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Executive, Manager, and Individual Responsibilities

Basecamp has three tiers of responsibility within our job functions: Executive, Manager, and Individual. Here's how we break down each level’s duties.

Executive Responsibilities

  • company and product strategy
    • company: structure, finances, marketing/publishing, evaluating/adjusting core values and ethics
    • product: values, long-term direction, short-term (cycle) direction, marketing
  • product work and communication
    • making personal contributions to product work (programming and design)
    • writing heartbeats and kick-offs (with input from team); providing status updates in between as needed
  • people management: admin
    • formal performance evaluations for Managers twice a year
    • creating and tracking performance improvement plans for Managers as needed
  • people management: personal
    • continually identifying and addressing potential performance problems in Managers or their team dynamic
    • spot-checking Managers and stepping in as needed; requesting status updates from teams

Manager Responsibilities

  • team strategy
    • interpreting cycle focus from Executives
    • driver/delegator of work; "team lead"
  • product work and communication
    • making personal contributions to product work (programming, design, Ops, customer happiness)
    • writing heartbeats and kick-offs (with input from team) or contributing to Executive write-ups; providing status updates in between as needed
  • people management: admin
    • formal performance evaluations for team twice a year
    • creating and tracking performance improvement plans for team as needed
  • people management: personal
    • continually identifying and addressing potential performance problems in team
    • maintaining general cohesion of team (via 1:1s, group hangs, etc.)
    • anticipating and addressing morale issues
    • keeping the pulse of the emotional well-being of team including workload, attachment to work, on the lookout for fatigue or burnout, team advocate
    • translating team feedback on overall company direction and morale to Executives

Individual Responsibilities

  • product work and communication
    • making personal contributions to product work (programming, design, Ops, customer happiness)
    • contributing to heartbeats and kick-offs; providing status updates in between as needed
    • interpretation of daily work from the cycle strategy devised by Manager
  • people management: personal
    • self-promotion and self-advocacy to Managers
    • communicating feedback to Managers on overall team or company direction and morale

A note about our Managers. We encourage Managers to be "moonlight managers". To us that means they focus mostly on product strategy, work, and communication, and they allow the individuals on their teams to self-direct.

At the same time, we ask our Managers to take on a lot of responsibility for their teams! We very much appreciate that that may result in Managers doing some emotional labor. That sort of work is usually invisible and hard to quantify in the way product work is, and that's okay! It's part of a Manager's tough job, and we see that.

Managers who feel that their energy for product work is consistently suffering as a result of people management means something is structurally failing at Basecamp. Those managers should raise the issue with Jason, David, or Andrea so we can all work on fixing the root problem. 

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