Good process is evolved, not designed.

January 1, 2019. Filed under management 101

Time management is an ongoing challenge for managers: so much to do, so little time. The early-career manager, learning to balance being pulled in so many directions, is a sympathetic figure. Empathy for senior managers, dashing between back-to-back meetings and five minutes late to each, can be hader to summon.

Defining policy, process and programs.

December 30, 2018. Filed under management 101

I'm working on a presentation for the SFELC Summit 2019 on the topic of designing effective process. There is so much worth saying here that I initially had some trouble narrowing it down. I think the best piece I've written on this topic is "Work the policy, not the exception", but hey, that's about policy not process.

Infrastructure planning: users, baselines and timeframes.

December 9, 2018. Filed under management 101infrastructure 34

Technical infrastructure is never complete. System processes can always run with less overhead or be bin-packed onto fewer machines. Data can be retrieved more quickly and stored at a cheaper cost per terabyte. System design can broaden the gap between failure and user impact. Transport layers can be more secure.

Headcount dilemmas.

November 15, 2018. Filed under management 101

When I was four, I won a cake walk. For thoes who haven't partaken, a cake walk is when a group of folks walk around a path on the floor, and then stop when they are told to stop. Whether you win or lose a cake is entirely out of your hands, it's a matter of timing and position, both of which are out of your control. I've been reflecting lately on the forces which make headcount planning--really just a specialized form of resource allocation--difficult, and perhaps sthe cake walk has something to teach us.

Talent distributions.

November 4, 2018. Filed under management 101

When I was applying to college some years ago, one of my teachers asked me if I thought I would regret not applying to more prestigious schools, making the observation that it's not whether the professors will be good--professors are good everywhere--but the quality of the student body. Would I learn from my peers? I hadn't thought of that conversation in a decade, but it floated up through the layers of memory recently when someone asked why I originally joined Stripe.