Virtual Huddle

Virtual Huddle: A Traditional Conference Call Alternative

Posted on Posted in Management System

There is a lot of truth about conference calls in the below video. Conference calls can be frustrating for the attendees and the organizer.  Awkward silences. Distracting noises. Bad reception. These are all annoyances that anyone who has been on a conference call can relate to and that is why this video is so great. Without a structured agenda, conference calls can feel like they drag on without a purpose. Even with a “traditional” update agenda, conference calls can become mundane and lack engagement. Why not try a virtual huddle by applying the daily huddle board concept to a conference call?

Video credit:  “A Conference Call in Real Life” via tRIPP & tYLER

A Virtual Huddle Increases Engagement

Over a traditional conference call, a virtual huddle can increase engagement within a team when used on a regular basis and with a standard format. I’ve experienced this myself in a team setting. I found this to be true as the leader of a weekly call on the roll-out of a lean management system implementation. The traditional format of general updates and next steps wasn’t working and failed to produce engagement among the various team members.

Using a simple format, our huddles lasted 30 minute leaving the executive sponsors and team leaders with a common understanding of status and next steps. The team would strive to identify the answers to the following three questions:

  1. What activity took place this week?
  2. What needs improvement or is delayed?
  3. How can leadership support the team?

Using this simple format, the team quickly provided a status to the senior leadership on the call and attained support and guidance on next steps.

If it sounds simple, it’s because it is.  The challenge is remaining focused and keeping it simple.

So often, the teammates would want to get into the nitty-gritty detail.  They often had to be redirected and asked to bring the topic up in their weekly team meetings with their teammates for further discussion.

What’s the big deal?

This doesn’t sound much different than a traditional conference call -does it?  That’s because we haven’t discussed a central component.  In order for the discussion to become a virtual huddle, there needs to be a virtual huddle board.  That’s right: build the elements of the your daily management system in a virtual format.

There are many virtual formats that could be used:  a webpage, a sharepoint site, a spreadsheet/word editor/slide editor on a shared drive, a video call, a team trello board, etc.  Whatever the format, make sure it works for the team and be open to changes in the first few iterations.  After a few cycles, be sure to have the team decide on a standard format.

Finally, be aware that any technology can present challenges, find what works best for your team’s engagement.  Here’s one more from tRIPP & tYLER on video conferencing.

Video credit:  “A Video Conference Call in Real Life” via tRIPP & tYLER