The love for standup Slack bots has shot through the roof, particularly because of two reasons—geographically scattered employees and work-from-home employees. A remote working culture was the root need that led to welcoming and accepting of Slack, and many of its integrations. However, one cannot deny the benefits they provide over real-life, error-prone, communication. In terms of sheer productivity and workflow efficiency, online communication holds certain advantages over real-life communication:
- Increased accuracy
- Significant time-saving
- Scheduling flexibility for both employees and employer
- Asynchronous communication, with appropriate notifications and reminders
- The communication can be stored as data and compiled into reports
- Avoid awkwardness, induced by social misappropriations and human inhibitions.
Slack is an efficient online platform for corporate communication, because of its app integrations like Standup bots. These automated bots prove accurate and convenient in conducting regular Standups and follow-ups. The responses collected through the standups and follow-ups, are stored as data. Data, which on further processing, can be used to generate sprint reports. The prompt and precise functionalities of the standup bots facilitate communication on both employer and employee ends. And finally what sweetens the deal is that many of these standup bots are free!
Sup! A free standup Slack bot
The Sup bot is a very simple standup Slack bot that provides to-the-point functionalities. At its core, the bot is programmed to increase accuracy and convenience, and save time. This central vision of the Sup bot makes it a facilitator of productivity and blocker-free workflow. Integrating the Sup bot to your Slack platform, will prove to be a deciding step towards achieving your sprint goals.
The Sup bot stores the data from regular standups—creating a database. The bot can then access this data to generate reports that summarize your sprint progress. Consider Sup bot as the tool to lay the foundational report, over which you can shape your workflow. From an employee's perspective the Sup bot makes both stand-ups and follow-ups quick and short; an employee can convey the relevant information without wasting much of the working time.
1. One platform—complete solution
Communicate your daily task details in slack, accurately, across teams. By adding the Sup bot to your slack, transform the platform into a complete business communication solution. The tools of communication in Slack, like, channels, direct messages, and Slack bot aren't sufficiently designed to benefit regular standups and follow-ups.
You can regularly ask employees on channels for task updates, or maybe even instruct them for posting regular updates. But it doesn't work, particularly on two grounds—employees forget, and Slack lacks an appropriately structured reminder system. Standups and follow-ups need to be scheduled at different times of the day. Sometimes even different sets of questions for different departments. Employees will need a prompt schedule reminder, both in advance and upon delay.
Additionally, it's not just about collecting the responses, but also storing them and generating reports. Manually executing all these tasks on Slack is impractical. This is where you will need a dedicated bot, and this is where the Sup bot leaves its mark. The Sup bot can conduct standups, schedule follow-ups, set persistent reminders, store user responses, sort user responses, and compile reports.
2. Work from home with ease
An extensive integration of technology into our lives and lifestyles, followed by a terrifying pandemic, has transformed our view of the work environment. In a surprisingly short span, both employers and employees have welcomingly acknowledged the idea of work-from-home. The WFH setup is convenient and time-saving on the employee's end, whereas, cost-saving on the employer's end. Needless to say, it complies with the norms of an alarming health crisis. However, with a scattered and remote workforce, communication becomes an issue. A synchronized workflow falls short.
The Sup bot is a potent tool to tackle the issue of hindered communication, induced by a work-from-home setup. The Sup bot smartly identifies and addresses the hindrance causing issues, through its functionalities. Execution of features like Standups, follow-ups, and reports, are designed such that accommodate a work-from-home environment.
3. The must-have asynchronous Standup
What makes the Sup standup bot a boon to the work-from-home culture is its asynchronous Standups. It is implausible to gather employees online, synchronously, for a live Standup meeting. Organizations have tried it in their pre-slack days but failed utterly with poor quality of communication and unacceptable loss of time.
A major key to successful online business communication is asynchronous standups. The Sup bot regularly schedules a standup, in form of vital queries, that employees can individually respond to at their own convenient time. With this simple change of format in standup, Sup bot minimizes miscommunication and saves time.
4. Quick, but relevant Stand-ups
Traditionally, standups are quick and short meetings (where attendees stand and not sit,) to discuss the task highlights for the day. The points discussed must productively complement the sprint goals. The Sup bot brings this very core essence of traditional Standups, to its Standup features. The Sup bot conducts regular standups in form of a three-step questionnaire, querying upon three industry-specific concerns. For most businesses the queries circle around—Yesterday's task, today's task, and obstacles.
5. A worthy time-saver
The Sup bot is a time-saver in ways more than one. General bot characteristics like neat slack integration, informative dashboard, and quick data filtering, add a time-saving value. Additionally, asynchronous standup is a time-saving upgrade over the traditional form. Employees needing to commit for a few seconds, as compared to 15-20 minutes in traditional Standup meets.
On management's end, two features stand out as time-savers—automation and templates. The template feature allows you to save multiple sets of questions—for collecting regular user response on daily tasks, also known as standups and follow-ups. The multiple template feature allows you to make each template specific to a particular department. The feature of automation allows you to automate the regular scheduling of Standups and follow-ups, along with automated multiple reminders for each Standup and follow-up.
6. The convenience of customization
Now one might wonder can a fixed set of questions, cater to all businesses? Well no it can't, forget all businesses, it might be insufficient for running across all teams as well. A versatile standup bot should allow customization of templates. With the Sup bot you can change the default questions and include industry-specific questions, that reveal relevant insights. The bot also allows you to set multiple customized templates (for both standups and follow-ups,) to run across different teams.
7. The bot turns communication to data-oriented reports
Traditionally business communications, like standup meetings build the socio-intellectual base for intra-organizational interaction. Mainly to propel the workflow in a productive direction. However, the complex nature of human communication restricts it from being converted to digital data. At the most, you could jot down pointers for setting reminders and future references.
The Sup bot however can store communications and user responses, as computable data. This data will come in handy to the management department for generating thorough reports. The Sup bot will assist you to sort and store the data and compile it, to form reports.
Finally, to sweeten the deal, the bot can also export your data in Comma Separated Value (CSV) format to a local device. Which introduces flexibility and accuracy to your reporting. The CSV export is a novelty inclusion, optimizing your data storing process. With this feature, you can store, in a single file, the most relevant information from a huge chunk of data. The CSV export feature facilitates long-term data storage and long-term reporting.
8. Follow it up with Follow-ups
Every standup meeting needs a follow-up schedule, to maintain an appropriate workflow. The asynchronous standups will establish, each employee's work status and schedule. The aggregate standup report is then used to make further modifications to the workflow. Now as the work progresses throughout the day, at some point you will need to conduct quick evaluations to check your employee's current work status. If you find the employees are falling behind on the task expected of (or assigned to) them, the workflow will need further modifications. Thus, whilst standups are pivotal to initiating a workflow, follow-ups are important to keep the workflow on the right track.
The Sup bot is exceptional at scheduling and conducting follow-ups. You get the option to set and automate multiple follow-ups at different times of the day (conduct Work-In-Progress follow-ups or End-of-Day follow-ups.) You can select different customizable templates for different teams. And you can rely on the bot to remind the users of a scheduled Follow-up.
9. A user-friendly bot
The Sup bot lays heavy emphasis on making the workflow easy for its users. The bot integrates perfectly in slack—working together like hand and glove—generating Standup/follow-up reminders in slack, Standup/Follow-up response submission from slack, and response integration with relevant channels. Slack can also lead you to a dedicated web-based Sup dashboard, that is neatly organized and easy to navigate.
The reminder system of Sup bot is a subtle but considerate inclusion. An employee carried away in his/her workflow could easily lose track of time, consequently, missing out on scheduled Standups/Follow-ups. With the sup bot reminder system, missing out won't be a concern.
Caught up in work, even if you are unable to attend a standup/follow-up, the bot will make multiple attempts to catch your attention. And like a typical alarm system, you can also put the bot on snooze. Additionally, the Sup bot is smart enough to consider the issue of time-zone differences while sending a reminder.
10. Data sorting and filtering—a nightmare no more!
Data sorting is a fundamental preparation for reporting. But without an orderly system to handle the sorting process, it can soon get frustrating. The Sup bot allows you to sort and filter user responses based on date, user, and question. The three sorting options combined can yield very specific sorting results, making all kinds of reporting convenient.
11. See the bigger picture with timesheet
Your final goal is obviously to accelerate your productivity and boost revenue. But for that, you need a clear and all-inclusive picture of the work progress. You will need to compile all the daily reports, and structure a broad overview spread across a timeline. The Sup bot precisely helps you with this task with its timesheet feature. The timesheet can also help you with payroll management by accounting for the freelancers and extended team members.
12. And of course, it's free!
You will find multiple standup bots in the Slack app directory. But it's not just being free that makes a bot remarkable, it's being free whilst addressing the vital standup functions. The Sup standup slack bot is effective, which benefits the workflow—and free, which cuts down on extra cost.
What other options do you have?
Sup bot isn't the only free Standup Slack bot out there. You will find many other options, however, you must always rethink the relevancy of their functionality to your business. Apart from the free standup bots, you will find partially free standup bots—which are free for up to 10 users. An effective Standup-follow-up bot should never compromise on the must-have features, irrespective of any other special feature. Further, you must be sure of your business requirements, and accordingly, decide which bot best caters to your needs.
SimpleStandups is a worthy consideration, it's a paid app but it offers you 21 days of a free trial. Simple Standup offers you the flexibility of adding unlimited templates, with unlimited evaluation questions.
Agile Bot is a free standup bot for Slack that includes all the features like, automation, standup customization, follow-up reminder, and such.
In general, the free standup bots comprehensively cover all necessary standup and follow-up concerns.
What is right for you?
In the end it all boils down to what you and your business needs. Whether you need a standup bot for slack, and if you do, then which one? When you do make these decisions, ask yourself these three questions? Are you in complete control of your workflow? If not, what is hindering your control over the workflow? And finally, should you be paying to resolve the issue?
A standup bot will create a database of employee responses. This database will generate reports to review and control your workflow. Thus if you are lacking control over the workflow—a standup bot is what you need. Now to address the second question—what is hindering your control—is it a lack of data? Or, is it the inability to generate appropriate reports from the data? Or, is it altogether a different issue, like a miscommunication within the organization? Different Standup bots focus on different key areas. Once you sort out the key cause hindering your workflow control, you will know the bot you need.
Finally, addressing the third question, should you be paying to resolve the issue? You can easily answer this question if you know what's holding back your control over the workflow. If the key problem is addressed by one of the free standup bots, you definitely should not go for the paid ones. On the other hand, if the problem is not addressed by the free bots, you will have to consider a paid app. In the end, make a well thought—and well-informed decision. It will ensure that what you get, is indeed what you need.
You can begin your journey of experiencing the benefits of Standup/follow-up bots with Sup. Visit Sup website sup.today for feature details, or the Slack app directory slack.com/apps for Sup integration in Slack.
Install Sup: Add to Slack
Sub Website: Learn More about Sup
- Anubhav De