The Blitz - Avengers Assemble

Avengers Stampede Assemble!

Every workplace has team meetings and Stampede is no different. Although we work remotely using our computers, we get together regularly for updates, discussions and sometimes just for casual purposes.

What is The Blitz?

The Blitz is the official name for Stampede’s version of a stand-up meeting, and it occurs every weekday at 1PM (GMT+8) over voice chat using Slack’s voice call feature. During every Blitz, a single person is given the responsibility of the Blitz Master. This person is responsible for facilitating the flow of a Blitz and keeping track of every project’s progress. For every project, there is a team member assigned to it, and the Blitz Master will ask each person on the project(s) they are leading.

What the Blitz Master will ask specifically about each project is the status of each project and its current ETA and percentage of completion. As to not waste any time during the meeting, everyone is expected to be prepared with their project updates. This makes for a rapid discussion that wraps up quickly and cleanly.

This goes in a round-robin fashion until the Blitz Master has taken note of every project. When our usual Blitz Master, Iwan is off for the day, someone else will take over his role and continue meeting as normal.

Blitz Master

Blitz Master Iwan in the house! Taken during our Hari Raya Blitz Meeting.

Once the main work-related portion of a Blitz is done, an inspirational quote will be pulled from our quote bank. Among the attendees of a Blitz, one of us will be chosen to best explain the quote. By doing so, we become motivated for the day and everyone learns a new lesson. Here are two examples of quotes that we have shared recently.

Challenges are what makes life interesting, overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

Everyone at Stampede is expected to participate in a Blitz unless they are on leave, or have a reason for not being able to attend. In which case, they must inform the Blitz Master, in advance on why they cannot attend.

Why do we do it?

Compared to most companies, the way we manage projects is unique. At Stampede, the role of project manager is shared among all team members. It empowers our team by giving designers and developers the opportunity to learn and practice project management skills.

At a functional level, it is also meant to update the management so that they know what is going on in the company. In addition, team members can know when to jump in and help out on other projects that need extra support.

A glimpse of how it looks like

It will be much easier for you as the reader to understand how a Blitz is run by showing you an everyday example of how it’s done. Iwan is the Blitz Master this round.

  • Iwan

    Iwan: Good day everyone, Happy Monday! Let’ start off today’s Blitz with a few good news! We have confirmation that Telaga Terminal redesign is about to kick-off and the client is excited to see our scheduling. On another note, we also have an RFP request for an e-commerce project and a potential v2 of an Australian project we worked on last year. Shaza will take care of both and will advise us once we have the go-ahead to proceed.

    We shall move on to all the project leads now.

    Jared, how is Constructs doing today?

  • Jared
    Jared: We published another article for Angular beginners yesterday and it was shared on a few Facebook groups. I have also asked Zana to give more social media exposure to this particular article because I think it’s something very helpful for people who are interested in Angular.
  • Zana
    Zana: Already done. I am watching the number of shares right now across all social media channels. Tony, you have Google Analytics covered?
  • Tony
    Tony: Yes, I have already prepared the report and will send it over after this.
  • Iwan
    Iwan: Okay, sounds good. Jared, what about Constructs UX improvements? We were at 60% yesterday. Does the ETA this Friday hold?
  • Jared
    Jared: We’re planning to finish up the rest of the improvements as planned on Trello. ETA holds.
  • Iwan
    Iwan: Awesome, thank you Jared! Hakim, how are we doing on Agile training?

This pattern continues one-by-one with each person, and can quickly wrap this up within 20 minutes.

It’s always evolving

The Blitz is an ongoing process to find the best way to run a quick but productive daily meeting at Stampede. It must be able to enable sharing of updates for all projects and to also fit the needs of the current team. In the past we used Skype for conducting our Blitz but have moved over to Slack voice calls ever since. Slack is great for us because we use it as our main working platform, for both internal and external communications.

“At its core, we are constantly changing aspects of The Blitz to fit the needs of the current team.”

One of the major changes to the Blitz was when we came across the ‘Daily Huddle’ concept. Its quick and rapid updates were perfect for Stampede and we were greatly inspired by its concept. In the past, each person would tell everyone else about what they were doing for the day and what they would be working on. Our current Blitz is tightly controlled, where the focus would be on project leads reporting on the status of their assigned projects. It is faster and more energetic, once again adding to the kick-start that we get at the start of each work day.

Consistency is the key

No matter how many times we change the format, what matters the most for a productive stand-up meeting is consistency. With every Blitz held on the same time every work day, it has become a habit for our team to attend. The Blitz Master doesn’t need to remind the team every time. The best time to hold the meeting however, depends on your team’s schedule.

“The scrum is less about strict rules and more about maximizing productivity.”

If your team assembles in the office early, then hold your meetings as the very first thing in the morning. If people enter in at different times, then run the stand-up at a time you know everyone is in. This also indirectly helps you identify late comers. But the Blitz is less about strict rules and more about maximizing productivity. Turning the daily or weekly meetings into a regular routine that fits your team’s unique schedule. It also helps ensure that it becomes an effective tool for your development team.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading this post on our culture at Stampede. We hope this has inspired you like how it has for us. How do you run team meetings at your workplace? We’d love to know your thoughts on The Blitz and how you think we can improve it. Drop us a comment and we’ll do our best to reply at the soonest. Again, thanks for reading!

For more Stampede culture and related content, please do consider liking us on Facebook and following us on our Twitter feed. Oh, and we can’t forget about Instagram, where Shaza and Zana posts some of the most amazing imagery ever.