originally published January 20, 2020

If we understand how our teammates communicate, work, and learn best, we’ll be more happy and effective as a team. Maintaining a User Guide allows people to understand how to work with you. That’s why I have every member of our team at Retriever build and maintain their own User Guide.

And there are substantial side benefits. It prompts introspection and fosters self awareness.

Below is the exact User Guide that I share w/ my team at Retriever. It’s tremendously helpful in quickly acquainting new colleagues with me and my working style — including my habits, quirks, and gotchas.

Note: this User Guide is very targeted to my role and my team at Retriever. Likewise, you should consider your context and audience, and target your User Guide accordingly.

Stedman’s User Guide, as Retriever CEO


  1. I process things visually. I need to see written notes to get my bearings, maintain attention, and keep track of where we’re going.
  2. I am a direct communicator. Please let me know if this style does not work for you and I will modulate it.
  3. Please explain things to me on a call, not on Slack.
  4. I LOVE feedback. Critical feedback is great. There are things I’m messing up every day and if you don’t tell me, I probably won’t improve.

Things that you should know about me: