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Manager README


Each person brings a set of work-related baggage with them to their job. Most of time, we don’t know which actions or words will touch on a pain-point that a colleague has experienced.

This document is a snapshot of how I currently work well and work poorly. It is my hope that by being vulnerable we are able to build a non-superficial sense of trust as coworkers.

Management Philosophy

My management philosophy claims that a group of people can accomplish more than a single person can. I intend to grow new leaders and coach talent to productive outcomes.

Management defines “why” we are solving a given problem. And management owns the culture of their team. I aim to support the creation of bounded autonomy (freedom within boundaries).

This means that I should:

Me as a Resource for You

I believe that decisions should be made as locally as possible. That means that the people closest to the problem should be the ones making the decisions. It allows for a greater sense of ownership for what you build.

As a resource for you, I should be providing you with as much business context as I have, in order for you to make the most informed decisions as possible. I’m happy to bounce ideas off of each other as well. In the worst case, I’m happy to be a tie-breaker for decision points when needed; please give me something to digest so that I can arrive at an informed decision (short design doc, code gist, etc).

Feedback is an essential aspect of a manager’s role. Expect to receive both positive and negative feedback from me.

Commitments from Me to You

I commit to:

Feedback from You to Me

Solving Problems Together

Please start with “what problem are we solving”. I have N problems swirling in my mind at most times. Please be explicit with the problem we are trying to solve together. It’s bad when we solve the wrong problem (i.e. non-existent problem, low priority problem).

I appreciate when I receive trade-offs: given a set of possible solutions, what are the benefits, costs, and mitigations to those costs; how do we “rollback” if this solution does not work.

I will ask “how” quite a bit: how did you reach this conclusion? It is important for all of us to think through problems to understand each other’s viewpoints and reach a decision that is the appropriate solution within our context.

I will suggest different solutions when we solve problems together. It is not my intent to push a solution on you. My intent is to make sure we exhaust the known/easy solution spaces and understand what we’re getting into by picking one or the other.

How I Disagree

It is not a reflection of your character when I disagree. I will disagree with ideas, not with people.

There will be moments when I disagree, and that’s okay. You’ll disagree with me at times too. For most decisions where I disagree, I will probably “disagree but commit”. Meaning, a decision may not be my preferred solution but I commit to helping you achieve it. I favor a very strong sense of ownership for what we build which includes providing you room to succeed, fail, and learn.

I don’t like to “pull rank” and override a decision. I will only do so if a decision would negatively impact a company goal or leave us with technical debt that is extremely costly.

How I Respond Poorly

Please try not to prematurely optimize. You ain’t gonna need it (YAGNI).

Once we’ve made a decision, let’s move forward together. I prefer to revisit a decision only when new and relevant information arises.

When very stressed, I can sound very critical or cold because I get into a “let’s solve this problem without empathy” mode. Please point it out and break me out of that mode. I may need a moment to collect my thoughts and then return to the conversation.

How I Respond Well

I deeply appreciate when we are able to embrace change together. There will be moments when our problem space changes from out of under us (business is hard). There will be times where we feel sunk-cost and I hope that we can run through it together.

I expect more experienced team members to exercise sound judgment. I respond well when you can narrow down problems and provide solutions that account for technical debt, performance, maintainability, and security.

For less experienced team members, I respond well when you have shown that you’ve thought through a given problem. It’s refreshing and automatically engages me when you show that you care about what we’re solving and show rigor in solving a problem.

If you made it this far, then thank you for reading 🎉!