The Manager's Guide – #66
Weekly Summary Edition
📊 The common belief that younger workers predominantly drive the demand for remote work is misleading, as age is not the main factor in remote work preferences.
🌍 A significant change in remote work patterns occurred in the United States between 2019 and 2021, with the number of people working primarily from home tripling.
🤔 Despite common perceptions, individuals aged 30 to 39 show the strongest preference for remote work, while those under 20 and over 60 have lower preferences.
💼 Different professions have varying preferences for remote workdays, with consulting, IT, and technology sectors favoring more remote work than traditional onsite roles like healthcare and manufacturing.
🚀 As people progress in their careers, their work expectations evolve, with younger employees seeking clear guidance and older employees valuing autonomy and decision-making freedom.
📈 Crafting an effective remote work strategy should focus on individual preferences and role-specific needs rather than relying on age or generational stereotypes.
🌐 Employers who adapt to evolving work preferences and offer flexible arrangements can attract and retain top talent, as employee priorities and needs are diverse and extend beyond generational lines.
Or, Eleven things we have learned as Site Reliability Engineers at Google
🌐 Google's early datacenters and server management practices have evolved dramatically over two decades.
🔄 The significance of matching the riskiness of a mitigation strategy to the severity of an outage was highlighted during a YouTube incident.
🧪 Emphasizing the importance of fully testing recovery mechanisms before an emergency.
🐦 The necessity of canarying changes, learned from a YouTube caching configuration change incident.
🔴 The concept of a “Big Red Button” as an emergency failsafe was illustrated by Google Calendar's experience.
🔍 The need for comprehensive integration testing, in addition to unit tests, was demonstrated during a Google Calendar outage.
📡 Developing non-dependent backup communication channels is crucial, as seen during a widespread Google service outage.
📉 Introducing intentionally degraded performance modes for consistent user experiences.
🛡️ The importance of disaster resilience and recovery testing.
⚙️ Automating mitigations to reduce mean time to resolution (MTTR), learned from a network failure incident.
🚀 Reducing time between rollouts to decrease the likelihood of errors, as seen in a payments system outage.
📊 The risk of relying on a single global hardware version, highlighted by a network device bug causing a regional outage.
Productivity by Sam Altman (2018)
I think I am at least somewhat more productive than average, and people sometimes ask me for productivity tips. So I decided to just write them all down in one place.
💡 Compound growth applies to careers too, not just finances. Small productivity gains over time can lead to significant outcomes.
🧭 Choosing the right work direction is crucial. Speed is irrelevant if moving in a worthless direction.
🤔 Independent thought and strong beliefs are important. Avoid always agreeing with the last person you spoke to.
🌲 Taking time to think about what to work on is essential. Use methods like reading, interacting with inspiring people, and spending time in nature.
❤️ Work on what you care about. Avoid tasks that drain morale and momentum.
🤝 Delegate effectively. Remember others are also productive when doing what they enjoy.
🔄 If you dislike your job for a long time, consider changing it. Short-term burnout is different from long-term dissatisfaction.
📈 Trust in your ability to learn and improve quickly.
🚀 Surround yourself with smart, positive people who inspire you.
🎯 Focus on both choosing the right problem and working hard on it. Important goals usually require both smart and hard work.
📋 Use lists for prioritization and focus. They help manage tasks and maintain productivity.
⏳ Be ruthless in saying no to non-critical tasks and manage your time effectively.
🕒 Avoid unproductive meetings and conferences. Schedule meetings efficiently.
🕰️ Value your time highly and avoid spending it on low-value tasks.
🏆 Aim to optimize your year, not just your day.
💤 Prioritize sleep for productivity. Experiment to find what improves your sleep quality.
🏋️♂️ Exercise and nutrition significantly impact productivity. Find what works best for you.
☕ Manage caffeine intake thoughtfully. Experiment to find the best balance.
🌱 Consider supplements and diet adjustments based on personal health needs.
🏢 Create a workspace that suits your productivity style.
💻 Utilize tools and skills like custom software and typing speed to enhance efficiency.
🌫️ Accept periods of low motivation as normal. Trust that motivation will return.
🤹♂️ Overcommitting slightly can increase efficiency, but avoid excessive overcommitment.
👪 Balance work with time for family, friends, and activities you love.
🎢 Remember, productivity in the wrong direction is worthless. Focus on working on the right things.
The most common human-related challenges that teams face. A summary of The Human Side of Software Engineering Teams: An Investigation of Contemporary Challenges by Marco Hoffmann, Daniel Mendez, Fabian Fagerholm, and Anton Luckhardt.
📈 The most significant challenges in software engineering are insufficient analysis at task initiation and lack of leadership.
📋 Other notable challenges include missing documentation, demotivation, and inadequate information sharing within the team.
🤝 Insufficient task analysis leads to misallocation of resources and time, suggesting the need for dedicated review meetings and formal specification processes.
🚀 Addressing leadership issues can be done through leadership coaching, structured feedback, retrospectives, and satisfaction measurement tools.
🌐 Remote work increases certain challenges, such as neglecting business needs and frequent team changes, especially in offshore or geographically dispersed teams.
🤔 The study categorizes challenges into interpersonal (interaction-based) and intrapersonal (individual-based) types.
💡 This research paves the way for future studies to explore the link between human-related challenges and developer productivity.
Why we need better ideologies than “data-driven decision-making”
📊 Companies optimize for simple engagement metrics rather than more complex, meaningful ones.
🤔 Simple metrics often prevail due to their ease of measurement and low computational cost.
🌐 Metrics are used to understand phenomena, but also due to cowardice (avoiding decision-making responsibility) and mistrust (lack of delegation).
🛡️ Simple metrics are preferred because they are less susceptible to manipulation and provide a false sense of security.
🏰 Monarchical decision-making, like in the cases of Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, can sidestep metric-dependence but doesn't scale well.
🤝 Developing a shared ideology within an organization can increase trust and enable decision-making beyond mere metrics.
Some thoughts on why the push to “align on the problem” is often counterproductive, and why a better approach is to focus on breaking the narrative stalemate with a better story.
🔄 The push to “align on the problem” can be counterproductive, as companies often have competing narratives about issues.
🌐 Different narratives in a company are influenced by factors like worldview, tenure, personal experiences, and skills.
🔨 People tend to use their go-to strengths or tools to solve problems, influencing their approach to issues.
🔄 Entrenched views can lead to a reinforcing loop of self-justification, blocking other perspectives.
🤝 Competing narratives by influential people can create a stalemate, focusing more on winning the narrative battle than solving the actual problem.
🎭 Complex problems get oversimplified, and power struggles often overshadow collaborative problem-solving.
🔄 A narrative stalemate requires a significant event, like a leadership change, to be resolved.
🚀 Crafting a unifying narrative can help align people without the need for an existential threat.
📚 Effective leaders weave stories that unite different narratives while aiming for a common goal.
📈 Companies often face problems when they lack a positive, unifying narrative, leading to a stalemate in problem-solving.