# PART I: The Management Quiver
# Don't be a Prick
- Managers are not actually pricks, but they are often mechanical and disconnected
- A great manager is someone who can make a connection regardless of the relative positions in the org chart
- See the people who work with you
- Understanding different needs - chaotic, beautiful snowflakes
- It is your full time job to listen to your people and mentally document how they are built
- Silicon Valley is full of widely successful dictators in spite of being world-class pricks
- Companies are messy and chaotic, constantly shifting.
# Manager Summary
- Where do they come from? Everywhere: engineering, sales, product
- How do they compensate for their blind spots? recognize personal weaknesses
- The job is to figure out how to scale the skills they have.
- Accentuate their strengths; reinforce where they are weak
- Does your manager speak the language?
- How does your manager talk to you?
- How much Action per Decision?
- Does problem definition & discussion lead to action?
- To scale you need to delegate, but pure delegators become irrelevant as they are removed from the loop
- Real work is visible action managers take to support their vision for the organization.
- Does your manager make something happen?
- Where is your Manager in the Political Food Chain?
- What happens when they Lose their Sh!t?
- Behavioural shifts between when things are going great and when they are terrible
- Your manager's success is your success
# Stables & Volatiles
- Launching version 1.0 splits the development team into two groups: Stables and Volatiles
- Stables happily work with direction, appreciate plans, calmly assess risk and mitigate failure, and tend to generate process
- Volatiles have issues with authority, seek a thrill in risk, build a lot but nothing stable or beautiful, aren't reliable, and leave a trail of disruption
- Volatiles turn into Stables by building process and carefully describing how things should be done, because they have the scars and experience
- These new Stables hire people who are familiar, who are predisposed to be Volatiles, which in turn leads to new disruption.
- A Stable's choice of disruption is within the context of the last war, while a second-generation Volatile will remind you "there is no box."
- As a leader, you need to figure out how to let the Volatiles disrupt, while constantly negotiating a temporary peace treaty with the Stables.
# How to Run a Meeting
- 2 people talking => it's a conversation
- 3+ people talking => it's a meeting and needs rules so people know when to talk
- Alignment meetings are regular meetings with tactical communication exchanges
- Creative meetings focus on solving a hard problem
- Agenda: answers the question of how can everyone get out of the meeting so that they can get back to work
- The referee has to make sure the meeting accomplishes the requirements of the agenda and the expectations of the participants
- The referee identifies attendees who aren't engaged
- Anything other than listening is not listening; re-engage these people:
- a question relevant to the current state of the topic
- referee silence
- change the scenery
- Anything other than listening is not listening; re-engage these people:
- let someone ramble who is onto something
- cut a meeting short because progress is blocked
- Listen to stories (incomplete & single POV), map them to your own experience, and ask questions and demand specifics when they trigger your intuition.
# Lost in Translation
- Beginners are not burdened with the complexity and depth; they shine brightly with enthusiasm until The "Fall"
- The first question you want to be able to answer about an employee: "What does this person want?"
- Start with WHERE they want to be, then focus on HOW to move them there
- If you feel communication is suspect: clarify.
- You make a statement that might be ambiguous => ask "What did you hear?"
- You listen and the topic or intent isn't abundantly clear => restate "Okay, what I heard was..."
- Agenda Detection
- Informational Meeting: talkers and listeners; there is no problem to be solved other than the transmission of information
- Conflict Resolution Meeting: some problem needs to be solved, and agenda detection is more complex
- Players want something from the meeting; Pawns are components of the meeting
- If you can't identify any Players, the meeting is doomed - get out!
# Information Starvation
- For each piece of information you encounter, you must correctly determine who on your team needs that information to do their job.
- Gossip: (1) what is actually being said; (2) what informational gap is being filled by this gossip.
- Biggest loss of essential information is when managers rely on their brains as to-do lists.
- Your team is always going to tell you what they need to know. Employ some aggressive silence to bring it out of them.
# You're Not Listening
- The most basic rule of listening is: If they don't trust you, then they aren't going to say anything.
- Eye contact is the easiest way to demonstrate your full attention, and it's also the easiest way to destroy it.
- Keep asking stupid questions based on whatever topics until you find an answer where the other person lights up
- To stop on a point, repeat their last sentence by saying "What I hear you saying is..." and repeat your version of their thought.
- When you can't find the question, segue, or words to bring out what the other person wants to say, disrupt the conversation with silence.
# Saying No
- When the team no longer questions the decisions of a manager, that manager feels like his decisions are always correct, which is statistically impossible.
- Saying no forces an idea to defend itself with facts, and for your manager to stop and think.
- Saying no is saying "stop"; when everyone thrives on movement, the ability to strategically choose when to stop is a sign of a manager willing to defy convention.
- Don't be paralyzed by the fact that you're one big, bad decision from being out of a job. Embrace the confidence of being "the boss."
- You are responsible for making great decisions, and the best way to do that is to involve as much of your team as possible in those decisions.
- By including your team in the decision process and creating an environment where they can say no, you're creating trust.
# PART II: The Process is the Product
# The Process Myth
- Engineers don't hate process. They hate process that can't be defended
- Don't create or defend process created as a means of control. Focus on building documentation of culture and values for the next employee
- HR is good at defining process and bad at explaining the culture. Process should be written by those who are also experts in the culture
- When cultural bellwethers leave, so does their cultural context and understanding of the root pain that defined all the bullet items in formal processes
- A healthy process is required to stand up to scrutiny, and when a process fails to do so, it must change.
# How to Start
- 3 phases of starting:
- worrying about starting
- preparing to begin
- you've begun
- Stress is a creativity buzz kill. When you're stressed, you're in survival mode, but elegant solutions require offense
- Mornings have the gift of optimism because nothing has screwed up your day yet
- Evenings are dark, repetitive reminders that no matter what you do, time is going to pass and you've likely wasted some of it
- Mornings allow you to flex the creative side of your brain; evenings, when you're tired, allow you to flex the logical side
- A hard thing is never done by reading a book or an article about doing it; a hard thing is done by figuring out how to start
# Taking Time to Think
- Schedule a brainstorm meeting and a prototype meeting in the same week, so that no one forgets everything over the weekend
- Assuming you have an idea of what to talk about, invite those with an educated opinion; otherwise invite people chosen at random
- Avoid inviting "obstructionists" who map every new idea against previous experience and then declare the idea "unoriginal"
- Leave the first meeting with five hot topics that people want to address. Create prototypes, wireframes, etc. in the second meeting
- Red flags as weeks pass are constantly revisiting decisions, the same list of attendees, people venting for too long, and the to-do list always growing
- These meetings will slowly die off as you move from design to development. In general, questions should be getting answered, not created
# Hacking is Important
- Hacking creates new things which is a disruptive act, which scares the reasonable people who represent the majority.
- Those who are responsible for maintaining and building on success will not understand why hacking is important.
- A healthy product company is a contradiction: it seeks normality and predictability but must also build something new to disrupt the desired consistency.
# Entropy Crushers
- A project manager is responsible for shipping a product
- A product manager is responsible for making sure the right product is shipped
- A program manager is a combination of both that handles multiple interrelated projects, such as an operating system.
- Each new person on your team increases the cost of communication of ideas, making decisions, and detecting and fixing errors.
- If you're a full-time engineering manager of growing team, but you're also serving as a project manager, then you're half-assing one of those jobs
- A good project manager will measure, control, and crush entropy. They own execution of the machine ensuring that everything gets done.
- A good engineering manager will promote entropy in strategic areas and ignore others. The challenge is differentiating them.
# PART III: Versions of You
# Bored People Quit
- Boredom is not initially catastrophic. It shows up quietly and appears to pose no immediate threat, making it both easy to address and easy to ignore.
- To detect boredom, look for changes in daily routines, ask if they are bored, or they'll tell you and you just listen
- Every second someone is bored, a second passes on an internal clock, and after some amount of time they give up and quit
- For each person on your team you must be able to answer:
- Where are they going?
- What am I doing to get them there?
- If someone doesn't have a project that makes them light up, let them experiment. Your job isn't just building product, but building people.
- Share the crummy work fairly. Be aware of who's doing it, communicate that you're aware, and tell them when they're going to be done.
- Promising productive and creative time that is only taken away by urgent tasks only accelerates the boredom clock.
- Remove daily distractions that pull people away from their work. These are more costly than they appear from the overhead of context switching