Do Distributed Development Meetings

When the physical distance between team members is more than 50 meters, the chances of unplanned communication drops to almost zero[1]. In distributed teams unplanned meetings generally won't occur for this reason. However, regular meetings are very important to discuss the project, stay up-to-date and exchange ideas. Therefore it's crucial to schedule regular digital meetings that all team members join simultaneously to stimulate the communication within the team and enforce frequent and open communication. In Improve Your Globally Distributed Software Engineering Experience by Using Proper Tools you can find more information about what tools are convenient to use for these meetings. Here you'll learn which meetings you should definitely have.


  1. Daily stand-ups. This might be the most important meeting to have every single day. No matter which working methodology you use, it is crucial to know every single day exactly what everyone did, which problems they encountered, and what they're going to work on that day. Try to find a time that works for everyone and let everyone block this time in their calendar every day. You should aim to keep the meeting short (5-15 minutes is generally a duration that works well), but keep in mind that it is fine to spend more time on discussing problems directly after the quick status updates of all team members. Everyone is already online and available to discuss important matters after all.
  2. Daily swarming sessions. When the team is distributed, it is important to create room for the team members to freely talk with each other about whatever needs be. It is recommended to schedule a swarming session at the same time every day that every team member can join. In this session issues can be discussed that might take a longer time than would be available in a daily meeting, people can get a feeling of what people are doing and how they're feeling, and they can build camaraderie on the team which is important to keep all team members engaged.
  3. Regular planning/prioritization meetings. When you're using SCRUM (see Part 4), you're probably used to having regular sprint planning meetings. When you're using Kanban, you might be using prioritization meetings every now and then. No matter the working methodology that you're using, it is important to review all tasks on the backlog every once in a while and prioritize them. Depending on the availability of the team members, it might be worth it to plan this meeting always on the same day and time.
  4. Regular reviews. In the end, the most important thing when producing software is to make the customer happy. To prevent miscommunication between the customer and your team, it is important to let the customer regularly review an intermediate version of the product that is built and give feedback on how it should be improved. When you're using SCRUM, a weekly or bi-weekly meeting is common.
  5. Regular retrospectives. Continuous improvement is a foundation of Lean manufacturing and essential to creating highly effective teams. During a retrospective meeting, the whole team reflects upon the process of how the software was built and aims to improve the workflow. Because some people are not used to express their ideas about which things could be improved, everyone should give at least a single point for improvement. You should aim to answer the following 3 questions with your team:
    • What went well?
    • What did not go well?
    • How can we improve?


  1. Allen, T. J. (1977). Managing the flow of technology: Technology transfer and the dissemination of technological information within the R&D organisation. Cambridge, MA: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.