Keeping the team in Sync

Or, why we never skip the Weekly

Transparency with our clients is key. And it’s just as important within the team. Every Thursday we hold a team meeting, without fail. The Weekly Sync is one of Vitamin Software’s most important alignment tools. It also helps team members acquire our values. Here’s how:

Setup

Let’s start with some context of what the Weekly Sync is: All of us meet up in a Hangouts conference. During the week since the last meeting, we’ve jotted down bullet points about what we want to discuss, in a Google doc that acts as the meeting’s agenda.

The meeting organizer leads the discussion and makes sure it keeps moving forward. During this two hour meeting, each of us takes turns and talks about the experience gained during the week.

The others share their experience on the topic or enquire about it, until each of us walks away with a lesson learned. And everything gets documented in the agenda by the week’s notetaker.

So, why do we do this?

Learning

First and foremost, the Weekly Sync is not a status report. It’s a place to present the victories and challenges we faced over the week. To own up to our fails. To share our wins. And, of course, to discuss them with the whole team and learn from them.

The Weekly Sync is in the Vitamin Software spirit: to learn all the time, from successes and mistakes. It gives us the chance to share what we’ve learned.
Ionut

That way we always improve and make our processes and methods more efficient. Because we never want to stop evolving. I don’t even think we can, really. Thus, we constantly upgrade the already established speed, quality and reliability of our work:

They also consistently reach out for feedback and try to find ways of doing a better job, which I really admire (one of Thread’s values is ‘relentless self-iteration’ which they embody).
Ben Phillips, CTO & CoFounder @ Thread.com (YCombinator success story)

Trust

Moreover, it helps us understand that we’re part of the team. Since we don’t work in the same space, (or even the same country for that matter), this is paramount. During the week we only meet for projects and discuss the tasks at hand. The Weekly helps us learn more about each other. The trust that develops makes us work a lot more efficiently together.

When I started working for Vitamin Software, it was the Weekly Sync that made me feel like I was part of the team and be able to empathize with the rest of the team members.
George

Respect

Beyond that trust, it sparks respect for the team and the people within it, but also for the work our team does. Since there are a lot of us, the people who aren’t talking mute their mic and let the other person finish, before unmuting.

This is good listening practice, which enables our mindfulness and empowers our analytical skills. And it’s visible in the relationships we share with our clients:

Communication with customers is first class.
Gavin Apter, CEO @ LoyalSnap

Pride

We discuss the challenges we faced and the lessons we learned throughout the week or years on the job. This gives the others a deeper understanding of what the whole company is doing, beyond their own projects. And it’s a two-way street. Well…ten-way, to be honest. And growing.

This allows us to have enough context to jump into a project faster, if the one responsible happens to be unavailable. It also makes us proud to be part of this team and of the projects we work on.

The staff at Vitamin always had excellent advice about overcoming obstacles and improving things.
Johannes De Beer, COO @ ListPremier

Ownership

Our client’s business is our business. The Weekly Sync helps each one of us contextualize the products we develop alongside them. Thus we understand how:

The things we work on are not merely random tasks, but have a place in the product lifecycle.
Ionut

This gives our team members that important sense of responsibility. The project becomes our baby, and we get more and more involved, going that extra mile to deliver quality:

Vitamin Software not only does an exceptional job delivering your projects, they also do an awesome job in helping you build and grow your online business.
Jari Kemppinen, CTO @ EducationCurb

Bottom Line

The Weekly Sync is one of our most important tools for team alignment. That’s why we never skip it, even if sometimes we have to keep it short (fires don’t wait for us, after all). It is one of the ways we make sure we stay on track and keep improving.

It’s how we create trust, respect and pride within the team. After all: Our team is our pride! Those values reflect on the relationships with our clients and the feeling of ownership for our projects.

That’s how we tackle the day’s challenges.

That’s how we turn them into wins.

…and that’s how we conquer the internet!