What makes a good status update?
Posted On: March 11, 2021
Have you wondered what makes a good status update?
Take a look at our program that has helped development teams outside of the US exhibit leadership presence with their US stakeholders.
Deliver Impressive Status Updates
Program Schedule: An 8 – 13 hour course. Up to 8 Participants.
Location: Online Meeting Room
Facilitator: Jennifer Kumar (learn more about Jennifer)
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / +95 39347529 (WhatsApp)
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?”
Do you want your team to be more proactive about sharing their updates?
If you feel as if you are pulling teeth to gather information from status updates from your development team, this program WILL bring a much desired shift.
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:
“We have learned how to articulate our status updates keeping in mind project timelines, dependencies with other team members and other business outcomes. Due to this, we have also become more of a self-managing team meaning the developers of various levels are driving the meetings, meaning our Project Manager and other managers are not calling on us or asking us for more details. We have noticed we have learned how to articulate most of the points that were being asked of us to provide before. Our Project Managers and clients have gained more confidence and trust in our technical abilities because of our ability to communicate as a team more impactfully during our standup meetings.” ~Senior Software Developer from India
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 merge their current knowledge with team collaboration and communication skills to answer the following questions:
- How do I give a good status update?
- What do you say in a status update meeting?
- What elements go into a good status update?
- How do I showcase my expertise and my team’s knowledge base?
- How can we tackle blockers in a status update?
- How can we know when to open up the conversation for brainstorming? Can we even do this?
- How can I possibly fit in all the important elements within 1-2 minutes?
- How can our team become more self-managing when delivering status updates during our standup meetings?
How Can My Team Understand What Makes a Good Status Update?
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:
- Talk about technical concepts in everyday English (for those non-techie clients)
- 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.
- Identify ways to field questions they can’t answer at the time they are asked.
- Identify questions that development teams can ask themselves to better prepare for status updates.
- 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.)
- Weave in or highlighting user stories when required.
- Share context to avoid vague or hard to identify tasks.
- Address issue resolution, technical debt, backlog and more.
- 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.
If you are looking for more of a group coaching program, see the images below for how we can coordinate such a program.
This program can be delivered as a group coaching or a 1:1 coaching program.
The minimum number of individuals for group coaching: 3
Maximum is 20 divided into groups of 5/6
We have divided the program into two rounds. The first round offers an introductory insight with exposure to industry trends, reading, strategies to improve fluency. The second round goes into more depth with more targeted feedback, especially in group coaching programs.
Deliver Impressive Status Updates Round 1:
Session #, Topic
- Goal Setting, Status Updating Rounds
- Status Updating Debriefs & Best Practices
- Balancing Details with the Big Picture
- Group Learning/Practice/Remote Working
- Approaching Blockers, Questioning Skills
- Brainstorming & Sharing Ideas
- Status Update Rounds, Goal Check in, Debrief Program
- Retrospective, program completion
Deliver Impressive Status Updates Round 2:
Session #, Topic
- Orientation/Blocker Brainstorming
- Adding Context to Blockers
- Opening Blockers to Discussion
- Context to Timeline
- Context to End User/Colleagues
- Program Retrospective and program completion
Note that in addition to meeting with the participants, for the best outcomes, it’s ideal for the coach to meet with managers to help implement learnings and new team dynamics with more ease and buy in.
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!