author: Patrick Newman; date: 2021-03-19; revised: 2023-10-22

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In my experience it's very difficult to achieve all of this simultaneously, but a reasonable thing to strive for.

This list isn't meant to be exhaustive, nor is every item listed here applicable all the time. It's meant to give a basic framework to help managers, particularly less experienced ones, think about balancing their responsibilities.

Section 1: Managing the team

  1. every member of the team knows what they should be working on
  2. every member of the team knows what to do if they finish a task, or get blocked
  3. every member of the team has had a meaningful career conversation within the last six months
  4. every member of the team receives timely, meaningful, actionable performance feedback
  5. work that needs to get done aligns with work that is rewarded by the promotion process
  6. performance reviews never contain surprises
  7. team members are able to express ideas for new projects or changes to the way the team works
  8. the team is able to give input on roadmaps and plans
  9. the team is staffed adequately and work is evenly distributed
  10. the team, overall, has the level of functional expertise required to do the work, and a reasonable number of stretch goals are available
  11. conflicts are resolved in a fair and respectful way
  12. diversity is represented and embraced; a broad spectrum of views are considered

Section 2: Managing peer relationships

  1. key team peer relationships are identified and regularly maintained through regular healthy, productive meetings, and effective written communication
  2. groups dependent on team's work can trust the commitments the team makes
  3. key peer teams have a clear idea of how they can request work to be prioritized by your team, with transparency into what the tradeoffs are
  4. team is able to get work required from dependency teams prioritized with a reasonable expectation that commitments are honored
  5. agreements are documented in writing
  6. progress and set backs are reguarly communicated to key stakeholders
  7. when collaborative projects are completed, credit is shared among the contributors
  8. there is a clear, mutually-respectful escalation path for issues that cannot be resolved between peer managers/engineers
  9. managers are able to discuss issues privately in a psychologically safe manner

Section 3: Managing senior mgmt relationships

  1. direct management has clear visibility into the progress of the team
  2. direct management/management chain is appropriately involved in issues requiring special attention
  3. you are able to advocate for specific prioritization decisions; priorities are set with transparency
  4. clear agreement on goals and definition of success

Section 4: Managing yourself

  1. Your own work-life boundaries are respected
  2. Your immediate and long-term career goals are documented in writing
  3. You are not stagnating, even if your immediate career goals don't involve a promotion
  4. impact is primarily expressed in achievements of the team and the growth of the team members