If you’ve been a part of a high-performing team at work, you’ve likely noticed two popular communication practices:
- Daily Stand-ups
- Weekly Updates
Both have their controversies, from employees complaining about having to physically stand during “stand-up” meetings to the additional emails that come from doing written weekly updates.
How do you determine which one is right for your team? Let’s breakdown the differences between each:
How it works: the team meets briefly each day (often standing in a circle) and each person shares a quick update on what they are working on and where they might need help.
Major Benefits: daily stand-ups are real-time feedback loops. Most projects don’t get done in one day, so the daily stand-up is a perfect time to ask quick questions, compare notes and ensure you are working in the right direction.
- They are quick and easy to do
- They help catch issues very early
- They are fun and give the team face-time
- They are very surface-level… each person may only speak for a minute
- There is little accountability because nothing is written down
- There isn’t always enough progress every day to share a meaningful update
How it works: each team member writes a quick recap of their plans, progress and problems each week, spending about 10 minutes doing so. Everyone on the team can read each other’s updates. This is typically done through email or using a tool like Weekly Update.
Major benefits: weekly updates are reflection feedback-loops. At the end of the week, there is meaningful progress for each person to reflect on, consider if they are moving towards the right goals, and make a thoughtful plan for next week.
- They create accountability by getting everything in writing
- They cause the team to reflect and organize their week
- They can be written and read at everyone’s convenience rather than at a mandatory time
- They require some extra work to write (typically about 10 minutes per week)
- Some concerns may need to be raised earlier than at the end of the week
- They aren’t as personal as a face-to-face with the team
Which should you use?
The best teams often do both. Daily Stand-ups and Weekly Updates serve very different purposes. The stand-ups are focused on quick gut-checks while the weekly updates are focused on reflection, organization, and accountability. The time investment for both is relatively minimal, and the benefits for the team are quite high.