One Page / One Hour

A pledge to reduce busywork, increase collaboration, and drive better outcomes

Matt LeMay
Jun 10, 2019 · 3 min read
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Update: You can now sign up for the One Page / One Hour pledge directly at onepageonehour.com!

How much time do we spend presenting decks and deliverables to our colleagues? How often does the feedback we receive about these decks and deliverables concern their format and style, not their content and goals? How many designers who could be creating more valuable experiences for their customers are busy finishing and polishing presentations for their colleagues?

The problem isn’t PowerPoint decks — it’s how we use them.

Whether the deliverable format is a PowerPoint presentation, a Google Slides doc, or a “narrative memo,” the bottom line is that we spend way too much time working alone to make these deliverables “impressive,” and not nearly enough time working together to make them useful.

Most of us have implicitly encouraged this behavior at one point or another, by remarking “wow, that deck is gorgeous!” or “I love the way you told a story in that memo!” We reward the work itself, not the outcomes of the work, and in doing so we unwittingly reinforce the idea that the way to get praise from our colleagues is to show them something that is finished, polished, and impressive.

I’ve fallen into this trap throughout my career, going “offline” for days or weeks at a time and emerging with carefully designed decks and meticulously scripted presentations. I have taken great pleasure in being told “that presentation was awesome,” not “that presentation was useful.” And, perhaps worst of all, I have lost out on critical input from my colleagues by failing to involve them until I have something “ready” to share.

So, for the last couple of months, I’ve been trying something new:

One page / One hour.

Which is to say, I have been working to hold myself and my colleagues accountable for spending no more than one page and one hour on any deliverable before sharing it with each other.

So far, the results of this experiment have been deeply encouraging. We spend less time debating things like format, wording, and visual design. We are able to provide high-level feedback and input before any strategic decisions seem like foregone conclusions. And best of all, we spend less time presenting at each other and more time collaborating with each other.

In the interest of formalizing this commitment and encouraging my colleagues to hold me accountable, I printed out the following pledge and taped it above my desk:

I am prepared to forego the sense of individual accomplishment that comes from presenting finished, polished deliverables to my colleagues.

I believe that co-creation drives stronger decisions, shared accountability, and better outcomes.

Therefore, I pledge that I will spend no more than one page and one hour working on any deliverable before sharing it with my colleagues.

I invite my colleagues to hold me accountable for this commitment, and to join me in taking the 1 Page / 1 Hour pledge.

One page / one hour.

Who’s with me?

Matt LeMay

Written by

Author of Agile for Everybody and Product Management in Practice (O’Reilly). Product coach & consultant. Partner at Sudden Compass. matt@mattlemay.com.

On Human-Centric Systems

Occasional musings on process, data, product and organizational design from the Sudden Compass team and collaborators.

Matt LeMay

Written by

Author of Agile for Everybody and Product Management in Practice (O’Reilly). Product coach & consultant. Partner at Sudden Compass. matt@mattlemay.com.

On Human-Centric Systems

Occasional musings on process, data, product and organizational design from the Sudden Compass team and collaborators.

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