These two emojis will be my legacy

Hopefully just a part of it.

Back in 2019 I worked on the Heroku Enterprise feature set with the best scrum team I’ve ever been part of. That team was talented, diverse, fun, responsible, productive, proactive, we had trust and psychological safety, and one of my favorite things was that we were constantly reflecting and trying new ideas to work even better as a team. Shout-out to Sepideh Setayeshfar, Hector Simpson, Jamie White, Brock Spratlen, Kenny Parnell, Jessie Young, Johnny Domino, Micah Cooper, Paul Smith, Todd Evanoff, and Stella Cotton. I miss you all!

One of those ideas was to create a separate Slack channel exclusively for daily async status updates. That channel replaced our recurring status meetings. As you can imagine, reducing meetings is always successful and this was not the exception.

The idea couldn’t be simpler. Each morning when we started working we wrote an list of the things we planned to do that day, our availability and any request for help or reviews. At the end of our work day, we wrote an list with the things we actually managed to get done and call out blockers or anything that impacted another team member.

That channel allowed us to stay aligned and up to date with what everyone was doing. It prompted conversations and surfaced issues. It helped us get up to speed faster when we returned from taking time off or to even remember what we were supposed to do the next day. It fostered pairing and it generally helped us be more efficient as a team.

During that project retrospective meeting we all agreed that the and updates was one of the things we wanted to keep doing. We pitched the idea to our next squads and kept the practice alive. Even today, years later, it’s incredible to realize how many colleagues have taken the emojis and practice to their new teams, even in different companies.

I can’t claim credit for the idea, just for the custom emojis, but it’s funny seeing these two silly pngs taking a whole life of their own.

February 3, 2023