One of the biggest challenges leading a group of developers is keeping the team updated on everything that I can see. As time flies by in meeting after meeting it is easy to forget that I am the eyes and ears for those on my team. Until recently I had trouble figuring out how to relay all, or at least some, of that information to my team.
I came across a post that gave me a new perspective on how to help my team, translate the information coming at me each week, and also provide some updates and celebrations on what we have been doing as a team. The week in review is simply a targeted post for your team that attempts to relay pertinent information more effectively. This is not a replacement for your one on ones, and individual conversations where you can continue to share information and learning. This instead is additive and a complement to those conversations.
How I approach my Week in Review
Mike McGarr shares his approach to the format of his updates in his week in review post. He also shares a sample document to give some insight into the writing style and content. My approach is slightly different from Mike's, although I am starting to ponder swapping out a few sections in the near future.
- Introduction - I generally write a paragraph or two that summarizes the previous week or to dive into somethings specific that is on my mind. As a manager I want to build good relationships with my team and I view this as my opportunity, among others, to give some insight into who I am and what I have been thinking about.
- Initiative Update - I initially started with an entire road-map and decided to change this to the one major initiative our team is working through. This gives me a level of confidence that the team is aware of what our highest priority should be.
- Notable Updates and Learning - This is where I highlight the meetings and conversations that have given me an update or learning. From my perspective, this is where I hope my team is gaining valuable insight.
- What I have been reading/watching/listening to... - I added in this section as a sort of newsletter to highlight things I have read, watched, or listened to over the week. I wanted to use the weekly updates to also promote learning. I can tell my team until I am blue in the face that I fully support their growth and learning. I believe it sends an even stronger message when I am sharing my personal learning week in and week out.
The benefits I have started to see
When I began this journey I was not positive what I would see or if anyone would even read these. While I can't be sure of my readership due to the limitations of the internal tool I am using, I do hear from my team and others outside of the team that they are gaining more insight and finding these posts beneficial. Here are some of the main benefits I see from my own perspective.
- Accountability - I am forced to track what and where I hear and learn about things throughout my week. The time spent recounting my notes keeps me from dropping things I may need to follow up on.
- Connection - If I don't have a chance to talk to someone during the week for some strange reason. I still have a touch point in these posts.
- Insight - The team I am on is more aware about what I am seeing and hearing. As well as gaining insight and perspective on how I think.
- Learning - One of the main things I am trying to promote on my team is learning. I dedicate an entire section of each post around my own learning. What better way to let the team know that learning is valued.
- Pull model - This ensures that my direct supports can consume this information when they would like. This disconnects and extends me as an information radiator.
An additional benefit is that others outside of the team also pick up information that they might not have otherwise been exposed to.
This entire process has made me a better writer and communicator. I believe it has also helped me become more authentic and transparent as a leader. Could adopting this simple strategy help you and the team you are leading?