On celebrating small steps in the right direction

20th April 2015

It’s easy to remember to celebrate big milestones — company wide announcements, launch parties, cakes, etc. However it’s done, the team is awash in recognition, and everyone is a little bit cheerier than normal (or is it just sleep deprivation?).

Even medium sized milestones are easy to remember. This past week, the SAT team reached such a milestone — private beta. We reflected and celebrated in our weekly sync, and we each walked away with a small wobbling solar flower to brighten our desks.

I guess this is obvious, but we should remember to acknowledge and celebrate the small milestones.

Small steps in the right direction, they happen frequently on any well functioning team. Someone wrote up a clear project doc. Someone shared a neat design. Someone fixed a nasty bug. Someone crafted an artful diff. Someone expertly fielded questions with external partners. Someone automated a process that previously took 20 minutes of someone else’s time every week. Someone gave sage advice in code review. Someone helped the team make tough decisions together. Someone swooped in and caught a ball before it dropped all the way. Pair programming, brainstorming, rubber ducking, venting sessions, etc.

Whatever they might be, these small steps don’t require the same public fanfare as big milestones, but they should still be acknowledged. If only from personal experience, being acknowledged for these small steps brightens my day. It can be as simple as saying, “Hey, thanks!” :)

Without these small steps, how else would your team reach that big milestone?

PS Hey, thanks! Thanks to the SAT team for doing all those “small” things above all the time. You’re a dream to work with, and it’s a privilege. Thanks to Jordan for writing that blog post above, which inspired me to write this “obvious” one. Thanks to Kamens for reminding me to say thank you and to eat my vegetables.

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