How to Complete Your Dev Log Monthly Review


Today we’ll walk through the next summarization level we need in our dev logs: monthly reviews.

We’re slowly climbing a mountain:

  • Daily logs tell us the quantum details of what we did on a specific day.
  • Weekly reviews roll those details up into atomic accomplishments for the week.
  • Monthly reviews compose those accomplishments into molecular deliveries.

Pardon the poor quantum physics analogy, but I think it’s apropos. We are building what Tiago Forte calls “intermediate packets.”

And, we can keep composing these packets into something larger:

  • A copypasta exercise of writing your annual self-performance review.
  • A presentation to a group of students about your career journey.
  • A document prepared as part of a formal promotion or distinguished/principal engineer process.

Bring two additional things to your monthly review:

  • Questions you want to answer this month (e.g. what business value did I deliver?). Include questions you’ll answer in your annual self-review.
  • Progressive summarization, which I’ll while describing the monthly review process:

Step #1: Create a Monthly Review Note

Copy the month’s weekly review notes into this note.

Step #2: Bold What Resonates

Read and apply a bold font-weight to anything that resonates as significant.

Step #3: Highlight Answers

Read the bolded notes and highlight anything that helps answer your prepared questions.

Step #5: The Executive Summary

Write a paragraph providing an elevator pitch for the month. Include answers to your questions.

That’s it! We just finished January, so it’s not too late to write your first monthly review. Go!