My User Manual

A personal user manual is a fun way to share your individual preferences for how you like to collaborate and communicate. It can also be a great tool for getting to know each of your teammates beyond the work stuff.


If you're struggling with team cohesiveness  or shared understanding on your Health Monitor, running this play might help.

Read more
And why would I need that, exactly?

No matter what team you're on, learning how to work together takes time. We all have different communication and collaboration styles. This play builds our empathy muscles and honors the fact that we each have our own style of working. You'll find that you'll GSD a lot faster when you can understand how your teammates work best.

This play is great for any team, any time. But especially when...

  • You just started on a new team
  • You're kicking off a new project with a team

Anyone on a project team, including individual contributors and team leads.

Create a personal "user manual" that helps your teammates understand how best to work with you
User Team

1 - 10

Content Pencil

30 - 60 min

Measure Clock

30 min

Difficulty Easy


Running the play

Download the starter deck or copy the Confluence page template and review what questions you'd like to ask of yourself and of your team mates.  Agree on which ones to focus on.


Step 1

Spend time before you meet answering each of the prompts (30 mins)

We've provided 10 prompts in the deck, but here's a sample of what you'll find:

  • Conditions I like to work in
  • Best ways to communicate with me
  • The ways I like to receive feedback
  • Things I love
  • Favorite saying
Content search

Here's what the "communicating" section of your user manual might look like. 

Step 2

Share your user manuals with each other (5 - 60 mins)

(Number of Participants - 1) x 7 minutes.

Pair up into teams of 2 (with one team of 3 if you have an odd number of team members), and take turns sharing feedback on areas such as:

  • How you partner’s description of themselves matches up with your experience working with them
  • Areas where you need clarification
  • Other habits, preferences, or details that you think your partner should consider adding to their user manual
  • What surprised you about your partner’s user manual

Each pair should last ~7 minutes.

Continue to pair up for feedback round-robin style until each person has shared with each of their teammates.

Status check
Pro Tip

Keep these archived in your team's Confluence space so future teammates can get up to speed quickly.

Step 3

Rinse and repeat

Teams will grow and change so as new team members join your project or team, have them fill it out and share in your next team meeting!

Status check
Pro Tip

When new hires start, add this as a task in their 90-day plan.

Nailed it?

Be sure to run a full Health Monitor session or checkpoint with your team to see if you're improving.


Go Deeper

Consider adding more prompts to your user manuals:

  • I feel that my purpose here is to
  • I feel energized and engaged when
  • I struggle to focus and stay motivated when…
  • To make me feel like I matter, please…
  • I’d really prefer if you would be willing to avoid avoid…
  • Right now, I’m working on…
  • When you have positive feedback for me, I’d prefer you…
  • When you have something constructive for me, I’d like if you could…
Make it part of your standup

Incorporate these as quick get-to-know each other exercises in your standing meetings by spending 5 min at the beginning of each meeting on one topic/question and running through everyone's answer 

Gamify it!

Try a gamification version of this play. Collect and anonymize the team's slides from one prompt and have the team try to guess whose slide is whose

Remote Teams

For remote or distributed teams, we recommend the Zoom Breakout Room feature.

Related Plays

    Demo Trust

    Experience Canvas

    Project Poster

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