How we improved communication, morale, and focus on our team with a better weekly meeting

tl;dr: We spend a few minutes every Monday morning talking about what happened the previous week, where we are now, and what we’re planning to accomplish this week. We do this together in a single document, which all team-members contribute to and read. Unlike stand-up meetings, which are valuable for some and pointless for others, often pressure-filled and competitive chores for others, our approach has proven to be valuable for all team members.

The long: Six months into Sonar’s life as a company, we were stressed out – there was so much to do all the time. While we used multiple tools to help keep track of everything, it was very easy to lose context and focus of what we were supposed to work on, especially in-between tasks. It also felt like we weren’t able to easily track our progress.

After working a few long weeks, we took a break and decided to take a long weekend off. Monday morning arrived and we had no idea of where to start. And so, to put things in context, we started to write down where we were the previous week. We wrote down what happened in-terms of events and statuses. We broke it down by company function: marketing, HR, sales, product development, and business development. This was done mostly from memory, with the help of our past emails and task-tracking tools as a guide. Rather than taking turns, we did this together in a Google document so we could collaborate.

Examples of what we recalled would be: there was a meeting, a couple sales call to so-and-so and are waiting for hear back about something, some company decided to come onboard, we decided to start working on feature X, we ended up finishing and deploying feature Y, etc…

Once we were caught up as a team, we started a second list with the same categories, but instead we listed what was going to happen that week. And that was it. We had a wonderful high-level summary of where we’d come from and where we were going.

After just one iteration, team members gained context their own assignments and responsibilities for the rest of the week. They got a powerful reference to weekly priorities. From the second week onwards, team-members gained continuity for their actions. Their morale increased because they gained a strong sense of direction and felt truly an active part of it.

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