First, give yourself a pat on the back.
You’re joining thousands of successful teams that use weekly updates to have shorter, more productive meetings, uncover issues quickly and hold the team accountable for results.
As a manager, there are several best practices for doing weekly updates well for your team:
1. Avoid status meetings
Everyone hates status meetings where everyone talks about what they are working on and nobody pays attention. Doing status updates in writing is much more efficient. This way, your meetings can be shorter and more productive, focused on discussion and decision making.
2. Give feedback
When your team members share their weekly update, they are laying out their plans, progress and problems. This is a perfect opportunity to provide feedback and help guide them. If praise is deserved, I often reply “Thanks Joe, project X looks right on point. Well done!”
3. Address concerns
Think of a time when you were in a meeting and someone brought up a big issue. You may have thought, “I wish I had known about this earlier!” By doing weekly updates, you’ll catch issues before they turn into fires. For example, when my head of customer success wrote about a software bug that was effecting customers, I looped in our head of technical support to provide a timeline for resolving the bug.
4. Hold the team accountable
When everyone’s plans and progress are shared in weekly updates, it’s easier to hold everyone accountable for doing what they said they were going to do since it’s all written down. I like the saying “if it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.” Use your weekly updates to ensure everyone is working on the right goals and making progress each week towards accomplishing them.
5. Be consistent
Every week, each team member should take 10 minutes to write their update and read everyone else’s prior to your team meeting. This becomes an excellent weekly ritual to keep everyone on the same page. Consistency helps build the habit: updates are always due at the same time each week, and your team meeting should be on a consistent day/time as well.
6. Make it a requirement
Weekly updates only work if you make it a part of your process. I recommend that as the leader, you also submit an update for full transparency with your team. I do weekly updates for all of my teams, from leadership to marketing. Submitting a weekly update should be expected, just like showing up to the team meeting.
7. Keep it in email
Everyone already uses email, so make sure to keep the entire weekly update process in email. Each week your team will get a reminder in their inbox with a link to submit their update. When they finish, it is sent in an email to the rest of the team. This makes it easy for everyone to participate in sharing their weekly update.
8. Avoid complexity
Weekly updates have to be simple and easy, or else team members won’t do it. Luckily, when you use the Weekly Update tool, your team members never have to create an account or login to submit their updates. It’s as simple as getting an email and filling out a form. This comes as a relief since nobody wants to manage “yet another software platform.”