How we use weekly reviews in our startup
What is one trait every ambitious team has in common? Meaningful progress. They want to make meaningful progress towards their goals. They want to do everything they can to follow their mission in the most effective manner.
Purpose and mission are two important drivers for teams, yet practical tools and system that make the everyday work easier are crucial to meaningful progress.
A couple of months ago, I watched a lecture from Y-combinator on youtube. They talked about practical ways on how founders and teams can prioritise their time. One of the simple, yet powerful concepts they shared is the weekly review.
What is a weekly review?
A weekly review for teams is, quite straightforward, a practice of answering 3 simple questions about your work last week. Every team member can do this in a Google Doc or in an e-mail. Ideally this is done on fridays right before everyone takes off into the weekend. The three questions of a weekly review are:
What was your highlight last week?
This is about what went well in the previous week. Any celebrations, achievements or positive feelings towards your work and team can be outlined here.
What didn’t go as well last week/What did you learn?
An important part of growth is understanding where you can improve. This question aims at identifying bottlenecks suer early.
What do you want to focus on next week?
While keeping the team’s primary objective in mind, every team member is asked to critically asses what the most important focus for next week could be.
That’s it! Those three questions make up a weekly review in it’s most basic form. It doesn’t take long to answer, yet it forces you to reflect and critically asses the progress of last week.
Why weekly reviews matter
As pointed out earlier, making meaningful progress is the single, biggest goal teams pursue. At the same time it is one of the hardest things to get right. Taking time to reflect every week is crucial to ensuring you’re staying on the right path.
Weekly reviews have two benefits for you and your team. Firstly, it helps you as a team leader to stay in the loop and understand how your team members are doing. Secondly, every member of the team needs to reflect on their individual growth and progress.
As a team leader, you can’t spend all day long talking to your team members. Especially in the times of remote work, it becomes more challenging to ensure progress throughout the team without micromanaging every action your team takes. It’s challenging to keep the overview. Additionally, quarterly feedback meetings might not cut it for you. If your team members are confronted with struggles and demotivating feelings, waiting till the end of the quarter is not sufficient. Instead, weekly reviews give you the power to understand how your team members are doing and help you give the right impulses.
Besides the effect weekly reviews have on the overview of team leaders, every single member can benefit from this weekly practice.
In our busy lives nowadays, we sometimes don’t find the time to take a step back, pause and reflect on how things are going. Yet, this is the key to individual growth that can eventually end up in superior performance of your team. Weekly reviews enable this individual reflection. Taking the time to reflect on what went well and what didn’t is an important driver towards meaningful work and satisfied co-workers.
Overall, weekly reviews have many positive effects on your team’s progress, culture and performance.
How we use weekly reviews
In our early stage startup, wespond, we use weekly reviews to make reflection an automatic, essential part of our work culture.
Every member of our team answers the three simple questions every friday.
My co-founder and I use these insights to reflect on how things are going. Do we need to make changes in our priorities? Has something great happened we want to share with the team? Where can we improve?
The insights we gather from the weekly review are of enormous value to us. The greatest ideas actually came from these weekly reviews where every team member can provide valuable input.
Additionally, these reviews serve as a great starting point for our weekly meeting on monday morning where we discuss the upcoming week.
By having an automated process for weekly reviews, we are always on top of things and can make changes, when they are needed.
This has immense benefits for the way we work together and helps us focus on the work that produces results that actually matter.
Lastly, one benefit we notice after using weekly reviews for several months now is that every team member is making an effort towards growth. Everyone is more aware of critically reflecting and challenging what we do. This is a great starting point for a feedback-driven culture that enables collective innovation.
Is your team using weekly reviews?
Now it’s your turn! Let us know what your experience with weekly reviews is. We are happy to hear how other teams are using this method and what adjustments they might have made.
By the way, we just opened up our early access program to the public for our brand-new weekly review tool. You can signup here.