Improving Team Awareness

Published: 2023-02-09 12:00 |

Category: Leadership | Tags: teamwork, awareness, communication, technology, strategy

Doug Belshaw shared a post on team status meetings and why they're generally a waste of time. It got me thinking about two things I'm trying to improve with our (currently distributed) team at work:

  1. Awareness. We all have different projects going and we want to be generally aware of what each other is doing.
  2. Team identity. We're still new and forming our own identity within the school corporation. I want people to feel like we are a team, not just a collection of people with similar jobs.

The team identity piece comes in our dedicated time each week to meet together. I generally set the agenda and while I have updates to go over, I always try to build in time to go around the room. The problem is that we don't always need to hear the story behind the work. We're pretty good at talking with one another when we need help, so it's not a communication or coopoeration piece. It was just something team meetings always included, so we included it as well.

Given that we don't always need to know everything, I took Doug's suggestion from his post and put our own status board together. It's a shared space (similar to Trello, like Doug suggested) and each coach is able to keep their own to-do and priority workflows the way they want. Our commitment over the next three weeks is to have cards for our current big-ticket work as well as the next upcoming one. As projects are finished, cards are updated and we can celebrate the work we accomplish. Since we all have access, we can offer help where relevant. I can also see all the projects and make sure everything is within scope. There are two rules we'll keep:

  1. We don't assign tasks to one another. This is a self-reporting mechanism to streamline communication, not project management.
  2. You always have at least one card. It might not feel like a "project," but we always have tasks we're doing, even if they're short. Overcommunication is better than undercommunication.

We're going to try this for three weeks and then revisit as a team to see if it's helping fix the problems we identified and make adjustments to the expectations if necessary.

Comments are always open. You can get in touch by sending me an email at