MANAGER.README

Matthew Butch
Director of Digital Systems
DTLR Villa
Last Updated: June 2018

Introduction

What is this?

Just like there is documentation for applications, this is documentation on me and how I manage you. This document will be a standard I will meet and one you can hold me accountable too. I believe it will allow us to work together more effectively and remove barriers towards that.

This is also a constant work in progress, as it helps me identify my thoughts and values. It was created with 20 years of working as an employee and as a manager, and with the help of other manager READMEs (see Links below), and will be updated as I learn more. I also expect you will have feedback and suggestions on changes to it.

Disclaimer

This only applies to me and my employees, and nobody else here.

This not a replacement for face-to-face communication.

Management

My Role in Brief

In my role here, I hold myself accountable to:

  • Providing functional, secure, fast, and reliable sites for the company
  • Default to saying yes for requests, but if its no, explaining the tradeoffs or inability to meet the request
  • Providing a responsive and friendly team to internal and external people
  • Finding new and innovate ways to stay ahead of the competition
  • Raising concerns about potential or current issues
  • Learning new skills and knowledge
  • Foster a culture of passion and fun
  • Attracting, retaining, and growing high performing individual and teams
  • Taking care of my employees, by:
    • listening regardless of how busy I am
    • discussing cordially but critically on topics
    • enabling autonomy
    • removing obstacles
    • finding answers
    • pitching in
    • providing business context
    • keeping information flowing
    • mentoring them toward meeting and creating career goals

Your Role in Brief

In your role here, I hold you accountable to:

  • Providing functional, secure, fast, and reliable sites for the company
  • Default to saying yes for requests, but explaining the tradeoffs or inability to meet the request
  • Providing a responsive and friendly face to internal and external people
  • Finding new and innovate ways to stay ahead of the competition
  • Raising concerns about potential or current issues
  • Learning new skills and knowledge
  • Foster a culture of passion and fun
  • Taking care of other employees, by:
    • discussing cordially but critically on topics
    • removing obstacles
    • enabling autonomy
    • finding answers
    • pitching in
    • providing business context
    • keeping information flowing
    • mentoring them toward meeting and creating career goals

Yes the are very similar for a reason. I expect nothing from you I do not expect from myself.

One line is bolded because I believe is a major part of my job to help you in your career. I'll do my best to provide growth and learning opportunities. You should do your best to seize them, or ask me for more. I will provide feedback and offer assistance, but you'll need to let me know your goals and priorities.

My values

These are reasons for the above.

  • I strongly believe in respecting everybody, as we humans are deserving of that from each other. Providing excellent customer service to everybody is part of that. That includes tone of voice, body language, and level of attention. It also includes followup when an answer is unknown.
  • I strongly believe in providing excellent quality of work and having pride in that work. This is more than the final product. This includes communication and completing within a reasonable time.
  • I strongly believe in honesty, transparency, and candor. I believe knowing what happened, what's happening, and what will happen are extremely important. We learn from the past and present, to improve the future.
  • I strongly believe in collaboration. This includes providing excellent feedback and ideas. We cannot get better if we are not informed of what we are doing well and what we are doing poorly. We should never take it personally.
  • I strongly believe we are an alliance of equals. The goal is to work together, add value to each other, and help each other to be successful. I don't see myself as above you.
  • I strongly believe in critically thinking. We shouldn't do something because "we've always done it this way." We should evaluate every problem and solution critically and determine the best solution, even if its different or harder.
  • I strongly believe in constantly improving oneself and deep self reflection. This goes with the many of the above. I'm constantly reflecting on what I've done and constantly finding ways to get better.

My Assumptions

  • You are very good at your job. You wouldn't be here if you weren't. If it feels like I'm questioning you, its because I'm either trying to gather context and understanding, or I'm trying to make sure you have context and understanding. I will challenge you only so we can come to the best possible solution.
  • I'm probably not very good at your job. You probably understand better than I do, even if I understand a bit. I will rely on your expertise or advice on decisions.

Talking to you

  • I will never lie to you. If I screw up, I will let you know.
  • The company may require me to keep something from you, and I will honor that. But this will never override the above.
  • I will try to tell you everything when I know it and when I'm allowed to. I will be transparent and frank I will never intentionally keep something from you
  • I will give you honest and actionable feedback. You should never be surprised to hear negative feedback during a performance review.
  • I will never call you out in front of other people. I will take those concerns and meet with you privately.
  • I will adjust to your personality style, as I strongly believe its my job to adjust

Talking to me

  • Please do not lie to me. If you screwed up, please admit it, and as soon as you know. The sooner you tell me - especially if you broke something and I don't know you - they better off you will be. I don't blame people for occasional mistakes, but I do expect they admit and take responsibility for them. Technical mistakes can always be fixed, trust mistakes may never be fixed. Earnest mistakes are learning opportunities, but covering mistakes breaks that.
  • Any method you prefer is fine by me.
  • I'm always available and I mean that. Please contact me any time you want. I am never too busy to talk, whether it be for professional or personal reasons.
  • You can ask me anything. Almost always I will answer you, or find an answer. Sometimes for company reasons I cannot, but I will tell you that too.
  • Never be afraid to tell me I'm wrong, correct me, or give me feedback. Sometimes I screw up and don't realize it. And I'm not always right, but I want to be. If you can make me right, that makes me happy. Either way, debating is a good way to hone skills and improve us both. Please do it.
  • Seriously, never hesitate to tell me anything. I will never retaliate or be upset for anything you feel like you need to say. I will find a way to help if I can. We may disagree, but that should never be taken personally. You are doing me a huge favor by raising issues that are impeding your job.
  • Every three months, I will schedule a 1-on-1 meeting so you have time to talk to me. We will talk about whatever you want to, but I may have some prompting questions. We may mutually decide to increase or decrease that frequency, but I tend to believe more than monthly is not fruitful except in extreme circumstances.

Talking to others

IGNORING COMMUNICATION IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE - The time frame in responding varies, but never ignore somebody. Its unprofessional and rude.

During the work day:

  • Email: You are expected to reply within a few hours
  • Slack: You are expected to reply within an hour to a direct mention, otherwise a few hours
  • Text: You are expected to reply within a half hour
  • Phone: You are expected to answer, or replied ASAP (if you cannot talk) because its urgent

After the work day and weekends (when not on call):

  • Email: You are expected to reply the next business day
  • Slack: You are expected to reply the next business day
  • Text: You are expected to reply within a few hours
  • Phone: You are expected to answer, or replied ASAP (if you cannot talk), because its urgent

You will get a lot of feedback from others. Most will be good, some won't be. Please think about each piece critically and decide whether to act on it, and if you do, how to act on it.

Work hours

  • We aim for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Sometimes its more, sometimes its less. We often have product releases, updates, or maintenance that may require a few extra hours on weekends. Those hours can be made up other times.
  • I believe we are paying you for your knowledge, not your time. I am not picky about working an exact amount of hours.
  • I believe that after work hours should be your time, and we all should attempt to reduce after hours work.
  • I am liberal about working from home. We all have issues in our lives that arise. And sometimes we just need a quiet environment to work. My only requirement is you let me know that you are working from home, and you send me a calendar invite so I remember.
  • I am liberal about vacation time. We all have lives outside of work and we all need time off. I highly encourage taking time away to recharge. In fact, if I made the policy, everybody would get 30 days off per year. My only requirement is you fill out the paperwork, and you send me a calendar invite so I remember.

Your time and your work

  • You own your work. By this I mean you are responsible for it, from assigment/creation to completion.
  • You should plan out your day, week, month, and beyond. Proper time management is essential. Your plan should mean company goals, team goals, and your goals in that order.
  • I am not a micromanager. I let you plan out your time. But I will ask about it, and may adjust, add, or remove priorities.
  • You can work on "unapproved" projects or ideas in order to present them to me, but they shouldn't be the build of your work (<10% a week). I love new ideas and demonstrations, but they shouldn't come at the expense of day-to-day work or company/team goals.
  • We have a weekly meeting- come prepared to discuss topics, what you are working on, and what you will work on.

Meetings

Meetings can be useful, but far too often they are wastes of time. I schedule meetings with a purpose. Often I will provide an agenda, but you are free to add to it.

During meetings, let's try to stay focused on the purpose and the agenda. An occasional sidebar is okay, but they shouldn't happen often or drag on. Anybody is free to discuss during meetings- that's why they are there. Try not to do other work during a meeting. If you find yourself not being useful to a meeting, let me know. You shouldn't have to be there.

If a meeting is going to run longer that the time allotted, we should end the meeting at a good stopping point and re-engage another time. Meetings that are too long end up being unproductive, as people's minds get tired.

If we skip a scheduled meeting often, then I will cancel the meeting, as its clear its not needed.

Personal Quirks

  • I always believe I'm right
  • I will always challenge ideas
  • I tend to forgot
  • I'm picky and particular
  • I'm stubborn

Miscellaneous

About Me Professionally

  • Been working in technology since 2000
  • Started out as a tech support specialist, then became a system engineer, then a web system engineer, and now a manager
  • I've done a lot in my career, from printer repair to major hardware upgrades
  • I've used a plethora of technologies
  • I've made notes about every manager I've ever had

About Me Personally

  • I live in Coatesville, PA with my wife, two kids (one who is a Make-A-Wish child), and one cat
  • I love all things Apple (though they are not perfect)
  • I'm a gamer and own a NES, Genesis, Wii, Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One. I own more games than I can count.
  • I'm a massive Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, Villanova and general sports fan
  • I love to talk about politics, though never at work

Links

This document was created with the help of other amazing managers READMEs. Here are theirs: