My friend J.D. Meier has an amazing blog called Sources of Insight and he's written a fantastic book called Getting Results the Agile Way. You can buy his book on Amazon (it's free on Kindle Unlimited!). I put J.D. up there with David Allen and Stephen Covey except J.D. is undiscovered. For real. If you've seen my own live talk on Personal Productivity and Information Overload you know I reference J.D.'s work a lot.
I've been a people manager as well as an IC (individual contributor) for a while now, and while I don't yet have the confidence to tell you I'm a good manager, I can tell you that I'm trying and that I'm introspective about my efforts.
My small team applies J.D.'s technique of "Monday Vision, Daily Outcomes, Friday Reflection" to our own work. As he says, this is the heart of his results system.
The way it works is, on Mondays, you figure out the 3 outcomes you want for the week. Each day you identify 3 outcomes you want to accomplish. On Friday, you reflect on 3 things going well and 3 things to improve. It’s that simple. - J.D. Meier
We are a remote team and we are in three different time zones so the "morning standup" doesn't really work so well for us. We want a "scrum" style standup, but we're a team that lives in Email/Slack/Microsoft Teams/Skype.
Here's how Monday Vision works for us as a team. We are transparent about what we're working on and we are honest about what works and when we stumble.
- On Monday morning each of us emails the team with:
- What we hope to accomplish this week. Usually 3-5 things.
- This isn't a complete list of everything on our minds. It's just enough to give context and a vector/direction.
It's important that we are clear on what our goals are. What would it take for this week to be amazing? What kinds of things are standing in our way? As a manager I think my job is primarily as traffic cop and support. My job is to get stuff out of my team's way. That might be paperwork, other teams, technical stuff, whatever is keeping them out of their flow.
These emails might be as simple as this (~real) example from a team member.
- DevIntersection Conference
- Workshop and 2 sessions
- Trip Report, Expenses, and general administrivia from the event last week
- Final planning for MVP Summit
- Spring Planning for ASP.NET Web Forms, IIS Express, EF4, WCF, and more
- Modern ASP.NET Web Forms research paper
- Thursday evening – presenting over Skype to the London.NET user-group “Introduction to Microservices in ASP.NET Core”
Again, the lengths and amount of detail vary. Here's the challenge part though - and my team hasn't nailed this yet and that's mostly my fault - Friday Reflection. I have an appointment on my calendar for Friday at 4:30pm to Reflect. This is literally blocked out time to look back and ask these questions....
- On Friday evening on the way out, email the team with:
- What worked this week? Why didn't Project Foo get done? Was the problem technical? Logistical? Organizational?
- Did you feel amazing about this week? Why? Why not? How can we make next week feel better?
What do you do to kick off and close down your week?
Related J.D. Meier productivity reading
Sponsor: Big thanks to Raygun! Join 40,000+ developers who monitor their apps with Raygun. Understand the root cause of errors, crashes and performance issues in your software applications. Installs in minutes, try it today!
© 2016 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.