In my previous article Why send a weekly update, we covered how written updates allow for a more structured thought process, how you can share more information with a broader audience, and frees product leaders up from status update meetings, or better yet, makes them more efficient.
How do you craft a concise update for a given initiative?
If you are across several initiatives, goals, or OKRs, then a short and sweet update that cuts to the chase for each will help keep any written update super digestible. For this, I recommend using the PPP framework (Progress, Plans, Problems)
- Progress - What has moved this week? What progress have you and the team made?
- Plans - What is planned for next week? What noteworthy activity next will help progress you closer to meeting the objective?
- Problems - What issues, obstacles, or surprises are you encountering that are preventing you from reaching your goal?
Progress - Lead with the wins
Celebrate the little victories
As part of a written update, I always try to lead with the wins of the week for each objective and call out what went well. It is important as a leader to acknowledge wins, celebrate them and the individuals involved, this empowers the individual which in turn nurtures a positive outcome-driven culture. Gary V sums it up rather well in his blog post.
“If you’re all about the hard parts of business then you’re probably not too concerned about what happens when you get to the top of the mountain. You just get to the next battle so you can win it. But this can be dangerous.” – Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia
Plans - What’s next?
Summarise the activities towards the next major milestone.
You’ve covered the progress, what is the next milestone you’re currently focused on. Be sure to highlight the milestone and target date if there is one, and the activities you and the team need to pursue in order to make it a reality. Try and call out no more than 2 - 3 major activities, if there are more, try and group them up into thematic buckets of work.
Problems - Encouraging feedback and questions
Call out blockers and next steps to resolution, or ask for help.
When calling out and stating problems in written updates, I’ve found it helpful to ask questions and invite feedback from the most engaged recipients. By acknowledging a problem you’re encountering and inviting feedback, you are more likely to achieve a better resolution.
If recipients do respond with comments or suggestions, it is important to acknowledge responses and to take feedback into consideration when plotting a path forward to resolving blockers.
When is the best time to send these updates?
Written updates like these are a fantastic way to close out what might have been a hectic week, and while I’ve seen exact sending times vary, everyone typically aims for the end of the week, so everyone has the update for the previous week in their inbox to kick off the new week. It is purely a personal choice depending on your own team dynamic and workflow.
Putting together these updates quickly
The benefits of composing an update and sharing it with your stakeholders and peers is a great investment of time (which product leaders often have very little off). Therefore solutions such as enform.io are designed to help product leaders quickly share updates within 20 minutes by integrating with other platforms such as Jira, Google Analytics, and Salesforce. If you want to learn more, get started for free or say hi at firstname.lastname@example.org