Doing weeknotes

What weeknotes are, how weeknotes work, and how to start writing weeknotes of your own

Written by Giles Turnbull at Use the human voice.

Last updated: 11 March 2024.

If you find this page useful, please show your appreciation by donating a tree.
Doing weeknotes brings together various things I’ve written about weeknotes in different places. This text expands on things I wrote in The agile comms handbook, as well as various blog posts. Quite a lot of it is brand new.

  1. Weeknotes for beginners
  2. Why write weeknotes
  3. The weeknotes rules
  4. Weeknotes within the corporate environment
  5. What weeknotes can bring about
  6. Examples of good weeknotes
  7. How to write weeknotes
  8. Weeknotes tips and tricks
  9. Further reading

Weeknotes for beginners

Weeknotes are a format for regular communication about work in progress.

They act as a broadcast mechanism. They give teams and individuals a voice, and a platform for communicating with almost anyone, about the things that matter to both parties - weeknote writer and weeknote reader.

Weeknotes are well suited to teams that want to communicate about their work to colleagues or management. But they’re useful in other circumstances, too, such as individuals communicating to the teams they’re part of, or leaders communicating to the people they lead.

They’re called “weeknotes” because they are:

One weeknote is just one week’s worth of effort, summarised. Useful! But an archive of dozens or hundreds of weeknotes, stretching back through time - months, perhaps years - is a fabulous repository of thoughts, ideas and decisions. It’s a time machine that helps the team themselves, or their bosses or stakeholders, look back over recent history to work out why and how things are as they are. Much, much more useful!

A typical weeknote is a short page of text - perhaps with a few pictures. Often it will be mostly bullet points, often it will include links. Sometimes the format will vary (and it’s fine if it does). Weeknotes can be published and shared in lots of different ways - privately, within the digital walls that surround most organisations these days - or publicly, on the open web. The decision about where and how to publish weeknotes is something that will be different for every team and every organisation.

Once a week is the most common cadence, hence the name “weeknotes”, and it’s probably the cadence that’s most useful to most teams, most often. But it’s not the only option. It might work better for you, or your team, to write notes once a fortnight, or once per sprint. A sprint is a unit of time in which teams do small iterations of work; sprints are sometimes 1 week, 10 days, or 2 weeks. Sometimes, weeknotes end up being more like monthnotes, and that’s fine too. In my opinion, once a month is a minimum commitment. I wrote a rule about that - which I’ll explain later.

A weeknote is usually written by an individual, writing for themselves, or on behalf of their team. But weeknotes are extremely flexible, and useful in all sorts of situations. They can also be useful when they are written:

Weeknotes work in all sorts of contexts, shared on all sorts of platforms, with all sorts of audiences in mind.

Some weeknotes are published as public, or private web pages. Some as public, or private blog posts. Some as emails. Some in simple Google documents. All of these options are fine. What matters is that the right words get seen by the right people, in a way that’s useful for them.

It doesn’t matter who writes weeknotes, who they should be written for, or how they should be written and shared. What matters is the habit of writing regularly, and that the notes are easy for their intended audience to find, read, and refer to repeatedly.

The goal isn’t so much writing a weeknote, but becoming the sort of team that habitually writes weeknotes. If you reach the point where you’ve missed one and it feels kinda weird, you’re doing very well.

Weeknotes are not a new idea. Lots of people have been writing weeknotes, in lots of different teams and organisations, for many years. But: there are still plenty of people who haven’t heard of weeknotes, and don’t know what weeknoting is all about. That’s why I’ve written this: to help those people get started with weeknotes, fast.

This document is a handbook for anyone who has never written a weeknote, but feels like they might want to try. We’ll have a look at some examples of real weeknotes from the real world, so you can get an idea of what good looks like. Then, we’ll get you started with some practical tips for writing weeknotes of your own.

Why write weeknotes

There are lots of good reasons:

Your team is working on something, and you have a variety of stakeholders within your organisation, and beyond it too. You need a way to keep them all up-to-date with the team’s work, without overloading them with too much detail.


You’re a leader, in charge of an organisation. You have lots of teams who look to you for direction, inspiration and decision-making. You want a quick easy way to share your thinking, week-by-week, with all of the individuals in all those teams.


You’re a brand new leader, freshly arrived in an organisation undergoing change. You feel a thousand expectant eyes looking at you. You want to earn trust, and spell out your plans for the future.


You’re a contractor, undertaking a 6-month project with an organisation you’ve never worked with before. You don’t know them, they don’t know you. You want a way to keep the people who hired you updated, to earn their trust, and to share what you’re learning as you go along.


You’re building a start-up company from scratch. You want a way of staying in touch with your funders and supporters, without having to arrange calls with all of them, every week. You’re also thinking about the long term, and how you’ll tell the story of your company’s early days in a few years from now, when the business is successful, the team is larger, and new people are joining regularly.


You’re the only person in your organisation who knows how to do what you do. Your expert knowledge is valuable, but often misunderstood by the non-experts you work with. Training would take too long, because it took you years to learn what you know. But maybe you could share snippets of what you know, week-by-week.


Your team feels overlooked and under-appreciated. Perhaps that’s because the good work you do isn’t easy to notice, or isn’t even visible because it happens behind the scenes, or at the back end. It might be worth trying to tell a few stories about that work, bringing it to life for the people who aren’t realising how important it is.


… a thousand other reasons. Weeknotes are a sufficiently flexible concept to deal with all of these scenarios, and many more.

The weeknotes rules

If you work in a larger organisation, and weeknotes are widely adopted by lots of people or lots of teams, things can start to get a bit overwhelming. Suddenly there’s a flood of weeknotes to read every week, and no-one has time to read them all. That would make the whole idea a bit pointless.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t roll out weeknotes to everyone. It’s just a case of applying some simple rules, to make sure that the flood of weeknotes is being shared in a way that’s properly useful to everyone.

After quite a lot of trial and error, these are the rules I’ve come up with for situations like this:

  1. Every team must write regular notes When I say regular, I mean weekly, ideally; monthly is the minimum.
  2. No individual is required to read every note from every team
  3. All weeknotes must be published in a place where everyone involved in the work can see them

Putting these rules into place gives your organisation new superpowers.

Let me explain what I mean.

Imagine we’re looking at a medium-to-large organisation, with a decent number of teams working on different things.

Let’s also imagine that the senior leaders at this fictional org are fully bought in. They love the idea of weeknotes, and they have made a point of saying so, very clearly, to everyone.

They’ve also adopted The Weeknotes Rules, which have been posted in all sorts of visible places - on Slack, on the corporate intranet, and on the walls of the office.

What’s happened as a result? Well, a few things have changed:

Every team now has a broadcast mechanism

Every team now has a means of sharing its thoughts, ideas, troubles and successes with every other team. And with stakeholders and bosses. And with newcomers who’ve just joined.

Teams can learn about the things that other teams are doing, without having to book a meeting. (Maybe they’ll want to book a meeting after reading the notes, because they’ll have further questions - but maybe they won’t. Maybe the notes will provide all the answers they need. The point is: booking a meeting doesn’t have to be the default option any more.)

Teams can think out loud, in a way that other colleagues can take in as much, or as little, as they need. Maybe this week the boss’s head is too busy with something, and they decide not to read any weeknotes. But maybe things are calmer the following week, so the boss has more time, and goes searching for updates from the teams they care about most. Weeknotes can be timeless - it doesn’t matter if they get read a week late, or a month late. They’re still useful.

With teams able to broadcast, there’s suddenly a whole new axis for internal communication - genuine communication, directly between teams. Communication that flows naturally sideways, across the organisation. Not filtered up and down the hierarchy. Weeknotes help news and knowledge spread further, with minimum effort.

Leaders and stakeholders can choose where to focus their attention

Remember the rules: every team must publish. But nobody must read everything. The notes must be easy to see.

It would be really hard to read everything, because in an org with 20 or more teams, that’s going to be a lot of notes. It would take a long time to read them all, and everyone’s too busy for that.

But applying these rules is what enables this second superpower: readers can choose what to focus on.

In our fictional organisation, most teams are doing ok. Some are doing really well. And a few are really struggling, for whatever reason.

So right now, with the weeknotes rules in place, leaders can easily focus their attention on the teams that need the most help.

Weeknotes make it easy to see inside teams, from the outside. Weeknotes make it possible to understand more of the right context, without booking more meetings.

And when circumstances change, weeknotes also make it easy for someone to change the focus of their attention. Since every team is already publishing regularly by default, it’s easy for someone to switch their focus from Team A, who have been through a rough patch but are now recovering well, to Team B, who have just encountered a new serious problem and need more help. That switch is only possible, and only easy, if everyone is already publishing notes.

If Team B isn’t doing that, there’s instantly a source of friction. A need to send an email or book a meeting, just to find out how things stand right now. If the weeknotes are already there - especially if there’s an archive of notes going back a few weeks or months - it’s quick and it’s easy to skim through them, understand how things are, and decide what needs to happen next.

Everyone can now see through the silos

I wish I could say that writing weeknotes would destroy silos forever, but that’s not the case.

In my experience, silos are inevitable and unavoidable. They’re a consequence of team-based working. They exist in almost every organisation, and destroying them - even “breaking them down”, which is the stereotypical way of talking about this task - is pretty much impossible.

But: weeknotes can help, because they give you a way of cutting windows in the sides of your silos. With see-through silos, anyone passing by - literally or metaphorically - can peer inside and see for themselves what’s going on. Things are a little less muddy. A little less secretive. A little less opaque.

That’s another superpower. Weeknotes help teams see inside other teams. They help leaders notice more things, both good and bad, happening all around the organisation. They help stakeholders understand things that have previously been partially hidden from view.

Weeknotes make it possible for colleagues to pause briefly, read a few pages, and mutter to themselves: “Ahhhh. So that’s what this lot have been up to. Now I get it.”

The real world makes this imagined one hard

Of course, I’m describing a fictional fantasy world. Real world organisations are more complicated than this. You can’t just wave a magic wand, tell everyone to start weeknoting, and expect all your problems to be solved overnight.

But: I’ve seen rules like this working. It takes time to get them bedded in, and of course they often end up iterating slightly. They don’t solve all the problems overnight, but they can help solve some of the problems, over a few weeks and months.

Weeknotes within the corporate environment

Sometimes, the people who are already in charge of corporate affairs and corporate communications can get nervous about the idea of weeknotes. I don’t blame them: weeknotes disrupt a few long-held beliefs and well-established traditions when it comes to communication.

This is mostly because weeknotes give teams a voice. How well your organisation adapts to weeknotes depends largely on how comfortable your leaders are with the idea of allowing that to happen.

To be clear: weeknotes will fail if you put barriers in place to slow them down, or to make sharing them hard.

If you tell your teams to write weeknotes, and insist that every note gets checked by the comms department - weeknotes will fail.

If you tell teams to write weeknotes, and demand that every note is ghost-written by a professional writer from outside the team - weeknotes will fail.

If you tell teams to write weeknotes, and secretly tell middle management to edit the weeknotes so that only the good bits get published - weeknotes will fail.

If you tell teams to write weeknotes, and then say that only one member of the internal comms function is allowed to upload them to Sharepoint - weeknotes will fail.

Weeknotes will only be successful if:

The inevitable follow-up question at this point is: “But what happens when people write terrible things in their weeknotes?” What if someone uses a weeknote for unprofessional conduct, to vent anger, to blame someone for mistakes, to bully or harass?

In my experience, behaviour like that within weeknotes is rare, but if it happens, it should be addressed using the same rules that would apply to deal with any unprofessionalism or harassment, in any context within the organisation.

Another follow-up question: “What happens if we allow our teams to publish in the public domain, and they say something they shouldn’t? Or give away some kind of corporate secret?”

Again, this is rare, because most of the time, people aren’t that daft. They take their work seriously and they think about the consequences of what they’re writing.

That’s why it’s good to encourage a culture of buddy-checking. A buddy check is a quick, informal casting-of-eyes by someone else. A second opinion. A chance to spot errors and typos (because there are always errors and typos).

Buddy checks should be built into the whole system. If you write weeknotes, you do buddy checks.

Being a buddy shouldn’t be a chore, or need a lot of time. If your buddy complains that it is, then your weeknote is probably too long, and too detailed.

Generally speaking, teams do better work when they are trusted to do the right thing. The same applies to communicating, and writing weeknotes. Trust your teams to do it well. Most people will, most of the time.

What weeknotes can bring about

Weeknotes give teams a voice, and a platform with which to speak. They can play a role in decision-making, in governance and control, in archiving and recording. They can help with quite a lot of things.

A tool for remembering

Lots of teams forget things over time, because the act of writing down what the team has been doing isn’t formalised as part of their work. Most of the time, remembering only happens by accident, rather than by design. Perhaps there’s someone on the team who really values memories, and makes a point of writing things down in their own time. But when that person moves on to another job, no-one steps in to keep doing the same thing, so the memories stop being recorded.

Weeknotes turn remembering into a deliberate act. Something that’s planned. Something that’s:

The more time I spend thinking about team communication, the more I’m also thinking about team memory. I think teams should be given space and time to remember - especially when the thing they’re working on is going to last for many years. The team working on it now will all have moved on to new jobs, but the product or service will still be there. Team memory helps teams function better over the very long term. I’m thinking about another book on this, with the working title How teams remember - see for more on that.

If each note is published at a bookmarkable URL on the internet, you now have another new superpower: you can look back through time and point at specific moments.

“This is why we decided to do X instead of Y.”

“This was when we moved to the new office or started using the new software.”

“This was how we managed to overcome The Big Scary Problem that had been holding us back for months.”

“This was when we made a commitment to The Big Expensive Online Platform.”

And so on. This linkable history has value over the long term. The more of it you have, the more useful it becomes. Writing regular notes is an investment in this historical artefact.

For most modern digital services, the thing the team is working on will outlive the individuals’ time as part of the team. People come and go, people move on to new jobs. Weeknotes are a helpful habit, because they provide a way for team members to jot down what they know as they go along, in small chunks. This is far more effective than asking someone who’s just handed in their notice to quickly write down everything they know before they leave. That rarely works, because people who’re working out their notice tend to want to get specific things they were already working on done before they go. If you give them an entirely new task, it will end up at the bottom of their priority list.

A tool for recruiting

One of the most exciting things I’ve seen weeknotes do is help teams recruit new members. Good public-domain weeknotes act as a window into your team from the outside. People can peer through the window to see what you do, how you do it, and what being part of your team might actually be like. That’s a terrific way of reassuring nervous job applicants that they’re applying for the right role, in the right team.

Weeknotes in the public domain also give your job applicants an idea of the things you might want to hear them talk about in an interview. When you hear snippets from your weeknotes being quoted back at you by applicants, you know that the brief time you invested in writing the notes was time well spent.

A tool for radiating intent

You might have heard the phrase: “Don’t ask permission; radiate intent.” I think it was coined by Elizabeth Ayer, in a blog post from 2019.

In this short post, Elizabeth argues that radiating intent is a much better tactic for getting your work done in modern busy organisations. It’s more efficient and it’s healthier, she says. I agree.

Weeknotes are an excellent tool for radiating intent. Once you’ve built up the weeknotes habit, over time your bosses will start to expect each weeknote to signal what’s coming next, as much as reflecting on what’s just occurred. If they see something they don’t like the look of, the weeknote almost acts as an invitation to intervene. “This is what we’re planning, where we think we’re going next. If you want us to change course, say so!”

Weeknotes can even provide a physical feedback loop for management. I’ve seen weeknotes that have explicitly asked management to “Reply to this note if you have any concerns - otherwise we’ll assume you’re happy with this plan.”

Feedback loops are incredibly important and too often, they’re cumbersome and clumsy. When your feedback loop is a fortnightly meeting with a formal agenda that has to be fixed several days in advance, and when a manager is trying to manage lots of teams working on lots of different things, and struggling to keep all the relevant information in their heads - a quick reply in an email is probably going to be easier for everyone.

Examples of good weeknotes

Reading a description of weeknotes is all very well, but you’ll understand the idea much better if you look at a few real-world examples.

The Welsh Revenue Authority land and property data team

These notes sum up the work of a small team that worked on a short-lived project for just 10 weeks or so.

They’re written mainly for the purpose of internal communication - look at the opening words of the first note, which starts with “Hello all, thanks for joining our show and tell earlier…” This is an inward-facing memo, published in the public domain.

If you look through the team’s notes carefully, you’ll see lots of things that show the actual work, such as animated gifs, maps, screenshots of speculative prototypes, diagrams, and so on. They’re showing the work as best they can, via the medium of the internet.

The notes are published on the simplest possible website, with zero branding or design. No-one had to “commission a website” in order for these notes to be shared. The team just found a way to publish them, and got on with it.

These weeknotes are really practical. They answer a simple question each week: what has the team been up to? They show what the team has actually done. There’s nothing about process, or about which phase of development they’re in. There are no echoes of the org chart, nothing about what might happen. There are no “strategies”. It’s all about what’s happened, what’s been done and learned.

House of Commons library procedure modelling team

This team, part of the House of Commons Library, writes weeknotes most weeks (but not every week). They have their own unique style, characterised by:

The humour and relaxed tone of these notes really stands out. The opening paragraph is nearly always a series of quick gags, often at the team’s own expense. The rest of each note is a mix of actual news from the team, with more jokes mixed in along the way. The result is something quite special: reading these notes, you feel informed, but also entertained.

I suspect this use of humour is an excellent deliberate tactic. Like most teams in most organisations, this team’s stakeholders are likely to be extremely busy people, spinning many different plates. Writing witty weeknotes is one way to stand out, yes; but it’s also a way to be more certain that your notes will actually get read in the first place. You are encouraging those busy, plate-spinning stakeholders to make time in their busy calendars, by rewarding them for reading.

Matt Edgar

I’ve said a lot about weeknotes as a tool for teams, and that’s definitely where I see them being most useful, most often.

But weeknotes are also useful for some individuals. One of them is Matt Edgar, an old friend of mine and a former colleague at the Government Digital Service. He’s now a senior leader in the NHS, and uses weeknotes on his personal website to hold himself to account to the people who work for him.

I like the way Matt sticks to a template. Most of the time, for months at a time, he asks himself the same questions week after week. Things like:

Sometimes the questions change. Sometimes he posts an update that breaks the template completely. And that’s fine: it’s his website, there aren’t any rules, he can do what he likes.

Imagine being someone who reports to Matt - or, more likely, someone further down the hierarchy who reports to others, who report to Matt. Imagine seeing your boss, or your boss’s boss’s boss, being so open about his recent progress and the things that are on his mind.

That’s inspirational leadership, right there. And it’s all in the public domain, on the open web, not hidden away inside some corporate IT infrastructure.

Emily Macaulay

Emily is Head of Delivery and Operations at a data-focused non-profit organisation, and uses a similar tactic, asking herself questions in each note.

Emily doesn’t write notes every week, more like every month. But sometimes more often. The name “weeknotes” doesn’t mean you must write every week; it’s ok to write at a cadence that works for you, and makes sense for your audience.

Natural Resources Wales

This team has been writing weeknotes since late 2022. The notes are very team-specific, but published on the open web, in the public domain. My favourite kind of weeknote.

The notes achieved something else: they made the team’s inner workings visible enough that other people wanted to apply for jobs there, because they had read the notes. It’s not unusual for someone to apply for a job because they’ve heard verbally, on the grapevine, that a team is worth working with – but in this case there was no grapevine, the word wasn’t spread verbally. It was all down to the weeknotes.

People were able to follow along with the team’s ups and downs via the weeknotes, and decide for themselves: yes, this is a team I want to be part of.

Jeremy Gould

Jeremy is another former colleague, and a civil servant. He now works for Homes England, and since starting his job there in late 2023, he’s made a commitment to writing regular notes - not on a Homes England website, but on his own, personal website.

The notes are fairly straightforward and matter-of-fact, a record of what Jeremy has achieved that week, and what his thoughts are for the week ahead. They help him to radiate his intent - for the benefit of colleagues at all levels in Homes England (those who report to him, and those he reports to), as well as colleagues further afield across the Civil Service.

Becky Cotton (private notes)

Becky is the co-founder of Lumino, a start-up in the health sector. She writes a weeknote every Friday afternoon, and shares it with Lumino’s growing circle of friends, supporters and funders. It’s not public, but it’s open to the right audience. Becky writes with honesty and humour about the ups and downs of start-up life. She’s equally open about the big wins and the occasional setbacks.

One of her goals is to set a precedent for Lumino’s long term future, to exemplify the sort of culture she wants to see when the company has grown much bigger.

Ann Kempster

Ann works for a private sector digital agency, and her notes are personal reflections covering work, home life and what’s growing in her garden. Much of Ann’s work is commercially sensitive, so when she talks about working with clients, it’s often in vague or generalised terms. That said, she writes as openly as she can, about both the day-to-day tasks and longer term, more strategic challenges. Her notes are a way to think aloud about issues that surround the work - things that could apply to any team, anywhere.

Zach Moss

Zach works in the charity sector, and attended one of my training courses a little while ago. Since then he’s turned weeknoting into a habit, and set up his own website to do it with. He writes thoughtful updates, mostly about things on his mind at work, but sometimes about life outside work too.

How to write weeknotes

Hopefully, by now, I’ve made my case. If you’re still reading, I’m assuming that you’re interested in getting started with weeknotes.

If it’s just you making the decision to write weeknotes on your own behalf, you can start very quickly:

  1. Set aside 30 mins (maximum) on a Friday afternoon or Monday morning
  2. With an optional hot drink, open an empty document and just start typing what’s on your mind
  3. Use bullet points rather than prose
  4. 10 bullets is plenty … but 3 is also enough
  5. Don’t spend longer than the time you’ve allowed for it
  6. Share your draft with someone you trust, for a quick buddy check
  7. Publish or share - on a blog, via email, on Slack or Teams or somewhere that makes sense
  8. Next week is another note, don’t think about it until the time comes to write

If weeknoting is going to involve more people than just you - if you’re a leader who wants to roll out weeknotes across an organisation, for example - you’ll need to do a bit of planning and scene-setting first.

The first task is to decide: who needs to write notes, for whom?

Reverse the question: who needs to know something that they clearly don’t know already? Is it a boss, or a group of leaders? Is it one or more teams, who don’t know what their colleagues in other teams are up to? Is it one person, a few, or many? Are they all in one organisation, or spread across several? Think about these readers first. Ask yourself:

Now, consider the other side of the equation: who needs to share information? Is it a team? A person? A leader? Ask yourself:

What’s the source of that information? Is it a person? Is it a team? Is it you?

You need to think about the answers to all these questions, then make a couple of decisions:

Decide how to start.

Good ways to start include:

Decide who’s writing for whom.

Start with the audience, the people who don’t know about work, but need to. Then work out who should do the writing.

If you buy the idea that weeknotes gives teams a broadcast mechanism, you don’t need to think about this one too much: by definition, broadcasting means reaching everyone who chooses to pay attention.

Decide how to share.

Common options are:

If the boss is sceptical - and some bosses are - try this: do a dry run inside a closed Google Doc, or something similar. Pretend to write weeknotes for a few weeks, then share the results with the boss and see what they say.

Some more helpful starters:

Don’t overthink it - it doesn’t matter if weeknotes feel a bit off-the-cuff, in fact they usually read better (and are therefore easier to read) if they do. You don’t have to list all the tasks you completed this week (that would make a boring note), and nobody will mind if you leave something out. Even something important. You could always catch up on that thing in next week’s note.

You don’t need any sort of clever introduction or witty bon mot. Just dive straight in. A good place to start is with the most important thing that happened this week. Write that down first. How did that thing affect you / your team / your situation? Write that down next.

Constantly think about the person or people you’d most like to read your note. What do they care about? What do you want them to do next? How do you want them to feel? Or to react? Work out the answers to these questions, and you’ll have a nice clear purpose to write to. If necessary, write that purpose on a sticky note and stick it to your computer screen, or to your desk. Keep it in mind, all the time.

Don’t worry about writing in any particular order, especially chronologically. This isn’t a diary. Ideally, write notes in order of importance, starting with the most important stuff at the top, and getting more trivial as you go down. That makes it easier for your readers to skip over the stuff that matters less to them. Or: don’t worry about order at all (I rarely do) and just write things in the order that they pop into your head. Refer back to your calendar to jog your memory if needed - but remember, it’s not a diary.

Give yourself the time to get used to it - no-one, and no team, will write consistently brilliant notes from day one. It takes time to build up the habit, and it takes time to get to a point where you are happy with most notes, most weeks. Let the habit build and develop. You, or your team, will find the right voice in time.

Always ask a buddy to help you. Write your first draft - as rough as you like - then ask your buddy to read through it. Your buddy is there to help you write a better note, so let them edit and write. They might think of new notes you’ve forgotten. Or they might say “We could cut this bit.” I use the word “buddy” deliberately: think of this person as your friend-in-words.

Listen to your buddy, and do what they suggest. Your buddy is usually right. (Sometimes, of course, you are the buddy. That’s a good idea - take it in turns. Spread the load.)

Weeknotes tips and tricks

Aim low

A common mistake for weeknotes beginners is to put enormous effort into the task. Hours and hours spent writing and editing, multiple people making contributions and changes, lots of anguish and stress and pressure.

If this is how your team starts writing weeknotes, then the weeknotes habit won’t last very long. Everyone will get sick of the hassle very quickly.

So: aim low. Make it a small task, not a big task.

Write as the week goes

This is one of my favourite tips. It’s a great way for the whole team into the habit of contributing ideas for the weeknote as the week goes along. And it’s a great way to make the job of writing or compiling the finished note much quicker and easier.

It’s simple: write fragments of your weeknote as the week passes. Ideally, make this something that the whole team can join in with.

If your team uses a communication tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams, it’s easy to set up a “#weeknotes-notes” channel. The rules for this channel should be something like:

The channel acts as a memory-jogger and a team journal. It’s right there in the communication tool that everyone’s already using, so there’s no barrier to using it. Anyone can quickly pop a note into it whenever the thought pops into their head.

Using a system like this also makes it easier to share the burden of weeknote-writing across the team.

Talking of which -

Spread the load

When a team is writing regular notes, it’s good to spread the load a bit, and take turns to be “weeknotes monitor”.

Let’s say you have 12 people on your team, and you decide to commit to writing regular notes. You set up a “#weeknotes-notes” channel in Slack, and get the 3 or 4 people who are most comfortable and confident with writing to kick things off. They write the notes for the first month, so that less confident writers on the team can see how it’s done.

After a few weeks, set up a rota and get everyone taking their turn. If anyone’s really struggling (and sometimes that happens), they can always ask for help. Having the #weeknotes-notes channel will help.

Speading the load is good for lots of reasons:

Don’t worry too much about structure

I’ve worked with teams who fretted a lot about weeknote structure. They asked for templates, then rigidly stuck to the template every single week. Don’t do that – a rigid format gets boring very quickly, for both readers and writers.

Instead, have a bucket of content ideas and repeat them often, but don’t feel like you must use every idea, every week. One idea might be “This week’s weeknote is just five photos.” That’s fine. It doesn’t matter. There’s no rule that says what a weeknote should look like.

Dip into the bucket and use what feels good. Don’t limit yourself to what’s in the bucket either – if some new creative idea hits you one week, go for it.

Sometimes there’s not much to say, and that’s fine

Not every week is news-packed. Sometimes there are slow weeks, or weeks where the only stuff that happens is stuff you’d rather not talk about. If there’s not much to say, you don’t have to say much. Maybe those five photos is all you can come up with - never mind.

It doesn’t matter if you say explicitly that “it’s been one of those weeks”. And it doesn’t matter if you skip a week, or even a few weeks, every now and then.

Writing weeknotes shouldn’t take long

With a bit of practice, it should be possible to bash out some useful weeknotes in just a few minutes. My general rule of thumb is that if you’re spending more than 30 minutes on your weeknote, you’re spending too long on it.

I say that because I’ve met loads of people and teams who threw their hands up in despair at the whole idea of writing regular notes. “We can’t do that!” they cried. “We’ve got so many other, more important, things to think about. We’ll never find the time.”

This is a totally fair point. The vast majority of teams are swamped with work, and they absolutely do not have time to spend on weeknotes.

This is why I say: aim low.

Spend less time on the notes. Let them be rougher round the edges. That’s ok. Nobody will mind, because (whisper it), nobody really has time to read lots of weeknotes either. If reading your weeknote feels like hard work, people won’t read it.

So make it easy work to read your notes. Make them lightweight, skimmable, scratchy, missable. Disposable. Throwaway.

Spend less time and effort making them. Keep them short.

It’s not an essay

You don’t have to write with the same formal and rigid style you were taught to use at school or university.

You don’t have to have some well-thought-out argument. You don’t have to be really clever, or write something really insightful. Don’t let the lack of things like that stop you from writing your notes.

They’re just notes. Sometimes, there might be an amazing nugget of insight - fine, let it come out. But don’t aim for that every time. Don’t let that expectation overtake the goal.

If you’re a leader, write your own weeknotes

Writing weeknotes shouldn’t feel like a chore that you delegate downwards. It should feel like a precious opportunity to speak to your team, or your stakeholders, or your users, whoever it is.

Write your reflections on the past week, the way you see it. The more you can write like this, the more likely it is that people will bother to actually read your weeknote.

If you treat weeknotes like a burden, they’ll feel like a burden

Very rarely, I’ve seen weeknotes become a cause of stress. I’ve seen team leaders worrying about their Friday weeknote from Tuesday onwards. I’ve had them contact me saying: “What am I going to say in the weeknote? Can you draft something for me?”

When this happens, it’s usually because the weeknotes have been elevated to become something they’re not, or they’ve become a means of ticking items off some comms-related todo list.

Weeknotes are good as part of your team’s governance, because they’re a great way of showing what the work really looks like. But if there’s so much pressure on them as a reporting tool that they become a burden on the team, something’s gone wrong.

The best way to write weeknotes is as a genuine personal reflection of the week. Allow them to be personal. Allow thoughts and feelings to creep in, alongside news. Be open, be candid, be the sort of refreshing honesty that most colleagues are yearning for. That will result in excellent weeknotes.

Further reading

A pre-history of weeknotes, by Matt Webb

Weeknotes styles, by Sam Villis

Weeknotes: what they are and how to write them, by Joe Roberson

How to write a weeknote in 30 minutes, by Joe Roberson

Why I write weeknotes, by Steve Messer

How teams remember, by me

The agile comms handbook, by me


Editing: Amy McNichol

Inspiration and encouragement: Ian Leete, Jamie Arnold, Mo Morgan, the Friday lunchtime writers gang, and Thursday night typing club at Studio Bacchus

Some fave weeknotes: BERG, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino’s Sunday Scraps, Denise Wilton’s Walk Notes


If you think weeknotes might be useful in your organisation, you can hire me to help make them successful.I welcome feedback, suggestions and corrections.

Email: giles (at)

© Giles Turnbull, Use the human voice Ltd

You may also be interested in Doing presentations.If you have found this text useful, you can show your appreciation by donating a tree. 🌳