Posts by Jon Burke

P2: The Comic

Our colleague, Tess Needham, who is a long-time marketing fixture at WordPress VIP made a comic about P2 a few years ago. She reminded me of it today and I thought it might help the P2 community to explain P2 to their colleagues. So I am reblogging it below.

"At Automattic, we use P2 in place of email. P2 is deployed across a vast network of internal blogs. These blogs replace email and allow us to work effectively asynchronously. P2 is so much better than email and is completely transparent, searchable, cross-linked, and archived. In fact, everyone at our company is basically blogging, all the time. I made a fun little comic that pays homage to one of my favorite tools: P2. Check it out below."

Create Your Own “What I’m Working On” Post

A colleague was inspired by the “now page” philosophy, and set out to create a personal space on his team’s P2 to track his work. I thought it might be of interest to the community here.

His habit is to add a new post to his team’s P2, and Reply each week with his tasks he plans to accomplish. These are not granular or very detailed, but the general overview of project work he needs, or hopes, to accomplish each week.

For each reply, he titles it “Week [n]: [Date range]” so he can track where he’s at in the month/year. He then broke the tasks into four sections: Meetings, Main tasks, Internal tasks, and Personal tasks. The progress bar, task block, and the changelog block come in handy so he can track progress and mark tasks that need shifted to the next week or put on hold altogether.

Derek’s What I’m working On Post

10 Ways to Avoid Unnecessary Meetings with Asynchronous P2s

Our CEO recently asked us to reflect on this question for the new year: “Are all your meetings so effective that you look forward to them?” It’s important to also ask, if you are a meeting organizer, are attendees looking forward to your meeting? Live meetings have their place but are costly in terms of time and energy.

Asynchronous work has a lot of buzz but many don't know what it looks like or how to adapt to it. Some readers of this P2 are part of organizations that are looking to move to async work and to use P2 as Automattic makes use of it. Here are 10 P2 use cases that you might find useful.

1. Courses P2

Automattic and others are using P2 to train staff and teach courses using asynchronous courses and boot camps. Students don’t need to all be on the same Zoom call to learn and interact.

2. Requests P2s

Our legal staff tells us that in the past when someone needed a contract, the default was to schedule a meeting to discuss. The default now is to submit legal requests on the contracts P2. Our legal team has a standardized form to complete. The contracts can then be discussed in comments.

Additionally, Automattic’s Systems/IT team, Data Teams, and others have request P2s:

3. Status Reports P2

Automattic has a P2 called Thursday Updates where every team is required to provide a status update summary every two weeks. At many organizations, such updates would be delivered in Powerpoint at a live meeting, often to full rooms with people who don’t need to be there.

4. New Employee Introductions

With office cultures, when a new employee joins someone might walk them around the office to introduce them. Automattic asks every new employee to write a post and embed a video where they introduce themselves and co-workers respond and welcome in comments.

Another format is for a manager to interview a new team-mate:

5. New Hire Trials

Hiring new staff is often done in a series of Zoom calls or in-person meetings that can be exhausting for everyone. At Automattic, we create a P2 for each new candidate and work with them on trial projects.

6. Call Notes

It’s common to have a follow-up meeting where the first 10 minutes is where people try to remember what was said in a prior meeting. At Automattic, it’s a requirement that every external call have notes shared in P2. That way if you missed the call you can get a summary, or if you were on the call you can be reminded. You can also consider videoing the call and embedding the Loom or other video type in the P2 so that people can ask questions and comment.

You can also embed the video recording from a meeting into a P2 so that people can watch later and comment:

7. Collaborate with Partners and Customers On P2

Partners and clients will often want to schedule a regular meeting, even if there are no major updates to discuss. Consider creating a partnership or major client P2 and asking the partner or client to share updates there. Then only schedule meetings as needed.

8. Celebrate Wins

Office cultures might schedule after-work outings to celebrate wins or commemorate a year of success. As we can’t easily get people together in person it’s common at Automattic to use P2 to celebrate wins.

9. Meetup Guides and Summaries

Teams at Automattic periodically meet up in person. Team leads are tasked with researching and booking. They also must summarize meetups to share details like attendees, location, cost, projects, Internet speed tests, and other logistics. Without these posts, meetings might be required with accounting to discuss costs and with other team leads who are researching the location. Fun fact: historically Lisbon, Portugal and Hawaii have been the most popular meetup locations at Automattic.

10. Document a Challenging Topic

Automattic has a number of documentation P2s that we call Universities. We have everything from Domain University to Scheduling University. There is so much to cover in these university P2s that it might require a full-day live training session. With these P2 universities, staff can drink from these firehose on their own when they have time.

P2’s Year in Review and Look Ahead

2021 has been the apex of P2’s evolution since the product was launched in 2009 and relaunched in 2020. One reason for P2’s rapid evolution has been that so many people at Automattic contributed to improving everything behind the scenes from the apps to performance to new blocks.

Organizations that have standardized on P2 recognize that the vision for the platform is to offer freedom from the drudgery of email, waves of Zoom calls, and attention-diverting live chats. P2 offers asynchronous communications powered by the highly regarded WordPress editor. In 2022, P2 users will see new windows open with more expansive features including a people directory and P2 Patterns.

Here are some highlights from 2021:

A Peak at What’s Next For P2 in 2022

Collaborative editing means you will be able to work on P2 draft with teammates before posting.

More Integrations. A top P2 benefit is that your team can share content from apps that not all can access. In 2022, we will continue to add more integrations. If you use Slack and P2, you will be able to easily pick Slack messages that you decide are important and should be shared in P2.

Conversely, you will also be able to receive new post notifications for P2 sites in your workspace. A channel can be subscribed to multiple P2s. ⬇️

Github embeds and more integrations. If you use Github, you will be able to embed Github issues.

People Directory will allow you to manage the members in your workspace, invite more and keep profiles for each to learn more about them and see their activity. ⬇️

P2 Patterns. You may have heard of the WordPress Block Patterns. P2 is bringing on a new way for you to copy and reuse formatting.

New Hosting Options. P2 has its first customers hosted on WordPress VIP and will continue to expand on that momentum.

Let us know what P2 features you want to see in 2022. We can only hope that you are as excited about P2 in 2022 as we are. Keep going with your P2 and as always stay in touch!

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