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Belief #3: Curate, don't automate
Belief #3: Curate, don't automate
Rachel Lin avatar
Written by Rachel Lin
Updated over a week ago

The Loop Beliefs:

Another part of building the muscle for transparent communication is curating, rather than automating updates. You might feel like automating data from your task management tools will make reports more accurate or useful, but this is rarely the reality.

Context is key

Things like progress % or # of tickets closed aren’t a good measure of linear progress–as we know, planning is unpredictable and project scope can shift a week on week.

Data only paints a fraction of the picture. For example, this might look bad without context.

But if stakeholders had additional context that this is an expected quieter period (e.g. Christmas) or the chart analytics were broken, it might convey a different story.

Lastly, think about your readers. No one wants 6-pages of detail just to know whether your project is tracking well.

Nor does it help to see a page of charts with no context.

So when it comes to curating your update in Atlas each week, we have a few things targeted to help you communicate outcomes more effectively.

Communicate status and refine your date as you learn

When writing an update, teams reaffirm their status and their targeted date.

You might be thinking that date looks funny - the project will deliver in Oct-Dec? We baked in a concept of fuzzy dates to help build psychological safety when it comes to setting dates. Think back to the last time you ran a project. Was it completed on the target date you set from day 1? I’d be pretty impressed if it was.

Instead, Atlas helps you manage expectations by setting the target date as a quarter, month, or day to reflect confidence. As you gain confidence in the project, you can refine the date.

Tweet-sized updates that provide just enough context

Then teams write their commentary and you’ll notice there’s a character limit. We want teams to be more intentional in communicating a summary of the most important things followers should know, not all the fluff.

That being said, we know that different stakeholders need different levels of detail. Rather than re-writing a tailored report for each audience, users can add a detailed note in their same Atlas update. This is a non-character-constrained component where extra information can be included. When published, this detail remains hidden unless the reader chooses to expand it.

Embed rich media to share additional context

You can include media in updates so they’re more informative and engaging. Who needs 280 characters when a picture can say 1000 words? And video? Even more. Here are some great examples of updates that include rich media like Google files, Figma designs, Miro brainstorms, Looms, and more.

Get updates wherever it works best for you

Once posted, followers can curate the ways in which they prefer to consume content, whether that’s through email, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or your Atlas feed.

And for your busy stakeholders or execs, we’ve built ways to keep them looped in easily. Project owners can add users as followers to new projects. They’ll start receiving the automated digest emails, meaning they don’t even have to go into Atlas to start.

Embed and share updates where your teams work

Updates can be embedded into Confluence pages, so stakeholders can consume from their familiar tools or link to a Jira epic via our Jira integration, to streamline status reporting as an input into planning.

Updates are automatically shared to subscribed Slack channels from our Atlas for Slack app, to keep teams on the pulse of what’s happening, as it happens.

A view for every stakeholder

The reason we believe in broadening the ability for updates to be consumed from anywhere is that we recognize, different audiences have different needs. When it comes to consumption, there’s not only the need to consume from where you want but also to be able to get different levels of detail based on how close you are to the work.

For example, someone closer to the work may want to hear about the details but a group leader might find it too specific and instead, want to know the status at one layer up. We refer to these layers as zoom levels–the first is the project.

The next layer is Goals–a way to represent outcomes that projects contribute to. Goals can be nested to represent organizational, departmental, and team goals so that stakeholders can see a summary view of how a group of projects are tracking.

Then zoom out another level to Teams. Have you ever asked, “what’s the team working on and how are they tracking?”. In Atlas, you can assign Teams to projects, which creates a collection of projects and goals that the team is working on.

One more zoom out and you’ve got Topics–a way to see projects, goals, teams, and knowledge in one place to represent categories like programs, departments, or whatever your heart desires.

So, that’s belief number 3, Curate, don’t automate. But, where’s the joy in communicating if no one responds?

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