Love them or hate them, weekly updates are one of the easiest ways for managers to improve team communication and engagement. Whether by email, project management software, or your favorite communication tool, an effective status cadence encourages team members to share their recent achievements, project updates, and detail upcoming plans and priorities.
A strong status update process will pay for itself in shared understanding and alignment. Yet, it’s important to have the right frequency and balance, so that status sharing doesn't feel like micromanagement or create more work than the value it provides. When done the right way, your status process can be both lightweight but also give everyone on the team visibility and a clear understanding of how work is progressing.
Meet Koan reflections
In a nutshell, you can think of reflections as a highly evolved version of a weekly update or status report -- the important things you completed, are planning to get done next week, and any problems, issues, or blockers that you’re facing. All that, plus a simple way to check in on the progress of the team’s goals or OKRs. The great thing about doing this in Koan is gathering these insights in one transparent location. You can review past updates, have conversations in the context of the work, and flag progress towards important goals.
Weekly status reports are a great way to improve team communication, but only if they're clear, concise, and focused on what really matters. That means being deliberate about what goes into them—but also what is left out.
Koan reflections enable everyone to check in on the progress of critical goals regularly, establishing the essential behavior that is at the core of using goals to set the cadence of your team. When completing your reflection, you can update the metric, share your confidence rating, and provide feedback on why you gave the confidence rating.
Customize your reflections
As John Doerr writes in Measure What Matters, “OKRs are driven by data. They are animated by periodic check-ins, objective grading, and continuous reassessment—all in a spirit of no-judgment accountability.”
OKRs work best when they're a natural part of how teams work together and not when they're treated as yet another 'reporting tax' in service to the executive team. That's why reflections have always been the magic of Koan. They're not only a great way to check in on goal progress, they're truly valuable to teams as a core habit for reviewing progress, priorities, and problems, plus connecting with another through regular feedback loops.
As a core component of Koan, meaningful outcomes and deeper team connections are achieved through regular behaviors and feedback loops. In particular, many agile teams want to align reflecting (including retrospectives) with their bi-weekly sprint cadence.
That’s why we're excited to announce that our reflection schedule is now customizable. With this new feature, you can adjust your settings to complete reflections every week or every other week.
With Agile and Lean methodologies, looking back on the work is just as important as doing the work. If you’re not measuring and learning from the work, you really have no idea how projects are actually progressing or if what you’re building is the right thing. Reflections and retrospectives help teams to look back on what they’ve built and how they’ve built it, and iterate to improve over time.
Connecting weekly or bi-weekly activities to team goals creates an engaging workflow that provides space for the ‘full picture’ of progress.
In addition to selecting the right cadence to reflect for your team, you can also customize the questions within reflections. By default, Koan follows the 3Ps structure, where you highlight progress made, upcoming priorities, and any problems that others should be aware of.
Learn more about how to adjust your reflection settings.
And if you haven’t already signed up, get started managing your goals and reflections using Koan absolutely free.