Running a business is a challenge. It requires focus, patience, and more than a few lumps along the way. Think about it! You're closing new business, launching a new business initiative, hitting an OKR (objective key results, Ted). These barely scratch the surface but serve as examples of things that are easy to miss if you're not paying attention. The issue only scales when you have a team all working on different aspects of the business.
What I'm getting is that it's easy to feel like we were stuck and not making real progress. A month would end and I would barely catch my breath and think to myself phew, another month in the can. What happened? What did we even do?
Over the last eight months, I've been in an immersive Ops and PM training cohort through an organization called Louder Than Ten. The idea of a ‘Company Changelog' came up as a way to celebrate small wins within your org. I loved the idea right away. We should totally celebrate small victories! Right??
When I think of Changelogs I think of software Changelogs. You know the kind, right? Listing bug fixes, added features, regression issues etc.
But why don't we do this for our businesses? To me, it seemed like a no-brainer so I took it up.
Enter the Company Changelog
The simple act of reviewing the work you've done over a period of time reinforces not only that you and your team are doing actual work but that you're making progress—things are moving along in the right direction.
The purpose is not to double-check to make sure that work is getting done. There are better ways to go about that. No, the Company Changelog is a way to connect what you're doing to forward momentum and to take a moment to celebrate that progress, those small wins along the way that lead to the change you're growing toward. It's cheesy, but I believe in the power.
Before I used to think about the month that was and how it disjointed whirlwind of activity, I can go back, look at tickets, meeting notes, and updates across our various tools and see that a lot of things happened. And I can mark those down, call them out, thank people, and celebrate our small victories. Amazing, right?
Also, I worked in the corporate world for nearly twenty years of my life. I didn't like a lot of my jobs. I loved the people I worked with and I was lucky to have wonderful bosses. But I always felt like another spoke on the wheel. No matter what I did, no matter if I left that wheel was going to keep turning. What I did ultimately had little impact to the business. I don't want people I work with to feel that way. I know this isn't anyone's dream job but you should be able to feel good about what you do.
What should go into a Company Changelog? That's up to you. As much or as little info can go in there as you like.
I probably put a little too much information here but I put in pretty much the things anyone on my team has a hand in. Be it business development closed deals, new docs, completing important initiatives.
Whatever it is, I think it's worth calling out and sharing it and I think it's important to call attention to the folks who are doing the work. Without them doing the things, they don't get done or they just take much, much longer.
We use Notion as a company brain of sorts, started migrating content there early this year and I don't regret the move a bit! We have a company portal and within that portal, we have a section called What's New. In that section is where we place updated items for biz dev, documentation, operational initiatives, dev projects, etc.
Sometimes the team will add the things they're working on to the What's New section and that's great. Regardless, at the beginning of a new month, I inventory our activity log (I feed activities from our CRM, Support Requests, and PM activities into a Slack Channel) and I take note of what was done. Again, it's important to note that I'm not doing this to check up on people to make sure they're doing their work. I trust them. I want to inventory our small wins, big wins, and use the act of calling them out to generate momentum and let people know they're appreciated for the things they do, big and small.
My process of using a changelog is far from perfect. I'm interested to know if anyone else out there is doing something similar or conveying small wins with their teams.
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Just like the good ol' days!!