks if you feel the progress slows down.

In this very detailed guide, you'll find out how to prioritize tasks and figure out which ones are most appropriate for your project's needs.
Setting up feedback on tasks survey with Standuply
There are two automation report templates in Standuply to set it up: Survey on Current Tasks and Feedback on Finished Tasks.
Well, the names speak to themselves. As usual, it starts with a schedule and a circle of people to ask.

Further, you define a list of tasks and a set of questions to ask everyone about those tasks. We have prefilled the set of questions, but feel free to write down whatever works for your team.
In Slack the process looks like this:
360-DEGREE FEEDBACK
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360-degree feedback in Agile Project Management

360-degree feedback is an Agile process of evaluating team-members when everyone provides feedback about each person. It helps to track the motivation and satisfaction levels of every individual in the company.

The 360-degree survey may consist of 5-15 questions about every person on self-awareness, drive for results, leadership, communication, teamwork. It has its pros and cons, though.

Usually, it's done once a quarter and then the results are compared to the previous 360-degree feedback of a certain person. Thus, the greatest value is seen after having at least 3-4 reviews of a particular person.

That's why it's crucial to keep records of all the 360 reviews in the company and run the processes consistently each quarter. Sometimes it's done by the HR manager, but more often we see Product/Project managers running this process on their Scrum teams.

Here you can find examples of 360-degree feedback survey questions.
And here's the a similar template by Surveymonkey.
Setting up 360-degree feedback with Standuply
Choose the 360 Feedback Survey template and let's move on.
You'll see that it's set up to run once a quarter, but you can change it if you need a process to run more often.
Keep in mind, that a 360-degree survey is quite a long one. We recommend increasing the number of failed attempts to ensure everyone will find time to fill out the survey. As a default, we set it up for 15 attempts.

It means that starting from the 1st day of the survey if the user hasn't provided their answers, Standuply will get back to that person on the next day. The process will continue until either the person provided the answers or the number of attempts is over.

On the second step, choose people to ask and the set of inputs to ask about. In this scenario, it will be people. So, first, you select survey participants and then a list of people to evaluate.
Then define questions to ask about each person. As usual, we have prefilled the set of questions. Some questions in 360 review include conditional answers. It means that depending on the respondent's feedback Standuply will ask additional questions if needed. Of course, you can customize every question and answer for your team.
In Slack the process looks like this:
PLANNING POKER
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Planning Poker in Agile Project Management

Planning Poker is a powerful estimation technique used in Agile Project Management. It helps them quickly come to an agreement on each task estimation with story points, days, or any other estimating unit. Sometimes teams use special poker cards, so this Scrum process looks like playing a game.

Here's a good read with details on Planning Poker. Another one by Mike Cohn is here.

As a consensus-based technique, Planning Poker involves all the Scrum team members. Every person blindly provides their task estimation according to the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, etc). Then estimations are revealed and compared.

If all estimators selected the same value, that becomes the estimate. If not, the team discusses their estimates. The high and low estimators should especially share their reasons. Then the process runs again until all estimators provide the same estimate.

Planning Poker technique ensures there is no one person whose opinion effects on others. Everyone has their own vote and understands what is the definition of responsibility.
Setting up Planning Poker via Standuply
Click on the Planning Poker report template when creating a report in Standuply and pick a schedule based on your workflow.
You can run that process after the Sprint planning meeting to let the team evaluate the tasks asynchronously.

After that, you choose people to ask and tasks to evaluate. It's done as a survey with different estimation options. Feel free to tweak it according to your needs.

See the Planning Poker feature webpage on Standuply.
Once the process is over, you will have survey results in Slack. The team can discuss it if provided estimations differ a lot.
In Slack the process looks like this:
BACKLOG GROOMING
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Backlog Grooming in Agile Project Management

Backlog Grooming is an essential Agile process for a team to review and update items in their sprint product backlog. This activity consists of five steps and occurs on a regular basis in Agile Project Management and could be a scheduled meeting.

The product owner and the rest of the team get together and run through the Scrum Board together to ensure the backlog contains the appropriate items, they are prioritized and ready to be delivered.

Backlog grooming helps a team avoid rework by not doing what isn't important and always keeping in focus actual sprint plans and things of the top priority. As a result, a team moves quicker and stays highly motivated.

However, when the Scrum Board is digital there are modern ways to do so. Here's how you can run Backlog Grooming using Slack and Standuply.

This article describes Backlog Grooming in all the details.
Setting up Backlog Grooming via Standuply
Choose the Backlog Grooming report template in Standuply for that purpose.
We recommend running this process a few days before the new Sprint planning, especially if your team is distributed. This way your team is able to review the backlog tasks asynchronously with no rush.

To schedule it correctly, there is an option 'Every specific date' on the first step when creating a report in Standuply.

See the Backlog Grooming feature webpage on Standuply.
Сhoose people to ask, tasks to groom and set up questions. We have prefilled the questions for Backlog Grooming but you can create your versions.
When the whole team consistently participates in the processes, you can have all tasks groomed by the date of the next Sprint. Sometimes it's better to select fewer tasks to ask about. In this case, team members more likely will finish the survey.
In Slack the process looks like this:
TEAM MOTIVATION CHECK-UP
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Team motivation check-up in Agile Project Management

While 360-degree feedback provides the full picture quarterly, you may want to check the team's mood more often. It's important to keep track of the team's motivation for many reasons. Especially, it's critical to sustain a healthy team culture in a remote team, for example, celebrate your success together even if you're not sitting in the same room.

First, team culture is extremely important part of team work. We're all humans with a different emotional background and motivations. When a person is highly motivated, he/she delivers the best results and energizes the whole team. In contrast, the person feeling depressed may drag the team down and delay the deadlines.

When a team is small, an experienced manager feels the team's vibe. But as the team grows measuring team happiness becomes more complex and lacks consistency. That's where the team motivation survey kicks in.

Sometimes it's enough to track the general climate in the team, rather than personal inputs. Motivation check-up survey acts like team mood barometer and may be anonymous if questions are sensitive. Usually, teams run them once a week or twice a month to keep the rhythm and see the trend.

Standuply eliminates the complexity in that process and makes it consistent.
Setting up Team Motivation Survey with Standuply
Choose the Mood Report template, our mood monitoring tool, from the list of templates and let's talk about the schedule.
We bet you don't want your team to be bored with such a survey. That's why we set it up to run once a week on Wednesday by the end of the working day.

On the second step, select people to ask and configure the questionnaire. We have prefilled the question you might want to ask, but feel free to come up with something different.
Moreover, you can set up a conditional question for those ones whose answers fall into a warning zone. Also, the survey can be anonymous, this way you can get the most honest answers.
In Slack the process looks like this:
ONE-ON-ONE MEETING
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One-on-one meeting in Agile Project Management

A one-on-one meeting is used to keep track and improve the personal development of each team member. It's all about them — their tasks, goals, as well as their personal growth or obstacles. Leader's mission during one on one is to push a person in the right direction and identify possible problems at an early stage.

One-on-ones help to reveal personal goals for an employee. Sometimes it can be a problem due to lack of experience or poor processes. Then these meetings are used to track the progress of a person towards personal achievements.

As with 360-degree feedback, it's crucial to write down the results of each one-on-one meeting with every team member. As time passes, a manager will able to see the progress (or lack of it) based on previous meetings minutes.

There should always be a personal action plan for the next period. It's what makes a change. Also, a consistent process forms a positive habit for both a manager and an employee.

Need a one-on-one meeting checklist? It's here.
Setting up One-On-One meetings with Standuply
To configure that choose the One-on-one report template.
This process should be regular, so choose whatever recurring schedule fits your workflow.

Then on the second step, choose one or several people to ask and fill up questions. We have prefilled questions for the productive one-on-ones. Use them either to gather data before the physical meeting or as a replacement for your one-on-ones.

If you want a better input, you can allow video/voice answers so that a person can record his/her voice which could allow you to understand unspoken moments.

Of course, in a real one-on-one meeting there should be much more questions, but in that case our screenshot would be endless. But don't worry, we prefilled a template for you.
In Slack the process looks like this:
TEAM GOALS
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Team goals in Agile Project Management

Sprint Goals are essential for a Scrum team. Agile Teams plan their work using tasks ('stories') that are small enough to be completed in a single iteration. Ideally, the combination of all the stories is a concrete deliverable ('sprint goal').

Sprint Goals help in understanding and maintaining a broader view of what the team intends to accomplish in each Sprint. Goals set to keep the team clearly focused and acts like a North Star showing the chosen way.

Sprint goals are fundamental for transparency and team alignment. Ideally, the team understands the business value of each iteration and its goal. The most experienced product owners not only set goals but also explain their business purpose.

During the sprint, the team doesn't need to discuss the goals (and, ideally the goals don't change during a Sprint). It's enough to remind the team of the goals to keep everyone on the same page. A successful sprint is one that has achieved its goal.

Here's the full guide on Scrum we recently wrote and here's Sprint Goals template.
Setting up Sprint Goals with Standuply
Choose the Team Goals report template and let's move on. It serves as a reminder for a manager to share the goals with the team.
Configure the schedule according to your workflows. On the second step, select people to ask who is responsible for the goals and set up the corresponding questions. You'll see our example prefilled.

See Team Goals feature and Team Performance webpages on Standuply.
In Slack the process looks like this:
TIME TRACKING
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Time tracking in Agile Project Management

Each team decides whether it's needed for them to log in the time spent on tasks or not. In offshore development, it's a must. Scrum teams log in story points rather than time. But if the team tracks time, everyone should log in all their work done.

Scrum teams, for example, can draw a Burndown chart and foresee when exactly all the work will be done. It can be done only when all story points are submitted in time. So, consistency makes or breaks this process.

It's always about the manager to convey the importance of that process and check whether it's in place. That's why there are so many time tracking apps out there.
Setting up Time Tracking with Standuply
To track time chose the Time tracking report template in Standuply. It serves as a reminder for your team to log in their work.
First define a schedule and then select people from your team. In the question field, you can add a link to a place where you log in work hours.
In Slack the process looks like this:
Using Standuply to automate other processes? Or haven't found a description of the processes in place on your team?

Let us know in the comments below!
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