Rands in respose

Rands is a engineering manager in the silicon valley. He maintains a blog with great insights about management. Some of his writings were featured in the famous software bloggers book The Best Software Writing I: Selected and Introduced by Joel Spolsky

He wrote two books:

A sample from the “Rands Test” article :

  Let’s start with bare bones versions of the questions and then I’ll explain each one.

  • Do you have a 1:1?
  • Do you have a team meeting?
  • Do you have status reports?
  • Can you say No to your boss?
  • Can you explain the strategy of the company to a stranger?
  • Can you explain the current state of business?
  • Does the guy/gal in charge regularly stand up in front of everyone and tell you what he/she is thinking? Are you buying it?
  • Do you know what you want to do next? Does your boss?
  • Do you have time to be strategic?
  • Are you actively killing the Grapevine?

(Note: While I’ll explain each point from the perspective of a leader or manager, these questions and their explanations apply equally to individuals.) Do you have a consistent 1:1 where you talk about topics other than status? (+1) I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would suggest 1:1s are a bad idea, but the 1:1 is usually the first meeting that gets rescheduled when it hits the fan. I’m of the opinion that when it hits the fan, the last thing you want to do is reschedule 1:1 time with the folks who are likely either responsible for it hitting the fan and/or are the most qualified to figure out how to prevent future fan hittage. Furthermore, as I wrote about in The Update, The Vent, and The Disaster, conveyance of status is not the point of a 1:1; the point is to have a conversation about something of substance. Status can be an introduction, status can frame the conversation, but status is not the point. A healthy 1:1 needs to be strategic, not a rehashing of tactics and status that can easily be found elsewhere. A 1:1 is a weekly investment in the individuals that make up your team. If you’re irregularly doing 1:1s or not making them valuable conversations, all you’re doing is reinforcing the myth that managers are out of touch.

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