Best tip for writing status updates

January 6, 2015

I covered this in my "Be a Better Developer (no code required)" talk so I thought I'd finally get this blog post draft published. One of my old managers at Google had the most useful tip I've ever heard for writing status updates.

The tip is, at the end of a status update you've written, would someone reading this update go “so what?”

The exercise is intended to get you to make sure your status update isn't just a summary of the work done, which most people reading status updates (managers) don't really particularly care about. Rather, they are much more interested in the impact of the work that's been done.

HT Emily for that joke (the font is Impact, get it??)

Here's an example:

We changed email reports to be sent at 1am local time.

We changed email reports to be sent at 1am local time, allowing customers to receive data in the correct local time window.

The before example has been translated into “here's why you should care” language.”

For more insights on making sure you're broadcasting information and sharing updates appropriately, see this post by a New Relic manager, "How to be an information flow superhero: beyond not surprising your boss."