Innovate Consistently with a Weekly Review System

 

One of the most important core systems we have in place at Knapsack is our weekly review. This system helps us consistently learn from any successes, failures, or ideas that come up each week and adjust Knapsack’s internal processes accordingly.

How the Weekly Review System works

  1. Team members submit topics to discuss throughout the week as they come to mind

  2. A designated person collects all of the topics

  3. The team meets each week to discuss each topic

  4. Decisions are made on each individual topic and action items are assigned

Before we implemented the weekly review, there were often great ideas that were forgotten, problems that went unsolved, and successes that weren’t celebrated. Having our weekly review means we never miss an opportunity to improve.

This post will show you the practical steps to implement a weekly review at your company so you can innovate consistently.

Here we go!

 
 
 

1. Define a collection point

First there needs to be a place were team members can submit topics to be reviewed during the weekly review. There needs to be minimal friction to add a topic or people won’t actually do it. Make sure it’s very easy to add to on a whim.

Ideally, your collection point will be a place where anyone can contribute, and the whole team can see submitted topics so they can be thinking about them prior to the weekly meeting.

Here are a few ideas for collection points:

  • A channel in Slack (this is what we do at Knapsack)

  • A list on a whiteboard

  • A shared Google Doc

 
 
 

2. Choose a facilitator

Next there needs to be one person designated who will gather all of these items and bring them in a list to the weekly review. Making this specifically one person’s responsibility will help make sure that the meeting actually happens. Otherwise it can be easy for the meeting to fall through the cracks.

The facilitator collects the topics, organizes them for discussion, guides discussion in the weekly meeting, and records the decisions and action items for everyone involved.

 
 
 

3. Schedule a weekly meeting

After you’ve chosen a facilitator, have that person pick a weekly meeting time that works for everyone. We find that Fridays work best for us since we have that entire day set aside each week for working on internal projects instead of client work.

Don’t make the meeting too long, or everyone will check out. On the other hand, making it too short might mean that you might be too rushed to make meaningful discussions. Most of the time our meetings last 1-2 hours. We schedule them at 10am so that we have the option of going to lunch early if we finish the review early.

 
 
 

4. Review topics each week

During the meeting, the facilitator is responsible for guiding discussion on each topic submitted, clarifying decisions, and recording next action steps for each.

Here are some example topics from a Knapsack weekly review with the results from each discussion:

  1. Are there software subscriptions we could cancel in order to decrease expenses?

    • Decision: We will downgrade our Adobe subscription and cancel our Zapier subscription.

    • Action item: Joy will handle this by 9/23.

  2. How can we be more intentional about encouraging referrals from satisfied customers?

    • Decision: Staying top-of-mind seems to be key. We will work on creating a valuable gift that will help our customers remember us for the long-term.

    • Action item: Ben will research and brainstorm ideas and decide which gift will be best to go by 9/14.

  3. Can we decrease the wait time for initial meetings with potential new clients?

    • Decision: Yes - Add initial meetings to unscheduled project days if they’re less than a week out.

    • Action Item: Joy will adjust her email responses accordingly.

  4. The website project for John went really well. Is there anything we can learn for that project for the future?

    • Decision: Yes. Having a planning session for this project was really helpful.

    • Action Item: Keep an eye out for client projects that could benefit from a planning meeting.

 
 
 

Additional best practices

Review previous action items
We review the past action items to check in with team members to make sure that we’re actually making progress on the decisions that we made.

Have the person who submitted a topic introduce it
This makes it so that everyone on the team has a voice and can bring up ideas they have or issues that need to be solved.

Talk about your highs and lows
Another thing our team does after our weekly review is to talk about our best and worst moments from the past week. Each team member opens up about what the best thing and worst thing that happened at work that week, and it often sparks other ideas/discussions.

That’s it! I hope implementing a weekly review will help you improve your business consistently.

Let us know how it goes!

 
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