Publish an Engineering weekly newsletter
As soon as you can, start sending a weekly newsletter to the Engineering team. And by 'as soon as you can', I mean start this week.
The aim is to share what you know with the team, some of whom may be remote, on PTO or (hopefully) not in as many meetings as you.
Tell Them Everything.
Pick a day - Thursday EOD works great - and put it on your calendar. To start out you might need a reminder at 8am "Write newsletter" and another at 4pm to send it.
I don't remember the source - Jack Welch perhaps? - but I remember reading that Thursday afternoon was the best time to do this, as well as send a weekly status to your boss of what you'd been up to (but that's another subject).
Keep a list updated (Workflowy is great) of what has happened in the week, so when you sit down to write this you have the content mapped out already.
This isn't a big commitment; you'll probably spend an hour a week in total on this. You can also delegate some sections to your project managers, team leads or recruiters.
Remember, the whole point is to make sure your whole team knows what they need to know, as well as encouraging a social bond within the team. So, as always, Tell Them Everything, including the bad stuff.
Odds are, they'll know about it anyway via the jungle drums, but you can at least share your perspective on the subject.
- Recognition and kudos for team members
- Roles you are recruiting for
- Who you've hired, who left the company
- Who's been promoted or changed roles
- Training opportunities
- Anniversaries and birthdays
- Upcoming events; releases, kickoffs, happy hours, etc
- Who's on PTO or OOO next week
- User groups
- Local charity events
- Public news, and links to posts from social team
- Internal changes; pivots, management changes
- Core values, mission
- Project updates, releases, kickoffs
- Product roadmap; what's next
- Process changes
Talk or link to interesting content on any technical subject:
- Coding standards
- Unit testing
- Agile process, Kanban, gitflow
- Code reviews
- Technical debt
- Tools and libraries
- Recommended podcasts, books
- Pep talks; changes, improvements, technical
- Inspirational quotes and videos
- Spotify engineering culture
- Pluralsight training videos
- TED talks
- Share your life; home projects, recent restaurants
Bits and pieces (one-liners)
- Fun weekend plans
- Team personal lives
- or even how many days until Christmas
Keep an archive
Once you're complete and you've sent the email, print it to pdf and store in a shared folder, corporate dropbox or similar.
As well as making it easier to find than searching email archives, you can now send your new hires there so they can catch up.