The Shipping News

One of the more powerful things I do at my new job is at the end of the week I update a running document I call “Shipping Department News”, which is a list of all the stuff we deployed to production in the week.

It’s a bulleted list, and each item has a little description of what it does and why it matters.

Sometimes, there’s a screenshot or two or a humorous aside.

There are also a section with status and planning updates for upcoming stuff.

This document takes me 15 minutes or so each week to update, but it has so many benefits:

  • We don’t have to bog down meetings with a lot of project status updates, since that’s all in the document
  • When we do an external product update, we have an easy review of what we’ve deployed lately that can feed our narrative
  • It emphasizes momentum and helps keep the company aligned on our direction

I mention all this because it’s a neat work idea you should totally steal if you’re in a similar engineering/product leadership sort of role, obviously. I’ve gone back to this approach four times in my career and it has killed each time.

But I also mention it because as I sit at my home office desk and reflect on the week, I’m thinking about stealing this idea for my own life.

I already journal each day - one daily page with a schedule and todos, and another running journal which I start my day with what I’m grateful for and end it with the three big wins (aside: I should talk more about what that looks like someday soon, too) - but am thinking about a similar weekly wrap for my life.

This week, for instance, would be something like:

  • Appeared on a podcast for work: This is the first podcasting thing I’ve done in close to (if not more than) a decade. And it turned out great, and I found it more fun than I remembered. It’s something I might try to do more of.
  • Led a product webinar at work: I’ve been watching other folks give roadmap reviews for several years now, and had a great time hosting one myself this week (I might find a non-gated version of that down the road).
  • Dropped below 275 pounds: I’m down ~25 pounds since early November and it’s felt sustainable along the way. Bounced back up slightly after that low, but it’ll come around again.
  • Started constantly running: The week before, I started running a few times a week - just running between every other utility pole for now - but I kept at this it week. My last run was the first one where I wasn’t maxing out my heart rate the whole time. This week, I also got a goal of running a 5K in May lodged in my head.
  • Had lunch out with my wife twice: Once for Valentines Day and once again today.
  • Got a janky part of our fence fixed
  • Replaced a busted bathroom faucet on my own
  • Finally made it back to my weekly trivia night
  • Stayed out entirely too late last night to go see Ant-Man

I won’t always share this sort of update publicly - perhaps never again. But I’m also willing to bet some day in the future I’ll come back to this entry and read this and smile.

Not every week will be this good, either.

But I think this week is the one that will start the string. Once a week, writing down the big things that happened in my life - so I can remember, stay aligned, and emphasize my own momentum.

Hope you’re having a fabulous Friday (or whatever day it is when you happen to read this) out there.

shuts work laptop for the long weekend

Chris Vannoy @v