SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
SMART is a framework for ensuring a goal is well stated.
- SMART does not test whether the goal itself is a good idea.
- Do not let it enable weak players to set low goals. The setting of tough, demanding, stretching goals that generate the greatest levels of effort and performance.
5 Essential Mentorship Questions
What is it that you really want to be and do?
What are you doing really well that is helping you get there?
What are you not doing well that is preventing you from getting there?
What will you do different tomorrow to meet those challenges?
- Someone must have good work ethic and be focused on the right priorities. Otherwise "you're making good time, but you're lost."
- We also show off our best side and hide weaknesses. Probe whether the person has the aptitude to change behavior.
How can I help / where do you need the most help?
Ask did the project achieve its objectives?
Ask did we work according to our principles:
- Work sustainably.
- Follow our engineering principles, e.g. code reviews, unit tests, tackling technical debt when and where it makes us faster, etc.
- Dogfood if applicable.
- Provide strong mentorship for interns.
Ask how happy were you working on this project?
Solicit feedback about the project and team:
- I like... (Things that went well)
- I wish... (Things that we identified did not go well)
- I wonder... (Open-ended questions that, if answered, could provide better outcomes)
- What work must still be done?
- Who will own this work?
- If we could do this again, what would you wish you'd known from the beginning?
- What would be useful for a related follow-up project?
OKRs are a process for setting, communicating, and monitoring goals and results in organizations.
- Qualitative, not quantitative.
- High-level, derived from upward parent team or company objectives.
- Ambitious, but achievable. Difficult goals are more meaningful.
- Quantitative, with metrics that can be measured and tracked.
- Specific and relevant, describing how to accomplish a related objective.
- Don't have too many. One per "team" per quarter.
- Review regularly.
- A key result is green if you reach 70% of the stated target.
The RACI Model is a process for clarifying roles on teams, used in project management.
- Responsible: Who will do the work?
- Accountable: Who has ultimate ownership of the work getting done?
- Consulted: Who must be consulted before a decision or action is taken?
- Informed: Who must be informed that a decision or action is taken?
Steps in a RACI process:
- Create chart mapping activities and deliverables to people
- Each activity should have only one A and one R. A person can be both A and R.
- When a single A or R cannot be identified, decompose the deliverable into smaller deliverables.
- Can have multiple Cs and Is for a deliverable.
Zones of Collaboration
Zones of Collaboration is a framework to clarify what work your team has control over, and what work your team does not have control over.
Zone 1: What work is your team solely responsible for driving?
- Fully within your control.
- Empower your team to deliver it's best work here.
- Ensure shared understanding between your teams and surrounding teams that your team owns this work.
Zone 2: What work does your team need to influence to be successful?
- Must be involved in this work in some capacity.
- Prioritize. Only stay involved in the work important to your team's impact and success.
- Don't own all the relationships. Delegate to team members who will be most influential, but ensure they're interested.
Zone 3: How is your team interfering with the work of other teams? How are other teams interfering with the work of your team?
- Ideally there is no work in this zone.
- This can be work that one team used to own but no longer owns and is having a tough time moving away from it.
- Protect your team from interference by other teams to ensure that your team delivers great work.
From the book ...
Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose
From the book Drive by Daniel Pink. These are the things that intrinsically motivate us.
Feels like a shortened/bastardized version of ARC/MVP.
Radical candor is a simple tool for ensuring that your team gets the right kind of guidance.
It has a graph with two axes:
- The vertical axis is "Care personally," or the "give a damn" axis.
- The horizontal axis is "Challenge directly," or the "willing to piss people off" axis.
With four quadrants:
- Top-right, or caring personally and challenging directly, is radical candor. This is best.
- Bottom-right, or challenging directly without caring personally, is obnoxious aggression. This is second best.
- Top-left, or caring personally without challenging directly, is ruinous empathy. This is where most of us are.
- Bottom-left, without caring personally or challenging directly, is manipulative insincerity.
Delivering radical candor is HHIPP:
- In person (private if it's criticism, public if it's praise)
- Doesn't personalize
A dividing line that splits what is supposed to be a single, unified team into two or more subgroups.
- Family (e.g. members of the company's founding family vs others)
- Establish and emphasize shared goals that all team members can embrace.
- Use "connectors," or someone who shares something in common with multiple groups.
GROW is a model for structuring your coaching or mentoring sessions.
- Make it SMART.
- Ask how the person will know when the goal is achieved.
- Understand ongoing conflicts with the goal.
- Ask what steps have been taken toward the goal.
Options (or Obstacles):
- Help brainstorm and provide guidance, but do not make the decisions.
- Weigh the pros and cons of each.
- Ask what the person must stop doing to achieve the goal.
Will (or Way Forward):
- Create commitment to specific actions in order to move toward the goal.
- Ask how to keep motivated.
- Decide when to review progress.
SBI is a framework that promotes feedback based on identifying behavior and impact in a specific situation.
First, always ask for permission to give feedback.
- When and where something occurred.
- Be specific.
- What had an effect on you.
- Again, be specific.
- Describes your emotional response and is particular to you.
- Start this with "I felt..."
Types of "Yes"
From the book Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. There are three types of "yes" that someone gives:
- Counterfeit: Where your counterpart feels it is an escape route or uses it to continue the conversation for some edge.
- Confirmation: A reflexive response to a black-and-white question, a simple affirmation with no promise of action.
- Commitment: A true agreement that leads to action.
From the book Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. If someone appears to be acting irrationally, consider:
- Either person may have incomplete information.
- That person is operating under constraints that he or she is not eager to reveal.
- That person is complying with needs or desires based on his or her own rules or worldview.
BICEPS is a model for representing one's core needs. Use it so that others feel understood and valued.
- Closeness with a group and connection with others.
- People feel cared for and happy.
- Moving toward a goal for the company, team, or yourself.
- Improving the lives of others.
- Having control over key parts of your world.
- Having clear ownership with no need to ask for permission.
- Access to resources (money, time, space, information, etc) feels equitable.
- Decisions are fair and everyone is treated as equally important.
- There's certainty about resources (money, space, etc) to focus on your job.
- Goals, strategy, and direction don't change too fast. You can anticipate and prepare.
- You hold a title or role that honors your worth.
- Your work is both highly visible and recognized in positive ways.
Diminishers vs Multipliers
From the book Multipliers by Liz Wiseman. It defines the characteristics of a Diminisher versus a Multiplier.
Empire Builders vs Talent Magnets:
- Empire Builders hoard resources and under-utilize talent.
- Talent Magnets attract talent and deploy it at its highest point of contribution.
Tyrants vs Liberators:
- Tyrants create a tense environment that suppresses people's thinking and capability.
- Liberators create an intense environment that requires people's best thinking and work.
Know-It-Alls vs Challengers:
- Know-It-Alls give directives that showcase "their" knowledge.
- Challengers define opportunities that challenge people to go beyond what they know how to do.
Decision Makers vs Debate Makers:
- Decision Makers engage a select inner circle in the decision-making process.
- Debate Makers access a wide spectrum of thinking in a rigorous debate before making decisions.
Micromanagers vs Investors:
- Micromanagers manage every detail of the work to ensure it is completed the way they would do it.
- Investors give other people the ownership for results and invest in their success.
The Coaching Habit
From The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier. Seven essential questions for coaching others:
- The Kickstart Question: "What's on your mind?"
- The AWE Question: "And what else?"
- The Focus Question: "What's the real challenge for you here?"
- The Foundation Question: "What do you want?"
- The Lazy Question: "How can I help?"
- The Strategic Question: "If you're saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to?"
- The Learning Question: "What was the most useful to you?"
From the book Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt.
- Replaces complexity with a simpler problem which can be solved.
- Outlines the overall approach to overcome the obstacles highlighted by the diagnosis.
- Direct and constrain actions without fully defining everything that happens.
- Must have clarity and coordinated action to move forward.
From the book Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
Your brain is two systems: The emotional side (the Elephant) provides the energy, while the rational side (the Rider) provides the planning and direction.
Direct the Rider:
- Find the bright spots. Ask yourself "What is working, and how can we do more of it?"
- Script the critical moves. Otherwise new choices create uncertainty, which leads to the default path, i.e. the status quo.
- Point to the destination. Provide a vivid "destination postcard" and the rider will figure out how to get there.
Motivate the Elephant:
- Find the feeling. When fighting inertia and indifference, the sequence for change is not analyze-think-change but see-feel-change.
- Shrink the change. Engineer early successes to engineer hope, and make these advances visible.
- Grow your people. Work hard to improve someone's self-image so that they'll aspire to be someone to make the change you're asking.
Shape the Path:
- Tweak the environment. Make the right behaviors a bit easier and the wrong behaviors a bit harder.
- Build habits. The humble checklist is a tool that combines the strategies of tweaking the environment and building habits.
- Rally the herd. In situations where the herd has embraced the right behavior, publicize it.
The LATTE method used by Starbucks, from the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
- Acknowledge the problem
- Take problem-solving action
- Thank them, and
- Explain what you've done
BANT is a sales qualification framework.
- Budget: What is the prospect's budget?
- Authority: Does the prospect have the decision-making authority?
- Need: What is the prospect's business need?
- Timeframe: When will the prospect be implementing a solution?
Weekly manager updates
- What you did last week
- Priorities for next week
- Team & organizational highlights & lowlights
- What's on your mind
The developmental stages of a team. The manager or external facilitator must facilitate this social process and speed the team through the four stages.
- Form: People first come together. They are initially polite and the conversation is mostly exploratory. Some may be timid, while others expose themselves more.
- Storm: People start to get more into the work. They start to argue about things that were initially left unsaid or not realized. Can be fierce if more than one dominant person wants to lead, unclear formal roles, unclear objectives, or some external threat.
- Norm: Personal conflicts are sorted out and focus turns towards the task. Group rules develop and are refined, and people start to help one another more. Internal conflict may be replaced with external conflict.
- Perform: Steady-state where the team reaches and optimal level of performance.
Four states of a team
From the blog post Staying on the path to high performing teams:
- Falling behind: Each week the team's backlog is longer than the week before. The fix is to hire more people.
- Treading water: The team is able to get critical work done, but is not able to start paying down technical debt or start major new projects. The fix is to add process to consolidate the team's efforts to finish more things, and to reduce concurrent work.
- Repaying debt: The team is able to start paying down technical debt, and each piece of debt you repay leads to more time to repay more debt. The fix is to add more time. Also ensure that you find ways to support your stakeholders; they are probably antsy waiting for the team to start delivering new stuff.
- Innovating: The team has a low amount of technical debt to repay, and the majority of work is satisfying new user needs. Ensure that folks value the work your team is doing; if viewed as a team that builds science projects, you'll be defunded.
Last modified 02 June 2023