We’ve all had the terrible, no good, very bad experience of being in yet another status update meeting:
Your productive flow in deep focus time is interrupted, You don’t hear half the updates because you’re busy anxiously trying to composing your own in your head (and failing to remember several things you did), And most of the updates you do hear are either too detailed or too vague to be of any use to you.
🙄 Can we just, like, not?
I remember the halcyon days of my early career, working at Google in mid-aughts. I worked from ball pits, ate gourmet lunches, and never had a status meeting. Because Google used ✨snippets✨. Plenty of folks have about what makes an effective tool, but TLDR:
Let your team write what they did (whenever they want to), and let people read the updates they care about (whenever they want to).
You could buy specialized products to collect & share snippets on your team (or you could be like Google and wildly over-engineer your own in-house version), but this is such a great use case for Coda’s “all-in-one” docs. And this easy-to-copy (and free) template will get you started in no time!
After a minute of setup, your team will get private Slack messages reminding them to write snippets in your team doc, and, instead of a status meeting, your team channel will get an automated announcement of status snippets being available to read.
When I introduced this tool to my team, it was successful beyond my wildest dreams. My coworkers not only appreciated that writing a snippet provided a nice closure to the work week, but they found their Monday mornings more pleasant and focused when they had already planned ahead what their next priority would be. And whenever folks left comments, kudos, and questions, it grew a positive feedback loop of engagement, instead of everyone feeling like they were giving status updates to the void.
I’ve learned so much more from my teammates’ status updates now that they write snippets. I’ve always missed stuff flying around in GitHub PRs, and now I have a way to find out if I missed anything important. When folks link to Slack threads with additional context on topics, I learn about new Slack channels I should probably join. And what was most surprising to me was that sometimes people wrote entire essays, going on for several paragraphs on some topic they wrestled mightily with, in a sort of combination rant/tech-talk. To me, that illustrates Slack’s lack of a social affordance to encourage deep knowledge sharing. It turns out that if you explicitly ask people to share information, give them an easy way to write it, and let them receive feedback, you get a lot of shared information. Who could have guessed?
Check out the tool on the 2nd page of this doc. Copy it into your own team hub and get snippet-ing!