Welcome to Authentic Journeys - ഓതെന്റിക് ജെർനീയ്സ് - US-India Cross-Cultural Training

Authentic Journeys on Facebook
Authentic Journeys on YouTube
Authentic Journeys on LinkedIn
Authentic Journeys on WhatsApp
    Welcome to Authentic Journeys - ഓതെന്റിക് ജെർനീയ്സ് - US-India Cross-Cultural Training

September 25, 2020

Deliver Impressive Status Updates

Do you ever feel your client isn't impressed with your status updates? 

Do you hear clients ask you for more information or appear to challenge your status updates?

If you are a team lead, do you feel you need to repeat or talk in place of your team members as their status updates just "aren't cutting it?"

Deliver Impressive Status Updates Training Program

Well, we are here to help you and your team to improve status updating be it during the scrum ceremony of the daily stand up meeting or via written emails or messages. 

We have helped teams and team members like yours who are highly skilled, technically, but may find themselves not so confident about articulating their work, as noted in the testimonial below: 

"I write this recommendation as a Thank You Note to Jennifer, a consultant at Contentment India and as a reference to anyone out there who needs help to communicate with more clarity with Indian teammates and clients across global borders. One of my team members, who excels at his work, was facing problems in articulating his thoughts. Jennifer spent time with him and realised that the primary reason why he was failing to communicate his thoughts was because he did not know how to create an outline or structure his speech/thoughts. She worked with him with great dedication and I must state as an observation here that Jennifer is very sensitive to people’s cultural and religious sentiments. As an American she shared a lot of her experiences in cross cultural communication and explained in simple terms an ordinary American’s expectation and tolerance level. All of this information with monitored practice has helped my team member overcome his communication weak point to a great extent. He now is a more confident person and is able to express himself well and my clients have taken a note of the same and now do see the real merits of my team member. Thank you Jennifer & Contentment India!" ~Amita Yathirajadas

It's only when a developer or team member can articulate what they did, what they are doing, what they will do, their blockers, and approaches for overcoming them (with possible brainstorming to follow), that clients gain more confidence in your team as well. 

So, let's see how our coaching approach helps your team to...

Deliver Impressive Status Updates

We help your team articulate the good and not-so-good news with confidence and expertise through on-the-spot mocks, self-retrospectives and peer feedback. In coaching sessions we identify two to three communication strategies the team member can apply to their particular types of updates. Some of these strategies may include learning how to:

  1. Talk about technical concepts in everyday English (for those non-techie clients)
  2. Express road blocks, what solutions they may have come up, which they may or may not have tried, the results and having the bravery to open a conversation about that.
  3. Identify ways to field questions they can't answer at the time they are asked.
  4. Articulate how features map to the customer/end user experience when needed. (Status updates are a perfect place for the developers to showcase they knowledge of the client's business which helps building consultative skills.) 
  5. Weave in or highlighting user stories when required.
  6. Create a repeatable approach to communicate bug fixes, so they are easily identifiable, yet not too wordy. (For example, "I fixed 10 bugs today." Is not a complete enough status update.)
  7. Address issue resolution, technical debt, backlog and more.
  8. Trouble shoot, identify, discuss and brainstorm roadblocks, preventing escalations and midnight firefighting scenarios. (As noted in some motivational feedback below...)
"I never imagined that by changing my emailing skills I could save time in getting work done. I was often frustrated as my U.S. colleague was not answering my emails or turning in work on time, which delayed my work as well. I often had to escalate these problems to my manager, who would email and call the colleague to sort out the issue. I never realized that changing a few simple approaches to writing email subject lines, using a few American English words and making small talk in emails would be so helpful. Within a month of applying Jennifer's tips, my manager received about 75% less escalation requests from me, making it possible for him to spend his time on more productive work." ~Global Team Member at EY, Kochi, India 

As we know, status updating is a critical element to the Daily Standup Meeting for Agile teams everywhere. This is not only where the team member demonstrates his or her technical expertise to the client, but with every interaction is the face of your company (especially for startups and smaller companies). 

One could say that good status updating not only solidifies a client relationship but sells your company's expertise every single time, so that when it comes time to get a referral or get the next best project, the client can proudly say without hesitation, "Yes, that development team communicated in an effective, proactive and collaborative way." In fact, every company, including yours, would love to get a testimonial similar to the snippet Borislava Baeva shared about Cabot Solutions in 2020 when Jennifer Kumar (the trainer/facilitator of this program) interviewed her. At that time, she said, without hesitation, 
"...[if I were to rate the team I worked with...]it's been a five. I haven't had an experience where it would be anything less than that.The one thing that, you know, I've talked a lot about their communications and just professionalism, but what I've also noticed is the team that I'm working [with] is insanely dedicated to this project and it seems very genuine, not kind of forced from the top." See more with Borislava of MyStrong Circle 
We can help you make this a reality.

It is not out of reach.

We specialize in helping you or your team members build cultural context, business context and confidence and fluency in English with foreign clients. We work predominately with non-native English speakers from India and around the world. We have seen stunning results in as little as 2-3 hours of 1 to 1 coaching. 

Are you ready to get started? Get in touch with us here.

However, if you're not yet convinced if this is for you... and you may have wondered, 

"How do I know if my status updates aren't good enough?" 

If after mentioning your status update, has your client ever said: 
  • I don't get that.. tell me more.
  • Can you repeat what you did? 
  • I need more information about....
  • What was your issue resolution strategy?
  • Why are you only telling me about the problems? Haven't you tried any solutions?
  • We also had X on the list for today... why haven't I heard about that? 
  • Why isn't Y on the list for tomorrow's tasks? 
  • I thought yesterday you did X but in today's update you mentioned Y.
  • Direct me to the exact bug or bugs you fixed. You are too vague. I need more details. 
  • The report you sent me is very long. I don't have time to read that. Be specific in your update.
  • Help me understand why you can't do X.....
  • Why doesn't the team share about why this or that is late? 
  • I need you to take responsibility for .....
  • Did you do X? Your status update is so vague.. and your colleague also mentioned working on the same thing....
  • Why did you just repeat the same thing you just said? I am asking for more details! 
  • Your update doesn't provide me any context... it's like white noise. Be specific!

So many we have worked with have heard these or other client responses thinking that maybe their English wasn't up to par, or maybe the client didn't understand their accent, or that they were talking too fast or not fast enough. Many blamed the fact the client was asking these questions on the quality of their English or the simple fact they aren't a native speaker. In fact, most non-native speakers we coach have really good English skills. It's just that they haven't been taught how to mix conversational and professional English in a polished way to articulate what needs to be said. 

Or, maybe your situation is a little different... have any of your team members or leads continually repeated what you just said or talk in your place because the client responds with any of the points above? If you are the one being repeated or you are the team lead doing the repeating... we can help build confidence in your developer to speak and be understood the first time. That means you as the team lead or project manager can do other things and the developer can handle the call all by themselves! Wouldn't that be freeing to you as the lead? And, wouldn't that be empowering to you as the developer? 

Maybe you have flashbacks from college where you had to stand in front of your department head and be questioned about your Viva Voce. Just like small talk is not a viva, do not approach this with the mindset of being in a Viva. Think about it as everyday you are sharing your knowledge and expertise with someone who wants to... and needs to hear that. Once you get the formula right, these responses noted above typically come to an end and a warmer more relational interaction occurs. One where many surprisingly noted that, "Now I feel more like a friend with my client... they share about their life with me... and this helps with the status updating, asking questions, clearing doubts, pushing back.. in fact.. everything is connected!"

When clients and service providers have this relationship, your business grows! 

We can make this a reality!

So, are you ready to get started now? Get in touch with us.

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.