Overview with tools, software, best practices and alternatives

What is a Team Digest?

A team digest is a summary of information about the team’s status or progress. It includes data assessment, plans or goals, implementation of strategies, and evaluation of outcomes. Aside from this information, a team digest also encompasses the team’s strength and weaknesses, accomplishments, open opportunities, and actual and potential threats.

Who does Team Digests?

Team digests are usually done and prepared by office staffs, primarily by the secretary. The secretary takes down notes, particularly salient information, about the team’s undertakings.

Members with supervisory roles like team leaders, project managers, and supervisors can also create a team digest in some cases, such as team presentations.

Why do people do Team Digests?

People in the workplace value team digests as these reflect the bird’s eye view of what is happening within the team, the organization, or the company.

It helps the entire team to become informed about what has transpired in the project within a specific time frame. In addition, it also covers the existing and succeeding plans of the company. Even the activities that were done, being done, and to be done can be included in team digests. Also, team digests can disclose evaluation of outcomes of previous and existing strategies.

Overall, team digests provide the team a summary of the project’s framework at point in time.

How to do a Team Digest

Since a team digest serves as a communication tool within the team, writing it should be known by all team members. Preparing a team digest is usually taught to the team and there are essential elements to follow when making a digest.

Since a digest is a condensation of a body of information, it does not have to be long as a novel. A very long team digest might be seen as boring to some readers. It can be also time-consuming at times if one is to read a very length output about the team status and progress.

A team digest must be maintained to be concise as possible; however, it should still contain all essential information that the team needs to know. This is important, particularly if the team digest is to be submitted to a chief executive officer, who usually reads the summary of the output.

Team digests usually present a triad of information – the accomplishments, the goals, and the conflicts.

The accomplishments of the team serve as the building blocks of the team’s success. They indicate the milestones that the team has achieved within a specific period of time. Achievements also suggest the strong points of the company.

Team achievements can be outlined in a synthesized form and they are usually presented in tabular or bulleted form. The presentation of the information usually follows a chronological approach, since achievements take place at a specific period of time. The blend of time-specific and synthesized information is viewed as logical by the readers.

The second element is the plans or goals. The main concept in writing planning statements is the SMART principle, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

A plan should be descriptive enough, with accurate details as possible. It should reflect numbers of figures if necessary, such as in sales. A good plan should adhere to reality, making it feasible to be achieved. And lastly, a goal has to have a deadline. People will not work on something unless they set a deadline for it. Overall, a SMART goal provides clarity to an individual, a team, or an organization and it facilitates brainstorming of effective strategies or actions to meet it.

Team digests also cover the issues that the team may face. Such conflicts or problems can be actual or potential. Actual problems are those that are current or existing while potential problems are those that are foreseen and are likely to happen. It is important to include them in the team digest in order for the team to be able to strategize of plans and actions to prevent or solve them.

Advantages of doing Team Digests

Team digests are valuable to the team for some reasons.

One reason is that team digests serve as the citations of the team’s accomplishments, which reflect the team’s productivity along the way. By documenting the team’s achievements, the team may agree to keep up their good work while devising a system of eradicating the team’s weaknesses.

Another reason why team digests are beneficial to team members is that it gives them updates from other team members. These digests act as voices of team members, letting everyone know what they have done, what their goals are, and what blocks them from achieving their plans. This way communication is being done in writing, allowing the team to motivate each other by sharing their strengths to overcome the weaknesses.

Team digests are also advantageous due to the fact that it provides the summary of the team’s functionality. Business owners and executives find team digests helpful, since it presents the overview of the team’s output in a particular period of time. Aside from that, team digests also boosts a company’s transparency since team members are able to address matters such as achievements, issues, and goals.

Above all, team digests are beneficial, since it can integrate information that can leads a powerful motivation within the team.

Disadvantages of doing Team Digests

Team digests are generally useful to a team or organization; however, it also has its own flaws.

Since team digests are made by people, a disadvantage can be seen is the inevitability of human error. Such errors can be seen in the form of inaccurate or incomplete details. Some important details may be overlooked, leaving them not included, especially if there are a lot of details to be discussed. A missing data can be a minimal or detrimental adversity in a team digest, since every assessment data builds the foundation of a good plan. A good plan is the basis for implementation of strategies and activities, and evaluation of outcomes relies on the things that have been executed. They work hand in hand, leading the team to success.

Technology issue is another reason when it comes to team digests. Nowadays, team status reports are usually done in typewritten form, or digital form, which includes laptops, smart devices, and the internet.

The absence of internet connectivity as well as electrical power can give problems in creating and sending team digests. Most businesses rely on the Internet and they will fail if the technological advancement becomes problematic. People can utilize a handwritten report, but sending them could be a concern, especially to remote virtual teams.

Best practices for doing Team Digests

Team digests are valuable tools in a team, as they help boost the team’s communication, motivation, performance, and results.

Completeness and accuracy of information is vital in doing team digests, which mainly include achievements, goals, and problems. To boost the content of a team digest, team members can include data cues coming from their observation or assessments, a SMART plan, a set of strategies and actions that the company has implemented and will implement, as well as the evaluation of the outcomes for the goals that they have set. Also, salient points on the team’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, and threats should be included.
Some team digests make use of an automated archiving system, in which previous outputs are being saved as reference of the team in the future or when problems arise. With this kind of system, it will be easier for the team to generate other kinds of reports such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, biannually, and yearly.

How does Teamreporter help at doing a Team Digest?

Teamreporter is a web based e-mail application that utilizes structure by replacing status meetings with schedule report mails.

Generally, Teamreporter aims to collect information from the team members by notifying them via e-mail. Information that needs to be entered includes the members’ accomplishments within the day, the plans or goals for the next day, and the issues that block their progress. Based on the responses sent to Teamreporter, the app sends a digest containing the status of the team the following day. Also, the team will be informed about the group’s progress and problems, letting them to devise a strategy to prevent overcome the existing or potential problem.

With its easy and automated system, Teamreporter updates the team on what is going on within the group, while allowing early identification of issues. Also, by sharing the team’s progress and conflicts, the app can be an effective mean to facilitate communication among team members, making them more efficient as a team.

What are alternatives to Team Digests?

Team digests let the team be informed and updated on the latest status of the entire team. Aside from the current status of the group, the digests will help the team see the path that they are heading. By showing the trends within the team, the group will be able to adjust their future goals and strategies.

Team digests are efficient means of updating the team on what is happening that there is no direct alternative to it. However, the team, organization, or company may agree on the frequency or timing of sending the digests. The timing can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, and even jour fixe or at a fixed day. More than the exact date of sending team digests, what is more important is the consistency and timeliness of updating the whole team on what is happening. This way, the team will be able to progress and become successful, while being intact.

Most teams have multiple status reports and report frequencies. There cannot be a direct alternative to creating and submitting company status reporting. But alternatives can be set for the frequency of submission. The organization can decide and agree if the reports are to be submitted on a weekly or a monthly basis, whichever is more credible and reliable.

Learn more about Teamreporter

Teamreporter is free for small teams (up to 4 members)