BETTER TEAMWORK WITH PERSONAL USER MANUALS
AND THE ROLE THEY PLAY IN EFFECTIVE TEAM BUILDING
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The value of a personal user manual
Knowing what we need to be productive can help us do our best work and to design our lifestyles around the things we love the most. The purpose of a personal user manual is to help others understand us better so that we can collaborate more effectively.
Share anything that we are comfortable sharing with our colleagues and clients. It can include as much or as little as we like. The most important question to ask is “What might others need to know in order to collaborate effectively with us?”
Check out the Personal User Manual of Lisette Sutherland.
What you can include in your personal user manual
- Start with the basics and give people some background about yourself
- List your communication preferences
- Highlight your personal values
- Outline your strengths and weaknesses
- List your work preferences
- Show your workspace
Pro tips for creating a Personal User Manual
1. There is no one right way for creating a personal user manual. Choose a tool that you feel comfortable with AND that is easily accessible to your colleagues and clients. For example: Google Docs or Slides, Confluence, Github, Notion.
2. Think about what others need to know about working with you and start writing it down or drawing it. When you are comfortable with what you have written/drawn, share it! If you feel nervous putting it out in the world, try sharing it with some trusted friends/colleagues first.
3. Add a table of contents. Help the reader to easily locate specific information they’re looking for.
4. Add images, graphics, and emoticons. Pictures can describe things better than words.