A year ago, I started doing predictions for my team, and I've found it to be a useful way to engage managers with their teams. It proved to be a good way to support managers, and it helped us prevent several conflicts.
A team prediction is simple table with four columns:
- A person's name,
- 0-10, the likelihood of them leaving within the next 6 months (where 0 stands for "no way" and 10 is "I'm certain of it")
- 0-10, the impact on the team if the person is missing for 1 month (where 0 is "we're not going to notice" and 10 is "we're going to ship nothing")
- What can we do for them?
This list had a couple of roles. First, if there's a difference between the way the manager and I see the scores, it's a great start for a conversation. Do we have different contexts? Where does our experience not match here?
Secondly, the list helped us identify risks, and act upon them. For example, when we saw an increase in probability, we'd have a chat about it. Or, when we saw too high of an impact concentrated in one team member, we would set a plan with the manager to spread that impact more.
Finally, it was a good way for us to align with the managers. We're both looking into the future; excited, and somewhat calculated. If there's an important project coming up, or there's too much risk in one area of development, it was great to solve the problem of retaining knowledge capital, together.
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