Motivation for this document
- This is my Manager README (https://managerreadme.com), a document that helps introduce you to my management style, philosophy, and expectations. The intended audience is primarily anyone who reports in to me, though anyone is free to read it – or even provide feedback on it! Please treat it as a reference and promise on how I will conduct myself as a manager, and what I expect from you.
- I urge you to hold me accountable to my promises, and to call out anything that might be missing from this document. Without your guidance, I will not be able to improve as a manager.
What do I value most?
- I love when engineers hold each other accountable – and me! If you see things that don’t make sense, call it. It may be optimized for the wrong thing (e.g. losing focus on the project), challenging the user experience or the proposed architecture. Be kind, be constructive, but never hold back.
- Transparent communication and a good discussion. I get energy from a good discussion and I value if you stand you ground with good arguments while being open for new input. The goal for any discussion is to find the solution all can agree to, or at least align on the various nuances and end up with a “disagree and commit” solution.
What you can expect of me as your manager?
- Be there for you. If you need to talk, ask a question, or raise an issue, know that I am here to listen first. Then, depending on what you need, I can act. But sometimes, just listening is all that is needed – and I promise to start there.
- Provide perspective. Part of my job is to translate the goals of the company and strategy into goals for our teams, as well as work across other departments to understand their goals. I will do my best to provide you with the context you need to do your job.
- Motivate and Support. We will work together to set a path that motivates you, and if you struggle, I will be there to support you.
- Work alongside you. I will be writing code, setting goals, reviewing PRs, and troubleshooting issues whenever possible.
- Clear, gentle, honest communication. I promise not to leave you guessing what I “really” think or expect you to read between the lines of what I’m saying. If it’s not clear, and you have a nagging feeling, let me know so I can fix it! It’s not intentional.
What I expect of you
- We’ll have a 1:1 at least every month (see below), however, if you want to connect to go over additional items, feel free message me up on Teams at any time.
- You will reach out to me as soon as possible if you are ill, in need of a off-day or for vacation requests, so we together can find the best way to work around it and inform the rest of the team. SMS, WhatsApp, or Teams – whatever suits you the best, works for me.
- I expect you to operate with a full ownership. You are in my team because of your experience and skills, and I am not here to tell you how to do your job. I believe you are able to operate as a professional, and make smart decisions. I am here to provide you guidance and mentorship. When you need help, I expect you to not hesitate and ask for it.
- 1:1 meetings are designed to give you a dedicated time and place to ask anything and everything
- I encourage you to bring an agenda, list of questions, topics, etc.
- Hopefully we talk about things you wouldn’t otherwise bring up in a group setting. I want our 1:1 to be a safe place; if this isn’t the case please tell my boss.
- We will go through your agenda first and if time permits I will always have some questions. First and foremost these meetings are for you.
- I’m not a coach, but I’m coaching leader using my context to help you – I will attempt to use the GROW model:
- Goal (Establish the goals)
- Reality (Examine the current reality)
- Options (Explore the options)
- Way forward (Establish the next steps)
- The goal of our 1:1s are also to ensure that you and I are align on the priorities and to keep you grounded and focused during periods with many high priority tasks and people pulling you in different directions.
- Urgent matters should not wait for a 1:1.
- I strive to prioritize my time in the following way:
- 1) My own wellbeing (“Put your own oxygen mask on first”)
- 2) Wellbeing and happiness of my peers and direct reports
- 3) Find and build missing competences in my teams (hires, education etc.)
- 4) Strengthen and optimize interfaces and flows with and within my teams
- 5) Strategic projects to secure the future (architecture, tech debt, AI etc.)
- I’m pragmatic about employments. Life happens and opportunities arise, and once in a while you need to take them. If possible, be transparent so we can consider the options together. I view an employment as a package of the required working hours, flexibility in the work, salary and benefits, commute, retirement funds, insurance, competency building, exciting assignments and the relationship with you manager and peers. Consider them all and I trust you will make the right choice.
- I believe that the first milestone should never be set above 80% of the perfect solution. The last percentages are increasingly more expensive. When hitting 80%, we are much more knowledgeable and can take a decision whether the last 20% is worth it, or whether other tasks are more important. Don’t get me wrong, I love perfect and we should strive to be, however, I also believe it needs to be a conscious choice whether it is worth it.
- PowerPoint is for presentations, not for persisting information.
- Failures are good and necessary in order to learn and grow. Failures are good as long as you don’t do them intentional, you do take them serious if they happen and you learn from them.
- If I am not available/presence and you need me, message me. High priority use SMS, other requests use Teams. Include some context on why or what you need me to do and I’ll make sure to get back to you as soon as possible.
- I’m a dad and I prioritize my two kids highly – I do have them part time, so every other week, I will work less (as little work before 9am and between 3pm and 8pm as possible) and/or more from home and compensate the other.
- I work a bit on the weekends and/or evenings. This is my choice. I do not expect that you are going to work odd-hours. I might send you a message or email, but unless the thing says URGENT, it can always wait until work begins for you on the next working day. I’ll treat your messages the same.
- When you ask “do you have 5 minutes?” in Teams or email, please add the topic you’d like to discuss, it allows me a little time to prepare and assess how urgent it is – also we’re biased for bad news and I’m not different.
- I am a believer in “no broken windows” when building products: I like clean logs, clean exceptions, clean PagerDuty. Once things go south here it’s very hard to truly understand the health of the system.
- I practice and encourage the Boy Scouts rule. Always leave the code/documentation/etc you are working with a little better than you found it.
- I strive to work smarter, not harder, so any efficiency boosts or time-saving tricks are also right up my alley.
- When I struggle with managing my time and priorities, I might not get back to you quickly enough. It’s not out of bad will, so don’t hold back on pinging me for an answer..
- I love bullet lists…
- My DiSC profile is SC.
- My Enneagram type is 9.