I recently came across a website/service on a start-up forum that I thought people might find interesting. The service is targeted towards project managers, as a tool for staying in touch with a team and opening up team communication. What the service does is allow you to set up arranged update times, say every week or every day, and then automatically sends out an email reminder requesting the update to each member of the team. Once each person replies to the update, the statue updates are gathered into a single email and sent out to all the team members in a single email covering everyone’s updates.
As a person who absolutely loathes the rampant spread of the needless reply all use, this seems like an ideal way to be kept informed on a project without having to delete every single person’s update one at a time. Aside from the streamlined update email, the ability to schedule them across the project lifetime in advance and then set the expectation for response across the team seems like an added benefit.
No one in the work world likes to feel like they’re being micro-managed and constant requests for updates would start to feel like that quickly for many people. By setting the expectation of scheduled update communication emails, you are able to frame the situation as a means for keeping everyone involved and informed as well as offering up a means for progress tracking. The involvement of all team members would also offer and added incentive to keep on track.
The single status update email could also be beneficial for people only loosely tied to a project. If a person was informed of what steps would have to happen before they were needed, the status updates would allow that person to plan their time more effectively as opposed to suddenly finding their contribution needed without warning. Management would also benefit from the updates in that they would receive a single snapshot of the project on regular intervals so decisions on allocating additional resources or adjusting timetables can be made fluidly.
For project managers out there, do you think you would use this service? As it stands right now, it appears to be free, would a price tag change your decision? How useful would you have found a single condensed weekly update from all team members in the past?