End of Day Videos - Howto

Making a video in the end of day has huge benefits on team communication.

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We recently implemented End of Day (EOD) video in some of our teams.

The benefit has been huge. It’s part of the reason why we build cliptill, which helps us store and review these videos.

I recently re-watched “The Martian”. The astronaut Mark Watney tells his story of being stranded on mars after his team left during a sandstorm. He gives periodic updates through a video log. Of course, there is nobody there to watch him yet. But the format is very powerful.

What if we would get status videos in our software teams?

Any habit change is hard. This is true for personal habits, and it’s also hard for teams. It all comes down to incentivization: if people get a quick benefit of doing something, they stick to it longer.

This is how we implemented daily status updates on our recent MVP development team.

Ingredient 1: Make them easy to do

I provided a clear agenda on what to show: first the time tracked. Then the current status of the software. Then any problems that arise. Then the task list for tomorrow.

And then: give the team a software to use. We usually use Loom for that, and we are also building our own solution which we can self-host without any limitation.

At one point I’ll give access to it to my email list.

Ingredient 2: set boundaries on what not to put into the video

Questions that need answering cannot be part of a video.

The main assumption is that a video can be watched, but it also might not. It’s fine if nobody watches it. The benefit is still there: closing the day by creating something. Publishing something to the team.

Sometimes there’s no merge/pull request at the end of the day. Making at least a video and sending it to the team makes for an end of day on a good note.

Ingredient 3: time constraint

Never make it more than 2 minutes. That’s it.

We found that the sweet spot is 1 minute but it’s easy to go over it. Lately I record a lot of short videos for my YouTube channel, which are constrained to one minute.

It’s very hard to stay below one minute, and quite easy to stay below two.

Ingredient 4: team visibility

Getting feedback, like a ♥️ on a video link posted is always nice. We have a channel for that where people post into it.

Ingredient 5: Start with the leadership

If the leaders of a team cannot make short videos, the team members also won’t.

So I started making update videos myself.

Once I stopped I noticed that also my team stopped. A group habit needs a certain rhythm to happen - and this starts with the leadership.

As this works for one team now, we are trying to roll it out for the whole company. The benefits might be different in non-tech teams. Also, there are other challenges to solve, like “who can watch them”. Apart from the challenge of wasting time of all others members.

As I see fit I’ll make a follow-up post on this.

3 min read
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Till Carlos

I'm Till, a senior developer who started a software company. I explain software concepts for people in leading roles.