Keeping your team on the same page is crucial to the success of agile teams. That’s why giving regular team updates is a key responsibility of any team leader, whether you do team updates as part of your daily standup, or asynchronously using a tool like Slack. The point is visibility and alignment.
When teams get busy with a huge project or sprint, it’s easy to end up working in silos, and lose sight of the big picture. Team updates can help identify blockers before they become major issues. Plus, consistent team updates can help boost morale because everyone has a better sense of collaboration, and you’re more likely to feel like you're truly all working together. On the other hand, you don’t want to include too much in your team update, and lose efficiency in a long meeting. Getting too bogged down in the details can slow down your team’s momentum. It’s all about finding that balance!
In this article, we'll share some best practices for mastering the art of team updates. And we’ll show you how Spinach can act as your AI Scrum Master to help you get the most out of your team updates so you can drive better results.
What is a team update?
In simple terms, a team update is a way to communicate progress on a project or task. The team update helps you check in with the team and explain how well the team is doing overall. It's a crucial means of communication, ensuring everyone stays in sync, understands their roles, and aligns with the team's goals.
Team leads can share team updates in a variety of ways. Some prefer written reports or a simple Slack message, while others opt for a presentation or even the traditional verbal stand-up meeting — the goal remains the same: clarity, alignment, and progress.
What should you include in a team update?
Knowing what to include (and not include) in a team update is key. You have to strike the right balance between including the right information, but you don’t want to overdo it with a detail overload. A template can get you started, and help you prioritize only the most important update items, so you don’t get too bogged down in the details and end up with a meeting that runs too long.
Here are our tips for what to include in a team update for maximum impact:
Accomplishments and setbacks
This part of the update is fairly simple. Celebrate the highs and acknowledge the lows.
Every team has its moments of glory and days of struggle. Not everything will be positive all the time, but you don’t want to just focus on the negative either. Showcasing achievements like completed projects or milestones can boost morale. At the same time, addressing setbacks or roadblocks ensures transparency and helps identify solutions.
Ongoing status updates on projects
No one likes being in the dark, especially about projects they're knee-deep in. Team leads can provide a snapshot of ongoing tasks and project management insights so the team members know where they stand.
Include any blockers or teamwork barriers that may hinder project completion. Don’t forget to highlight the progress made since the last update, and always define clear action items and responsibilities to avoid ambiguity.
Upcoming plans or objectives
Team updates are also a great time to share what’s next for the team. Mention your next steps, key objectives, and where you're headed. Giving a clear outline of the team's focus with your status reports keeps everyone motivated and directionally aware.
Changes in strategy
Ever heard the saying, "Change is the only constant?" If there's a shift in strategy or an update in goals, shout it from the rooftops during team meetings and updates. Not only does this potentially impact your plan, but it may also impact prioritization and project workflow. It’s better to bring it up during a team update meeting than a Scrum meeting, after all.
Explain the 'why' behind the change, and align it with the broader team goals. After all, everyone deserves to know the play!
Company or department updates
Last but not least, focus on the bigger picture. Share relevant updates from the mothership (aka the company) that might affect the team.
Whether it's a change in departmental strategy or company-wide news, keeping everyone informed solidifies unity and understanding. This transparency can also go a long way in making sure team members trust you and know you care to keep them in the know.
Tips for sharing Agile team updates effectively
Whether you're a seasoned Agile veteran or new to the game, you know that effective communication is essential to team success. Keep reading for our expert tips on using team updates to enhance collaboration and boost efficiency so that your updates are as effective as possible:
Use the right apps and tools
It seems like every day there’s a new software tool hitting the market that is tailor-made for Agile teams. With so many cool options to pick from, the real key is to find one that fits seamlessly with the way your team already works, so you can unlock new efficiency, and not add complexity.
Spinach is your AI Scrum Master that checks all the boxes. It integrates seamlessly with your existing tools, and gives your team instant meeting summaries, action items, and ticket suggestions.
Focus on frequent, short updates
Keep it short and sweet! Offering regular, bite-sized updates through stand-up meetings or other rapid communication channels ensures your team stays aligned, informed, and agile. Bottom line: don’t let a team update drag on too long and slow down your team’s momentum.
Encourage transparency with visualizations
A picture speaks a thousand words! Use visual aids like charts, graphs, or task boards to make your team's progress crystal clear. You may not want to use these in every weekly update or sync, but showing progress over time can keep the team motivated.
Visualizations not only cut through the noise but also foster accountability and make even the most intricate data digestible.
Discuss user stories, backlog items, and sprint goals
In the Agile world, it’s not just about the 'what', but the 'why' and the 'how'. Your team needs all the information to make sure it drives toward success. Otherwise, they may start working toward a goal that isn’t even necessary — what a waste of a meeting.
Dive into user stories, shed light on backlog items, and crystallize those sprint goals during team updates. Offering a snapshot of ongoing efforts and anticipated results keeps everyone on the same page.
Let Spinach help you make team updates easy
With the right approach and practice, team updates can be straightforward and easy to manage. Follow our expert tips and you’ll provide your team with everything they need for alignment and efficiency.
Spinach can help supercharge your team updates by facilitating better meetings and documenting decisions and action items, so nothing falls through the cracks. Spinach connects to your calendar, joins your video meeting, and then shares summaries in Slack. That way your team update lives on, long after your meeting ends. Spinach even links directly to your board, and suggests new tickets based on what you discuss.
Ready to revolutionize your team updates and all of your meetings? Elevate your Agile game with Spinach!