Jurgen Appelo

Successful entrepreneur, Top 100 Leadership Speaker, Top 50 Management Expert, author of 4 books, junior in humility.

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Practice overview

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The Daily Cafe is a remote team meeting where a team checks in to address complex issues that require a quick conversation with multiple team members. It functions as a strong nudge to socialize and talk about things that matter, and as a hint not to postpone such conversations for more than 24 hours. The objective of this meeting is for your team to collaborate.

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Run a Daily Cafe with a Remote Team

Working remotely is a challenge. Use this guide to discuss important things in a daily remote team meeting. The daily cafe is best done while enjoying a coffee or other drink. ;-)

tag Daily Meeting
tag Remote Team
tag Daily Planning

Steps

1

Have a 5-minute chit-chat

Remote teams need some space to talk about more things than just work. Start with a non-work-related topic. There are great culture benefits from having a water cooler discussion to kick off a meeting.

2

Agree on the meeting leader

Assign a meeting facilitator. You can take turns, or it could be someone who likes doing this. The facilitator watches the agenda, makes sure that everyone participates, and keeps track of the action items.

3

Agree on duration

Achieve consensus on the maximum length of the meeting. 15 minutes? 30 minutes? Set yourself a time box.

4

Agree on an ELMO signal

To prevent meetings from taking too much time of people’s time, the team should have a kind and harmless way of signaling “Enough, Let’s Move On”. For example, people can hold up an empty coffee cup, keep one eye closed, or rotate their screen 90 degrees.

5

Collect agenda topics

Get everyone on the team to suggest topics for discussion. You can use the chat window of your video conferencing software, for example. Only address topics that affect everyone attending.

6

Prioritize agenda topics

Are there (too) many topics? Should one point be discussed first because of someone’s time constraints? Is there an issue best discussed last?

7

Discuss agenda topics

Discuss each topic until you have agreed on action items. Make a note of the action items and the names that go with the actions. As soon as an issue ends up being discussed between just two people, ask them to continue after the meeting. Also, stop talking when you notice several ELMO signals.

8

Review the action items

Make sure there is agreement on what the action items are by reviewing them collectively.

9

Quick effectiveness vote

Vote on the effectiveness of the meeting. This is easiest to do by counting to three and then holding up a number of fingers from 1 to 5, where 1 = "a waste of my time" and 5 = "glad I didn't miss this".

10

Post the action items

Share the action items asynchronously with the entire team. This is particularly handy for teammates who missed the meeting.