Issue #275, 2nd March 2018

This Week's Favorite


The Indispensable Document for the Modern Manager
16 minutes read.

People who know me know that I'm a big fan of writing things down. It allows sharing it with ease with others and iterating on it over time. People believe that inertia can lead to building trust: "Do more 1:1s, you'll get there" they say. But no one really teaches us how to communicate effectively, to get people motivated, to have hard conversations. Writing things down helps you open up. If you're a manager in your organization, try following Jay Desai's advice.

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Culture


When You're an Architect but You're Also Learning CSS
1 minutes read.

My humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face.

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The Software Engineering Job Ladder
11 minutes read.

An incredible resource by Chuck Groom to help you define the Career Ladder in your company for Software Engineers. This one is critical when you have that ladder in place: "Promote people who are already functioning at the next level. If a level-2 engineer wants a promotion, they should demonstrate they are doing level-3 work. It’s your job as a manager to give them projects where they can cut their teeth (and land gracefully if they’re not quite ready)."

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Why I Quit Google to Work for Myself
10 minutes read.

Every performance evaluation system converges to a game, no matter the intentions when it started: "I drastically reduced the time developers spent repairing those failures, but there were no metrics that tracked developer time... Now that I understood how the process worked, I could keep doing the same good work, just with better record-keeping... Well, Google kept telling me that it couldn’t judge my work until it saw me complete a project. Meanwhile, I couldn’t complete any projects because Google kept interrupting them midway through and assigning me new ones."

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Plan a Better Meeting With Design Thinking
4 minutes read.

"We recommend that you ask yourself: If this meeting is wildly successful, what will people feel, know, and do as a result? Include these desired outcomes in your agenda, so that participants know why they’re attending and can gauge with you whether or not the time has been productive." -- This post should be shared with everyone in your company. Meetings cost a lot of money, optimize each and every one of them.

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Peopleware


The Hard Thing About Hard Things: When a Manager Decides to Quit
8 minutes read.

Dennis Nerush shares his story quitting his job as an Engineering Manager. Saying goodbye to people you worked with is really hard - These are people you care about. I'd follow Dennis's advice on putting it all on the table, working a plan to reduce the negative impact and giving it enough time (if needed).

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Where Do You Most Often Come Across Interesting Ideas—especially Weird or Surprising Ones? (Thread)
5 minutes read.

Inspiring thread with where you should look for ideas based on Patrick Collison's (Stripe CEO) question. Obviously, the winner response is: "based on the replies in this thread, Twitter."

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Second-Order Thinking: What Smart People Use to Outperform
4 minutes read.

"Second-order thinkers take into account ... Things like: What is the range of possible outcomes? What’s the probability I’m right? What’s the follow-on? How could I be wrong?" -- This is something I work with many of my teammates, helping them run a decision tree in their mind, taking them back and forth into what each diversion would lead to, and which Plan B and Plan C they can throw at it.

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Inspiring Tweets


@farnamstreet: In Most Organizations, Outcomes Are Secondary to Optics, So the First Priority of the Manager Is to Avoid Being Blamed for Anything Bad. While They Generally Care About the Success of the Firm, They Care About Optics More.

@jaltma: You Can’t Expect Employees to Act Like Owners if You Don’t Give Them Control and Transparency

- Oren

P.S. Can you share this email? I'd love for more people to experiment and improve their company's culture.

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