How I like to work (as a manager)

1. Why this Document?

This document is an effort to explain my role, my values, my expectations and finally my quirks as a manager.

It's important to keep in mind that this is a live document and, as such, this will change with time. Often I won't be able to live up to these values and ideas, but it's alright, we all make mistakes. Hopefully, two things can emerge when that happens:

  1. I will learn from my failure.
  2. You will be comfortable to hold me accountable and keep me honest.

2. My Role

I have two main focus: the business and the team.

From the business perspective:

  • Making sure we are aligned with the business goals and working towards those as efficiently as we can.
  • Making sure we're working on the right things at the right time.
  • Representing the team, and the business both internally and externally.
  • Assist non-technical people interacting with engineers.
  • Hire great people.

From the team perspective:

  • Help you achieve your goals.
  • Support you in your personal development via coaching.
  • Help you understand the context, the "why" and the wider picture of the work we are doing.
  • Create bridges between you and the other teams.
  • Give you direct and honest feedback be it positive or negative.
  • Make you feel fulfilled in your role.

3. My values

  • transparencyI will never withhold information that impacts you or your work, by making sure you are in the loop. This is tightly related to how we communicate inside and outside the team. The best way for me to be aware of how and what you are doing is for you to show it to me, either directly by grabbing me for a coffee, or indirectly via a Pull Request or Jira Ticket. Bottom line: I prefer you to push information to me, instead of me pulling it from you.
  • honestyIndependently of being positive or negative feedback, I will be 100% honest with you about anything. Failures should be analysed, reviewed and serve as a lesson, while success should be cheered and celebrated. The same goes in the opposite direction: I like to think I am a logical person, so I will take negative feedback as constructive criticism, from which I can learn. If I do something good, let me know as well. :)
  • accountability and ownershipif you are part of my team, I intrinsically trust you, without any reservation. As such, when you are in charge of a feature I expect you to own it, not only from a technical point of view but also understand the whys, the whats and the whens. You become the CEO of that feature. As such, when you succeed I will make sure everyone knows about it. When you fail, I expect you to understand why it happened, learn from it and persevere.
  • empathyAssume that the other person did the best they could possibly do in the given situation. A lot of time, when reviewing each other's workwe lack the full context, which leads to knee-jerk reactionsThis is something I am working on and still have a lot to learn.

4. My expectations

  • I expect you to deliver on time and uphold our standards, but sometimes bad things happen. I hope, when that happens, for you to be honest with me about it. It's easy to mitigate a bad situation when you see it coming. It makes my life difficult if failure is just around the corner and I just got to know about it. You can also expect that I will never commit to something that I know we as a team can't deliver.
  • Be comfortable to grab me at any point and have a conversation with me, no matter the topic or the time. If you are blocked or something is bothering for whatever reason, let me know as soon as possible and I will make you my priority. Ultimately, I serve you. My success is the sum of your success and the team's success. This dictates if I have done a good job or not.
  • Work life balance is important, sometimes I have trouble making the separation. Please tell me if I am bothering you outside working hours, or feel free to not reply and ignore me.
  • I expect you to keep learning and be ambitious about your self development. I like to think I provide the tools, the budget and the time for you to learn new things and improve your knowledge. If you need guidance on what you should focus on next, I will do my best to direct you to the right place or person.
  • During technical conversations, I like when people disagree with me. The best solutions come from a healthy level of debate. I will challenge your ideas with the goal of coming to the best possible solution, I hope you will challenge me back.
  • I don't care at what time or where you work. On the other hand, I do care that you attend the meetings you have accepted, be available for your team and deliver on what's agreed.

5. Quirks

  • Sometimes I can feel cold, or blunt, until I have built a relationship with you. This is due to a combination of my writing style, curious mindset, a tendency to challenge assumptions and my own playful personality. Because of this I can come across as not caring or not being empathetic. It's never my intention to make you feel that way.
  • My writing style can sometimes feel drier than what I meant. For sensitive topics (or crucial conversations), we should definitely default to a call, or a F2F conversation.
  • I am curious by nature. I will ask lots of questions to try to understand a subject, approach, or process. Some people have found that I can feel confrontational, because I am probing so much. I assure you that's never my intention.
  • I am opinionated and passionate about what I do, this can lead to heated debates. For the most of the time, my focus is the outcome. In a few rare circumstances, my focus shifts to trying to be right (rather than the end goal). Please alert me when this happens.

Thank you for taking the time to read this document! 🙇