Discover more from Run the Business
Writing is Compounding
A recently-hired colleague at work shared an insight with me this week that hadn’t dawned on me before: onboarding is 80% self-directed learning and 20% tapping into tribal knowledge. Wouldn’t it be great if the tribal knowledge was documented, accessible, and structured?
Yes recently-hired colleague, yes it would!
The discussion reminded of an episode from my Twitter days, when a tongue-in-cheek wiki comment was taken seriously. I had written the first onboarding wiki on Confluence for the technical PM team, and someone who was in the middle of onboarding read and it said a bunch of things were missing. So I updated the wiki with a comment at the bottom:
“if you think something is missing from this wiki, feel free to add it yourself”
I was at Twitter for over 5 years, and I don’t think I looked at that wiki again till my last week. Guess what? People took the comment seriously, and had been adding to it. Every new hire (~ 50 people over 5 years) layering insight after nugget. It was the collective in-house and long-lost knowledge base of the techincal PM team, available to read in < 30 minutes for any new hire.
This is more than a warm and fuzzy story. This is one of the realities of writing: it compounds.
Whether it’s an onboarding doc that’s updated by every new hire or a product brief that goes through a series of reviews or an incident post-mortem that’s studied by every on-call, the act of writing, sharing, and editing is critical to an organization that wants to learn.
I woke up this morning (and for the last 10 days) not really wanting to write. But I wanted to get this thought out there - here’s hoping it compounds…
I’d love to hear from readers about their onboarding journeys - please chime in via comments👇. And if you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing.
further reading / references
product choices, like writing, also compound into customer value
many organizations have turned a culture of writing into a superpower
childish drawing / interpretation