Time management: the leadership meta-problem.

August 27, 2018. Filed under management 89

When you sit down for coffee with a manager, you can probably guess the biggest challenge on their mind: time management. Sure, time management isn't _always_ everyone's biggest challenge, but once the crises of the day recede, it comes to the fore.

Problem exploration, selection and validation.

August 20, 2018. Filed under management 89product 5

Most engineering organizations separate engineering and product leadership into distinct roles. This is usually ideal, not only because these roles benefit on distinct skills, but also because they thrive from different perspectives and priorities. It's quite hard to do both well at the same time. This post takes a look at my high-level approach to product management for when you do happen to find yourself wearing both hats.

Introducing SREs, TPMs and other specialized roles.

August 13, 2018. Filed under management 89

Folks are sometimes surprised to learn that I started out working as a frontend engineer. I'd like to imagine it's because I'm so terribly knowledgeable about infrastructure, but I suspect it's mostly grounded in my unconscionably poor design aesthetic. Something that has stuck with me from that experience was feeling treated as a second-tier engineer: folks were unwilling to do any frontend work, but were careful to categorize it as trivial.

Career levels, designation momentum, etc.

August 11, 2018. Filed under management 89

Building on the framework in "Designations, levels and calibrations", I wanted to discuss a number of special topics related to designing and running performance systems. These topics are particularly interesting to me because they tend to be the emergent, accidental properties that emerge from common performance management systems and behaviors. Because they're accidental, they surprise many managers early in their careers, and surprise is the cardinal sin of performance management.

Designations, levels and calibrations.

August 10, 2018. Filed under management 89

One of the core responsibilities of management is selecting who to elevate as a role model, who to recognize as excellent, and who to ask to leave. At smaller companies, these decisions tend to be fairly ad-hoc, and over time they solidify into a formal performance management system. Many managers try to engage with these systems as little as possible, which I think is a shame. If you want to shape your company's culture, inclusion or performance, this is your most valuable entry point.