README for APC students

I am mentoring students and I gave them a README for my weekly office hour.

I ask them for 4 things every week, because I think these are very important for them:

  1. note progress
  2. get clarity on goals
  3. identify where you struggle
  4. say thank you

I am doing this so they develop habits that will benefit them later in their work life:

  1. note progress: it's important to capture the things you did. This is data which is very useful to keep stakeholders up to date. But it also provides a great source for review and appraisal meetings with managers. If they are not frequent you will most likely have forgotten what you did a few months ago. A log of things you did will help you identify important milestones you reached.
  2. get clarity on goals: working on software projects is highly complex and it's easy to loose sight of the bigger picture. Many small problems pile up and can easily obscure the initial goal that was set at the beginning of a project. Stating (and reinforcing) the goals you work towards is important to keep everyone aligned to work towards the same outcome. Clarity on thy Why? is neccessary to be able to quickly make daily decisions without depending on long feedback cycles.
  3. identify where you struggle: I've put this in to normalize the fact that hitting blockers is normal, it is part of doing something new that hasn't been done before but also part of learning something new. Very few concepts will just reveal themselves on the first look, it takes time and practice to understand them. Sharing what you struggle with also provides the opportunity for team members to offer help and support; after all they might have had the same issue in the past and know how to handle it. It is also important to enable the entire team to identify blockers that limit progress and evaluate wether to invest into resolving them immediately.
  4. say thank you: Actionable feedback is the most important input for a team to improve and grow. I especially highlight that it's about providing feedback on what a person did, this offers them concrete feedback on their behaviour and what is perceived as valuable by their team members. This can also help them uncover skills they didn't know they posessed or didn't think of being valuable.

Below is the full README.

README: Office Hours

In order to maximize the time for questions please post the questions you have in the Teams chat before the office hour. I will answer them following the FIFO principle.

Status updates


Each student should provide an individual small status update every Thursday in Teams:

  1. Describe one interesting thing you learned in the past week.
  2. Upload one screenshot of your week's work progress.
  3. Describe one thing you struggle with.
  4. Write a virtual Kudo card to a team member (you can do this privately if you like).
    Here is a template:
For:   <Name of your team member>
From:  <Your Name>

       Thank you for <description of what they did>
       because it <description of how it helped you>


Each team should provide a written status update every Thursday in Teams:

  1. Describe the goals you were working towards this week and the progress you made towards them.
  2. Describe the blockers you encounter.
  3. Describe what you plan to work on next week.