💡 How to simplify employee standups with automation

Hey Makers :wave:

Hope October’s been treating you well :beers:

Just like every second Thursday, here I am with a fresh story of a certified Make partner simplifying lives with automation.

This time around, we talked to the Make Community’s very own @make_expert

:white_check_mark: Fact: The more a business grows, the more people and processes it has to manage.

To keep teams task-oriented and productive, one digital agency, Outliant, relies on daily standup meetings, where employees share the status of their projects and their daily activities – all submitted via Slack.

:face_with_head_bandage: But, as you might imagine, there are a few problems with this method:

  • Employees forgetting to submit their daily reports
  • Remote employees’ lack of involvement in the process
  • Too many submissions for management to read through every day
  • No actionable outcomes from this daily, required activity.

Not ideal, right? Well, add Sabbir Ahmed, Outliant’s automation specialist, to the equation.

:brain: Ahmed devised a solution using Make and Airtable to send a daily reminder to employees, and then push all submissions to Airtable, where they can be organized and analyzed later.

Now, Outliant is able to

  • generate accurate, up-to-date project reports
  • understand employee contributions and workloads
  • see the progress of projects at a glance
  • and keep everyone functioning at the highest level.

:arrow_down: Read on to hear more from Sabbir himself.

What problem were you trying to solve with your automation?

We were missing key insights from our daily standups. That part was necessary for our company to understand what employees are up to throughout the day. We already had a primitive system where employees would just type in their standup as a regular Slack message. But we wanted to make it actionable and insightful.

Why did the problem exist?

We have more than 200 employees working on many projects at the same time. This resulted in the postage of almost 200 standups each day, which were not only difficult to read through but also hard to make sense of. Also referring back to the older Slack messages is a big pain.

Furthermore, pushing those standups to Airtable was necessary because we needed to understand if everyone submitted their daily standup and if they did not, the system should notify them to do that. The issue was affecting getting the best performance out of our remote employees.

How did you solve the problem? What does your solution look like?

The process works like this:

  • At the end of the day, employees submit standups about the projects they worked on.

  • A Make scenario picks that standup, iterates the text based on the project, pushes each project’s standup to a separate Airtable record, gets time-tracking data, updates that Airtable record with time-tracked information, and then routes that standup to a corresponding Slack channel.

  • If someone doesn’t submit their standup for the day, Make pushes a notification message to their Slack. It is done using Make’s data store.

the magic powering the solution behind the scenes

What did your solution achieve?

  • Understanding of remote employees’ daily activities
  • Keeping logs of every accomplishment of all the projects in a chronological order
  • Better management of projects and relocation of employees for PMs
  • Overall, ensuring better accountability of both employees and managers

Sabbir: the man behind the scenario

Helpful Resources

:make: Airtable on Make
:make: Makes’ Data stores
:make: Slack on Make