Path: Capabilities: Team: Management: Updates
Saturday, 09 September 2017
9 Processes For Organizing Your Team’s Updates
Updates keep everyone in sync. But they’re a distraction to even think about. You want to focus on making progress, not on updating people, or getting updates from people.
Powered by Invisible Technologies, your team can forget about who needs to know what, when — and let your S.I. handle update processes.
Setting up a metrics dashboard, keeping the numbers up to date, maintaining a historical record — these are all things your S.I. will offer to do for you. What metrics do you currently track? What metrics are too time consuming, but which you’d like to track if you could?
One of the advantages of an S.I. is that it can collect information not just from APIs, but from humans. Manual data gathering is essential to measuring things like customer sentiment over time, and other forms of feedback. Even quantiative data like sales reports, CRM analytics and financial numbers, even industr and market metrics external to your company may not be as simple as clicking an add-on on a dashboard— but your S.I. can go fetch. Stop flying blind; let us do the work!
Reports are regular updates on tasks and projects.
A report can be as simple as “I completed these tasks”, or involve estimates on when sprint targets or objectives will be completed.
There is usually a reporting hierarchy. For example…
Team members send team leaders weekly reports. Team leaders send group leaders bi-weekly reports. Group leaders send executives monthly reports. Executives send the board quarterly reports.
At a 100 person company, that’s a standard reporting structure — and it’s fairly simple. But in practice, it rarely works the way it’s supposed to work. People forget to send in their reports. Reports get formatted differently. Leaders at the top struggle to abstract unstructured data. When systems breaks down, people default to intuition and ad-hoc queries.
Even at a 10 person company, it’s hard to actually build a reporting system that works. At that size, it should be easy to keep everyone in the loop — but ad-hoc communication tends to prevail.
Your S.I. can run the reporting process for you: sending reminders, making it as simple as responding to a few questions; formatting responses in the same way; helping managers abstract insights for their superiors; archiving data for later retrieval…
It can even handle very advanced reporting rules. A special project team may have members drawn from several standing teams, and may need its reports to go to individuals scattered throughout the Org Chart. All of this can be turned into a set of instructions, and reliably delivered.
Suppose you write a memo about “Launch Party Planning” and give it to your S.I. for distribution. Your S.I. will make sure the right people read it, receive it, and get back to you with what you requested.
Announcements are time-sensitive and short messages used to communicate information or make requests. Just write the announcement and give it to your S.I. for distribution. Your S.I. can even verify receipt from all recipients, and report back to you when everyone has acknowledged.
Letters are a long format for extended thinking. You can write letters to your team, your company or your board of directors. Letters can be used, for example, to review historical progress and suggest future plans.
Whereas reports only provide progress updates, letters build a narrative, and help to evolve and align thinking.
Letters can be regular or ad-hoc, and tend to be quarterly or annual. Your S.I. will ask you if you’d like to write them, save your preference, set aside time for you to write, and even collate responses.
Changelogs are product updates. Every time an upgrade is made and the version number is increased, a changelog is written to keep track of the evolution.
If you are a product manager, your S.I. not only remind you to update your changelog, but will help you draft them: ticking up the version number, filling out metadata, and pulling progress from Trello — as a few examples.
Make sure you receive updates on what matters to you. Tell your S.I. to monitor communication channels for you, and to look out for updates on certain topics or projects. Your S.I. can even collate these for you and set aside time for you to read them, so you can review them at a glance, and without distractions.
Sometimes you want an update on a specific task or project. But chasing people is a distraction for you, and a relationship drain. Because your S.I. is really their S.I. (even if they have different names, it’s the same system), it isn’t hard to chase people — you’re effectively sharing an assistant.
Want to be told every time there’s an update to the website? Or notified when the sales team hits their quota? Or to publish your archive of board of directors updates to your company’s blog?
Bring it on!
Most teams never achieve perfect sync. If they do, it comes at the cost of a massive communications overhead, which kills focus and productivity.
But for the first time, with Synthetic Intelligence, it is now possible for you to send and receive all updates through a single touch point — and trust that everything will be routed and returned on time.
You’ll never miss the memo.