“Comedian” standup chatbot preview: how remote standups can help your team

Standup.

Any business always strives to effectively use the time and skills of its employees since it directly affects the profit. Therefore, a business intends to solve employees’ problems and encourages their growth.

One of the biggest issues is that problems are often solved either by developers themselves (which is a bad practice) or by Project Managers(PMs) /Team Leads who are usually involved in many projects and do not have enough time to address all problems. The solution is effective communication within a team through remote standup meetings.

So, what is a remote standup, and why it is so useful?

    Remote standup is a message that contains the answers to the following basic questions:

  1. What did I do yesterday?
  2. What am I going to do today?
  3. What blocks my progress?

Team members usually write standups at the beginning of a working day in the project channel. This practice allows all the stakeholders to get an overview of what is going on in the project in general and by each team member particularly. It may turn out that two people are going to work on the same issue or someone faced the problem that was solved a week ago. Remote standups will make these problems visible and simplifies providing timely help and support.

A good standup is beneficial for everyone

  • A developer knows what he/she has done and what is a plan for today. One also can ask for help in case of problems and recognize unnecessary work if someone else does the same thing.
  • PM or Team Lead observes progress and can easily understand if a developer does a good job or tends to avoid problems. Besides, he/she sees if the task load for any of the team members is high or low. This information allows us to make the right decisions fast and appropriately.
  • The whole team sees how each member performs and motivates to accomplish more in less time, support each other in case of problems, and discuss solutions that lead to better products.

Now the majority of businesses recognize the importance and the benefits of remote standups meetings. Yet, people are lazy and until remote standups are not developed as a habit, they are written with little or no benefits to others, which makes no sense and at the same time forces team leads or PMs to spend additional time and efforts to make people disciplined and find out about their problems.

Comedian.

Therefore, we create a simple, but powerful chatbot @Comedian to automate the standup monitoring processes.

    Comedian assists you with the following

  1. Configuring standup deadlines for project
  2. Assigning team members to submit standups
  3. Generating informative reports by project, user, or user in the project
  4. Finding out about missed deadlines right away

Comedian figures out standups and stores them in the database. The bot reminds those who did not submit standup in 10 minutes (configurable) before the deadline. If a person for some reason missed the deadline, Comedian sends a message identifying this person. It continues reminding non-reporters later. Each day comedian also reports users who slacked, i.e. did not commit enough and have not logged enough time (parsing commits and work logs from other services).

Comedian is a slack bot written in Golang. You can download it, play with it, test it, and send pull requests or issues to make Comedian a better product to use by everyone.

    In the nearest future, we are planning to add:

  1. Direct messages to Project Manager about users who did not make commits or did not log enough time at work.
  2. Standup text analysis for standupers’ mood and problems to target problems quickly and solve them ASAP.
  3. Add more services support for a collector (Github, Bitbucket, etc.)
  4. Develop Comedian not only for Slack but also for other messengers such as Telegram.
Anatoliy Fedorenko.

Anatoliy Fedorenko

Backend developer
Custom Software and Mobile App Development.
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