Guiding critical projects without micromanaging

#47 – July 26, 2021

this week's favorite

I’m a big believer in flexibility as a senior manager. I do not think I know or even can know the exact way to run any given team in my organization. The magic of effective teams is a combination of the personalities involved, the project lifecycle they’re in, and so many other factors.

As more people begin to feel safe to travel, visit family and take extended time off, you’ll begin to receive more out-of-office auto-responses from coworkers whom you really need to talk to ASAP. For many people, this past year was incredibly challenging and traumatizing. Your colleagues genuinely need true time off. That means no emergency calls, no surprise meetings and no returning from their vacation to an enormous pile of work.

“I am speaking to you as I always have — as the sober and serious man I have always wanted you to be, who does not apologize for his human feelings, who does not make excuses for his height, his long arms, his beautiful smile. You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable. None of that can change the math anyway. I never wanted you to be twice as good as them, so much as I have always wanted you to attack every day of your brief bright life in struggle. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world.” — Ta-Nehisi Coates, National Book Award–winning author*

Everyone has some topic around which they organize all their thinking, and Jeff’s, I’d say, is somewhere around the product, its impact on customers, its success, its influence on company success, and like that. I’m sure he could put it better: he puts everything better.

We all want to be more productive.But is productivity all we need to create high-quality software products? What about efficiency? Is being productive the same as being efficient? What does efficiency measure that productivity doesn’t? And how exactly can you define the right metrics to make meaningful improvements?