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Matt's Manager README

Welcome to the team! I’m so glad you are here.

If you're reading this it's likely that I am either your manager or a prospective coworker. One of the working relationships we need to define is ours.

A Little About Me

When I'm not coding or managing, I love to garden. I love plants and have a hard time not buying plants when I see them. I've brought a bunch of biggish plants into the office to brighten up the space.

I have a dog and used to volunteer at a dog shelter.

I drink too much coffee. I love coffee.

I like to cook but I'm a complete amateur. I make an OK breakfast. I lived in Australia for a bit and acquired a taste for Vegemite.


This is a new document and still a work in progress. It’s meant to be documentation on me.

Three reasons for this to exist:

Important: This is NOT meant as a replacement for getting to know each other. It's also not a set of excuses for bad behavior. I don't get to be a jerk because I warned you in advance.

My Responsibilities

My Responsibility to You

I’m here to help and support you, to set context for what you’re working on, and to advocate for you and the team with the rest of the company. My management philosophy is one of servant leadership.

  • Lay the foundation for your success and autonomy
  • Give you opportunities to grow your career
  • Accept and act on feedback given
  • Be a problem umbrella for you
  • Foster positive team culture
  • Ensure we have the right people working on the right projects

My Responsibilities to the Company

  • Work with other managers to come up with a long-term vision for the team
  • Responsible for the long term health of all products in our area
  • Represent our team to the rest of the organization
  • Manage cross project priorities
  • Attract, retain and grow high performing individuals

Values I Love

Respectful & Helpful

  • Respect and value diversity
  • Have patience, be helpful, and foster empathy
  • Assume the best and be easy to approach
  • Everyone on the team has a voice and a vote

Responsible & Dependable

  • Write code to live forever
  • Practice incrementalism; write small PR’s
  • Test everything; TDD, Unit, Integration, Acceptance
  • Follow work all the way through. Be responsible for the quality of your code
  • Tooling > Diligence; Use Metrics & Logging; Evidence over Effort
  • A broken build is a production outage


  • Google first, ask questions, don’t reinvent the wheel. Research problems before starting
  • Be efficient with your time so you get things done
  • Be creative, don’t be boxed in by previous decisions
    • Nothing is precious. Especially code I wrote
  • Follow the Boy Scout Rule aka "Leave things better than when you found it"
    • I believe in the compounding awesomeness of continually fixing small things
  • Nothing is impossible but some things shouldn't be done.

Team Focused

  • Collaborate with coworkers and teammates
  • Discuss, Cooperate, Pair. Pairing > Not Pairing
  • Give & receive feedback in an impactful way
  • Have strong opinions weakly held
  • Voice thoughts and disagreements nicely


  • Provide and accept mentorship
  • Expertise grows through effort, not time
  • Learn different technologies
  • Be ready to explore and try new things
  • It's fine to not understand a task. It's NOT OK to believe that you will never be able to understand it
  • Work hard and accept that you don’t know everything. Those two things trounce any particular aptitude
  • The ability to learn is a skill that you can choose to improve or let stagnate

Document everything

  • Document
    • your daily activities
    • your code
    • your problems
    • your processes
    • your inputs and outputs

Work/Life Balance

Feel free to message me at any time. I might not respond immediately but I appreciate the communication.

I do not expect that you are going to work on the weekend. I might email or slack on weekends, but it can always wait until work begins for you on Monday.

Life > work. Make the balance work. I take vacations. You should, too. We only get one life. Don’t burn out. Take time off.

Working Together

My Assumptions

  • You’re very good at your job

    You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. If it feels like I’m questioning you it’s because I’m either:

    • Trying to gather context.
    • Trying to be a sounding board, rubber duck, or devils advocate.
  • I’m not good at your job

    You know best. I’ll work to provide necessary context and ask questions to help you vet your ideas.

  • You’ll let me know if you can’t do your job

    One of my main responsibilities is ensuring that you’re set up for success. Things slip through the cracks and I won’t know I’m letting you down.

  • You feel safe talking with me

    Examining ideas from all angles improves them. This relies on us being able to have safe communications. I've read that feedback requires three attributes:

    • Safety (you should feel safe to give and receive candid feedback)
    • Effort (neither you nor I should feel defensive about the feedback, and feedback should be easy to give)
    • Benefit (giving/receiving feedback should have impact)

    Please let me know if I’m doing poorly on any of these attributes. I’ll return the favor!

How can I help you?

  • Provide context

    I spend most of my day collecting, filtering and sharing context/information from across other projects, domains, and products. I’ll try to push information to you as much as I can but feel free to ask about anything else.

  • Provide an outside(ish) perspective

    I won’t be working on your project day to day but will be close enough to have informed thoughts.

  • Cheer

    I will celebrate your successes. If you're not a person who self-promotes, please let me do it for you. Tell me when things go well, share what makes you proud, and I'll cheer/share appropriately.

  • Firefight

    If my favorite opening line is "I could use a hand with...", my second favorite is "I screwed up: ...".

    • A mistake, if shared, becomes a challenge; if hidden, becomes a failure.
  • Other

    Please let me know how else I can help.

How can you help me?

  • Do amazing work

    This is the expectation. Let me know if there is something preventing you from accomplishing this.

  • Disagree with me

    The best solutions comes from a healthy level of communication. We need to be able to separate our ideas from our egos. I’ll challenge your ideas with the goal of coming to the best possible solution; I hope you’ll challenge mine. Disagreement is feedback and the sooner we learn how to efficiently disagree with each other, the sooner we’ll trust and respect each other more. Ideas don’t get better with agreement.

  • Tell me when I screw up

    This is important. I screw up and sometimes don’t notice. I need to know or I’ll likely do it again. I am going to ask you for feedback in our 1:1s. I am never going to stop doing this no matter how many times you say you have no feedback for me.

  • Communicate

    One of my jobs is to provide context. Are you missing some? Let me know and I’ll fill you in or go find out.

    The best way for me to retain information is to read it. If you have something that is nuaunced and needs a detailed opinion, you'd be best served writing down your thoughts and emailing them to me. It's easy for me to miss details in a hallway conversation.

  • Bring your friends

    We’re growing the team and you know who you want to work with.

My Calendar

I go to a lot of meetings. My calendar is deliberately publicly visible. If you have a question about a meeting on my calendar, ask me. If a meeting is private or confidential, its title and attendees are hidden from your view. The vast majority of my meetings are neither private nor confidential.

Need clarification on something? Blocked? I’d love to hear as soon as possible. Come by my desk, send me a message, we don’t need to wait for our next scheduled 1:1.

Feel free to put something in my calendar, don’t feel like you need to ask first. Is my calendar full? Send me a message and I’ll likely be able to move something around.

Working Here

Our Average Week

Every morning we'll have a brief 5-10 minute standup where everyone will discuss what they've been working on, what they will work on, and anything that is blocking them.

We’ll have a 1:1 every week to two weeks for at least 30 minutes. This meeting discusses topics of substance and updates. Edit our 1:1 calendar invite to capture future topics for our 1:1s and to provide a handy historic record of what we’ve discussed. When you or I think of a topic, let's dump into the calendar invite. During 1:1s we will go through your agenda first and if time permits I will have some questions. These meetings are for you. Urgent matters should not wait for a 1:1.

We’ll have a team planner with your peers every two weeks for 30-60 minutes. We'll discuss what we've been working on briefly, and what we're planning on working on the next two weeks.

We'll also have a team retro every two weeks for about an hour, where we discuss what has and hasn't been working for us as a team. Every retro should have actionable items that we follow up on.

Scheduling Meetings

If you schedule a meeting, please provide:

  1. A hangout link or similar to the meeting for remote callers
  2. An agenda of what we're talking about
  3. Any related documents, slidedecks, etc that will be used in the meeting

Meeting Protocol

Put away your phone. Only open your laptop if you're taking notes or running the meeting.

If I am attending a meeting, I’d prefer starting on time. If it’s not clear to me why I am in a meeting, I will ask for clarification on my attendance.

If you send me a presentation deck before a meeting, I will usually read it before the meeting and will have my questions at the ready. If I haven’t read the deck, I will tell you.

If a meeting completes its purpose before it’s scheduled to end, let’s give the time back to everyone. If it’s clear the purpose won’t be achieved in the allocated time, let’s end the meeting early and determine how to finish the meeting later.

Miscellanous Things to Know

When I ask you to do something that feels poorly defined you should ask me for both clarification and a call on importance. I might still be brainstorming. These questions can save everyone a lot of time.

My job is a series of interruptions during the day. If I'm busy and folks ask me questions, I usually say something like, "I need five minutes to wrap this up." If I really need alone time, I'll find a beanbag, sit in a café, or book a room to get something done. Otherwise I try to be as available as possible when I'm at my desk. My job is to help you succeed, and your output is more valuable than mine.

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