What’s Your Operating Rhythm?

Another good piece from First Round Review giving some very useful advice for new Engineering Managers in particular (a topic I’ve covered here), and people starting a new job in general:

This 90-day Plan Turns Engineers Into Remarkable Managers

The two parts that I liked the most, covered what I’d like to refer to as the manager’s “operating rhythm” – the repeatable way in which you put structure around how you spend your time to be effective.

The first talked about the one tactical aspect of how each week is structured:

“Each week, I have my meeting with my boss on Monday morning, then my full team meeting on Monday afternoon, and then each 1:1 starting on Tuesday. The order intentionally facilitates top-down communication, so that engineers doing the work have as much context as possible. Otherwise, I become a bottleneck and information will come out in dribs and drabs — from me or someone else. Up-and-down communication is the easiest place for a manager to get lost.”

The second, talks about creating an “event loop”. Many of the important actions that a manager needs to take, marry themselves to some natural cadence: daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly. The less frequent activities, tend to get lost in the noise and be forgotten altogether.  The “event loop” is a cadence-based checklist to ensure that this doesn’t happen. The particular example provided in the original post looks like this:

event loop

You can probably see by now why I like these two pieces of advice in particular. If  you zoom out a bit – they have nothing to do with engineering management. As a matter of fact, they have nothing to do with management. They’re applicable to any role, and can probably be used outside of a professional setting as well.

There are a few other easily-generalized bits like this in the article, making it a very good read overall.



What’s Your Operating Rhythm?

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