Basic Manager Hygiene

  • Have weekly 1:1s with all your direct reports, don’t skip them
  • Run a tight meeting, keep to an agenda, send out meeting notes and action items
  • Hit quarter level commits 95% of the time, prioritizing external commitments
  • Commitment misses should be on the lowest priority items
  • Be able to “do the math” to rationalize quarter level commits based on team velocity
  • If you’re going to slip, communicate it early, for example 1/3 of the way in to a quarter

Principles

Most of my expectations align to my three personal work principles.

Autonomy

  • Start by demonstrating that the team can reliably hit commitments
  • Expect more autonomy on roadmap after that
  • What will your team choose to do with that velocity?
  • Don’t wait for someone else to tell you the plan
  • Makes sure you have alignment with product stakeholders

Healthy Relationships

  • Know ahead of time if someone on your team is at risk of attrition
  • Flag any attrition risk (including yourself) early; want to know 6 weeks in advance
  • Have a plan for +2 or -2 headcount. Be able to generate alternative roadmaps quickly
  • I expect that stakeholder and direct report 360 feedback will show that people are working well together, have empathy for each other, and are able to resolve conflict themselves
  • Create a safe environment that allows everyone to be their best selves
  • If you’re blocked, especially on alignment with stakeholders, escalate quickly

High Leverage

  • Work on the most important things for the business
  • Make good trade offs between technical and product work
  • Set a vision that gets people excited about and committed to the work
  • You need agreement from stakeholders
  • Don’t wait for a vision, sometimes YOU need to lead here
  • Maximize reliability by mentoring engineers to flex scope, with stakeholder buy-in, in order to hit commitments