Management best practices

A list of 20 things

Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito [Public domain]
  1. Value focus. Similarly, value long-term ownership. Quality and invention stem from long planning horizons.
  2. Research and reuse successful work and management practices from other fields. For example, software engineering practices (e.g. code reviews, version control) have had decades to evolve.
  3. Give promotions without being asked — this is the most cost-effective approach when compared with the alternatives.
  4. Understand that promotions and shoutouts are an implicit announcement of your values; use these levers to incentivize towards those values. Be wary that without transparency into your decision-making logic, these actions could backfire, signaling your incompetence in the assessment of contributions.
  5. Ensure that a higher salary is correlated with more scope, responsibility, and accountability.
  6. Be consistent and predictable in your actions and reactions. This builds confidence in your judgement. Consistency and predictability are byproducts of patience.
  7. Give credit where it’s due; encourage everyone to do the same. This inspires teamwork.
  8. Encourage collaboration and never be the source of division. Teams outperform individuals.
  9. Delegate and ensure effective division of tasks. Delegation frees up your time for projects that are uniquely your responsibilities. Effective division of tasks, such that they form a partition with respect to the team, increases efficiency and prevents conflicts.
  10. Take notes and make sure to express yourself clearly and with detail. Details matter at every level of management.
  11. Investigate, take steps, and communicate progress towards removing conflicts and obstacles. Inaction or unclear actions erodes efficiency.
  12. Review and change processes and tools, not people. Often conflicts and obstacles are the outcome of imperfect organizational process or tooling rather than low individual performance. Don’t make it personal.
  13. Maintain your calm when under pressure; it’s easy to mistake your behavior as frustrations with something a team member has done.
  14. Treat every person with the utmost respect, every day. Never talk down.
  15. Hire and don’t be intimidated by people more knowledgeable than yourself — they worked hard to get here and they make you look good.
  16. Appreciate everyone’s expertise and point-of-view and allow your mind to be changed. The elusive business-saving innovation can come from anyone — create repeatable processes that allow for the incorporation and implementation of those ideas. This is the more cost-effective approach when compared with the alternatives.
  17. Don’t assign work to members of another team who are not your cross-functional partners. The time savings are inevitably negated by the inefficient allocation of projects.
  18. Don’t set artificial deadlines as they are demotivating. Externally, negotiate deadlines with stakeholders only after input from the team. Be a good representative, respect the craft.
  19. Understand company strategy and follow its evolution. It is your responsibility to manage the relevance of the team’s roadmap and keep your team up-to-date about changing goals.
  20. Challenge assumptions and push towards solutions that lead to wins for both the business and the customers, both today and in the long run. Believe that people can achieve great things and let them know; the results will continually surprise you.

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