Improving Virtual Teamwork: Content and Continuity

General purpose docs and wikis aren’t enough. Get intentional about how you capture and manage content from team meetings.
December 21, 2022
Ben Parkison

Last time we talked about how team culture is a major aspect of what has been lost in a hybrid and virtual work world. Because of the limited set of tools we have for meetings in this mode, most meetings have taken on the same shape: The task-driven virtual meeting. While this is valuable, it’s not a model that works for the wide variety of things a team does together.

This week, we’re diving in on an aspect of this new model that is all about operations: How we create space for content and continuity of team sessions.

Truth be told, this was already a space that was underserved even in face-to-face work environments. We have tools for calendaring, chat, video conferencing; But when it comes to tools for actually planning, guiding, and capturing the content of what happens when teams get together, a few things stand out.

Good managers are piecing it together using general purpose tools. Through a patchwork of document sharing or wikis, they’re doing their best to share agendas, take meetings notes, and make those available to the people that need them. At a team level maybe they’re scraping by (with a lot of effort from the manager). When it comes to sharing and discovery of the same information from other teams: No way.

And then there are managers that are overworked, don’t have the time, or are just spending their days fighting fires - which is most of them. As a result, these teams are surviving by leveraging institutional knowledge, sticky notes, and individual initiative across their team members.

In other words, the need for this is not new. However, like many things, the pain felt here is exacerbated by a move away from face-to-face team sessions. And if we don’t have purpose-built tools for planning for and capturing the content of team sessions - of all kinds - then we certainly don’t have continuity of that work.

The negative result is two-fold: First, the time a team does spend together is a missed opportunity in terms of focus and efficiency. This takes many familiar forms - Coming to team meetings with an agenda hastily shared in the meeting notice. Arriving unprepared to employee 1:1s where your only question is “so what do you want to talk about?” Sending meeting follow ups to get feedback on the critical topic you forgot to bring up in the meeting you just had. 

And of course, the second result is a lack of continuity from one session to the next. Critical items never make it into a session, or topics and action items simply get dropped. Decisions are made, and then are debated again for no reason.

The solution is a tool purpose built for team operations, and this is what we’re building at Trelliswork. A solution that had the flexibility to accommodate the breadth of different sessions a team may have, with the right structure and collaborative focus to create the space for session content and continuity. With Trelliswork, teams of any kind can begin to build out the team operations framework that works for them. The result is a more collaborative, aligned, and productive team. 

More to come next time, but to start using Trelliswork sign up for early access below!

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