Especially in fast-growing companies, it can be challenging for everyone to have a deep understanding of all the teams, projects or processes. This insight, however, really helps team members move quickly and make well-informed decisions. At OfferZen, we’ve found regular lunchtime presentations really useful to get around the size of our growing team. We call these presentations WTF lunches. Here’s how we explain WTF everyone is up to at OfferZen and how you can do the same with your team.
Back in 2017, our team size grew to over ten members. That’s when we realised that we were suddenly too big to do a full company stand up. We generally use this first team meeting of the day to update each other on our most important missions and outputs for the day. Once we had split into different teams, we realised that we didn’t know or understand what everyone was doing anymore.
Being so used to knowing everyone’s workdays in detail, we quickly felt the pain of the reduced visibility. That’s when we introduced weekly company updates where team leads present a high-level overview of what their team has been working on. This is something we still do to this day but we still felt that we were missing out on the granular details.
We believe that these granular insights allow us to be lean and fast, because individual team members have enough context to iterate quickly and think on their feet. At the same time, this context unlocks the capacity of every person because they can work autonomously and act in the best interest of our business and its customers.
Luckily, the stars aligned and the first season of Silicon Valley aired. Everyone at the office had caught the fever and then witnessed this glorious moment in television history:
Gilfoyle’s heartfelt speech inspired us to start our very own “This is WTF I’m doing” session. So we decided to combine Gilfoyle’s sentiments with something commonly known as the ‘brown bag lunch’, and the WTF lunch was born.
WTF is a WTF lunch?
We typically have lunch together everyday because this allows us to socialise and get to know the people we work with on a more personal level.
One lunch every two weeks has now become a WTF lunch. A person or team creates a presentation and shares what they have been up to with the rest of OfferZen. This can be a new process, a mission, a new team configuration or any interesting insights they’ve gained. The only rule is that this session should help everyone better understand who we are and what we do as a company.
We’ve gone through several iterations to figure out how to make these presentations really useful to everyone. We know it can be tough to run the first one, so we created a downloadable presentation to help you explain it to your team. The rest of this article summarises the main considerations that go into pulling off your very own WTF lunch.
Choose a topic
We like to keep the topic space as open-ended as possible, but it is critical that the topic improves everyone’s understanding of the business in some way. Some of the topics we’ve covered in the past include, ‘WTF does the product team do?’, ‘WTF is an OKR?’, and ‘WTF I love about being a talent advisor’. It’s really awesome if the topic fits into the WTF sentence, but this isn’t a requirement.
Choose a presenter
We also think of the WTF lunch as an awesome opportunity for OfferZen team members to practice their public speaking and presentation skills. It isn’t every day that a team member gets to speak in front of the entire company, especially if that company is huge. At OfferZen, anyone can present the WTF presentation on behalf of their team. That said, it’s important that this person has an in-depth understanding of the topic, because they’ll have to answer questions at the end too.
Set aside time
To us, WTF lunches are as important as any of our other meetings. We host one every second week on a Wednesday over lunch time. The presentations are about 40 minutes in length including the question and answer session at the end. We’ve found it super useful to book this session as a meeting slot in our Google calendars to make sure that everyone remembers to attend. But, to make sure that these presentations actually happen, someone in OfferZen takes responsibility for WTF lunches as a whole. This person is responsible for maintaining the pipeline of WTF presentations as well as providing support and feedback to the presenter during the prep and dry run.
Do a dry run
Before the actual WTF lunch, the presenter is encouraged to do a dry run for other team members. We’ve found that this feedback session ensures that their presentation is easy to understand and communicates accurate information about the topic. It also helps to calm pre-presentation jitters!
Ask for feedback
The feedback on the WTF lunch doesn’t stop at the dry run. At OfferZen, we’re big on honest feedback and see every opportunity as one to ask for feedback to improve. At every WTF lunch, the presenter hands out feedback cards to some members in the audience to get feedback on the content of the presentation and their presenting style. These cards are filled in during the session and handed back to the presenter after lunch.
Share the presentation
We understand that people can’t always join the session because they may have other commitments or be out of office. That’s why we make sure to share a Google Hangout link for remote team members and keep the presentation on our Google drive so that everyone always has access to it. This has turned out to be super useful when other teams need a refresher or new team members join OfferZen and need to play catch up.
Topic ideas for your second WTF lunch
We recommend having your first WTF lunch on the topic ‘WTF is a WTF lunch?’ which is why we’ve created this downloadable presentation to help explain the principles to your team. But, when it comes to choosing future topics, you may find that you need a little inspiration. We’ve included a few of the ideas that we’ve used in the past to help you get the ball rolling:
- WTF does the X team do?
- WTF is the X process?
- WTF is X?
- WTF, how does this work?
- WTF I love about working on the X team
- WTF do I do everyday?
If you have any other WTF lunch topic ideas, feel free to share them in the comments below!