Stand up with remote team mates just got easier

25 years ago on this day, the World Wide Web was born. And not only are we celebrating this fantastic human creation, we are celebrating that from today it has become even easier to collaborate as a remote team! It is now possible to launch an appear.in video room with one click from your Trello board, making team stand up meetings more efficient.

What’s up with “stand up”?

First things first. The good old “stand up” meeting, daily scrum or morning roll call was originally defined by the actual physical condition of the meeting, where the team members stand up, and the discomfort of standing for a long period of time keeps the meeting to a maximum of 15 minutes.

In agile and often digital environments the purpose of keeping face-to-face meetings mandatory, as well as short and efficient, is to ensure a synchronized team. With internet access now being ubiquitous in most places, the number of agile teams coworking from separate locations is growing. The need for remote communication has upped our expectation to a reality where apps and services work smoothly together and are easily integrated.

Remote team magic with Trello and appear.in

Trello is a popular digital task management tool designed to alleviate the communication challenges of a remote team. From today, 16 million Trello users can communicate even easier and do stand ups on video using the appear.in Power-up. Power-Ups turn Trello boards into living applications through adaptable features and integrations. SO! If you are using Trello with your team, you can now add the appear.in Power-Up to start a video room directly from your board with just one click!

How to enable the appear.in Power-up in Trello 💪

Enabling the appear.in Power-Up will give you a new button inside your board. Clicking the button will open the appear.in room in a new tab, and you can drag it out as a separate window and resize it to show the videos next to the board.
  1. Click “Show menu” on the top right of your Trello board
  2. Click on “Power Ups”
  3. Enable appear.in
  4. If you already have a team room in appear.in, click Settings > “Edit Power-up Settings”, enter the room name and click “Update” (If you don’t do this you will get a random room).
  5. The appear.in button is now visible on the top menu
  6. When it’s time for your team meeting, tell everyone to click the appear.in button
  7. A separate tab will open with the appear.in room, drag the tab out in to a separate window and resize it so you can see both the board and the people on video!
  8. Bonus bullet: If someone (you?) is muted but still want to give feedback, try out the video stickers 😁
Adding the appear.in Power-up is straightforward and explained step-by-step below

How we do standups at appear.in

While the majority of our team is colocated, someone usually works remotely. Daily at 11:15am our engineering team has a 15 min stand up in the corner of our office. Those who are working from home/the bus/the cabin/abroad will join on video, and everyone takes turns sharing what they did yesterday, what they’re doing today and whether they need help with anything, such as code reviews etc.

The Trello Power-up integration is perfect for stand ups with remote teams, such as ours :)

As our team has been growing, it has become a big problem that the people who are remote can’t see everyone that’s huddled around the camera, and that some people have to stand so far away that their sound becomes bad. So we started experimenting with buying off-the-shelf hardware that could improve the experience. And fortunately you don’t have to have millions to get good video quality!

Our current setup is a TV with a Mac Mini connected, and for camera and microphone we use one of two option:

  1. Logitech Conference Cam Connect, which has a microphone and speaker integrated
  2. Huddly camera (pilot ) and a Jabra Speak 510 microphone/speaker (see comparing images below)
The Huddly camera is developed by some good friends of ours here in Oslo, and gives a much better wide-angle so that everyone fits in the same frame. If we compare the view from Huddly (above) with the view from a regular Macbook (below), you see that it gives you a much better overview of the room and everyone present.

Tips!

  1. Read Marketing Manager at Trello, Stella Garbers Tips For Managing A Remote Team
  2. appear.in also integrates with Slack, HipChat and Podio
  3. The upcoming premium version of appear.in will support widescreen camera! Sign up here to get updates about premium when it’s ready to launch 😎

PS:

Follow our new publication “The Making of (appear.in)” on Medium for inside stories from our team!