Could it be that simply to calculate the value of my backlog at work? I once heard on a podcast that a simple way for a startup founder to prioritize all the product backlog in order to focus is via a spreadsheet and do hard ranking. Difficulty x cost x quantity == value? While I agree with maybe having a simple formula for value would make it easier to plan, maybe the formula could be an inverse of cost? Difficulty x quantity x 1/cost = value? I don’t really know, but it would be super interesting to be able to have a mental model for value.
Yesterday, one member of my badminton group reinjured his knee which was already hurting from a skiing accident. He wanted to play yesterday because he loved the sport and thought he could still play and take it easy. Unfortunately, we pushed him pretty hard on court, and he collapsed in pain when he twisted his knee again. I hope he does recover 100% soon.
When we are young, we often think we are invulnerable. Our bodies will of course recover. We might also over estimate our ability to have micro control over our bodies.
If we take a long view of our life, making a decision to take a 3 to 4 week break to nurse back an injury seems like the obvious right choice. Have a framework to make decision to optimize for the long term, will make decisions easier.
Our VP Of Engineering asked us to think about this at work. We are all busy at work, but are we adding value to our customers with what we are doing now?
What is the next most important item on our backlog that add value to our customer immediately?
It’s a great way to prioritize relentlessly. I struggle with knowing how to prioritize in most of my career. I tend to work on a lot of projects all at once and taking a long time to deliver value.
For my direct report 1:1’s, I’m trying a new structure. I open up a Google Doc that we both have access to for our 1:1’s
- Hearing from them what’s on their mind and discussing
- I bounce some ideas of future work to put on their backlog, some updates that are interesting for them and give them feedback
- They open up their goals and we both work through the update of the status of the goals.
- Key points are captured in Google docs for both of us.
This piece about opening up the goals is nice, because we get really deep into how we each think about each individual goals, specifically how to unblock certain ones and I think allow for a nice sync of our brains.
If you send an email to me, it’s very likely (95% chance) I will reply
- If you are recruiting me for a position at company X –
- You will get a polite / canned response that “I am extremely happy at Splunk and want to be there for 4 years to help the company grow”.
- If you are selling a product to me, my company or my restaurant –
- You will get a polite / canned response that “I will review your product and get back to you *if* I’m interested”.
- If you are interested in joining San Francisco Badminton –
- You will get a link to read about my group on sfbadminton.org, an internal Google Doc about the group and a link to the Slack channel to try out for the group, which has a canned welcome message as well.
- If you are a not an advanced player, I’ll politely decline.
- If you are asking for a referral to my company –
- If I think really highly of our experience together, I will immediately sent you a glowing review to the job you are interested in to the recruiter and hiring manager.
- If I worked with you before, but I don’t personally know your work, I will ask you to apply directly to the job and tell you that our recruiters do a wonderful job of looking at all candidates. And they really do.
- If you are an email list –
- And I don’t get value from your content, I will unsubscribe you.
- If I actually have clicked on a link to read the content of your email list, then I’ll read something from it and delete after.
- If you are a robot and giving me information about my account –
- I will read and delete you.
- If you are a human and you are responding back to my email –
- You will get a reply, unless the email thread needs no reply.
- If you are someone from work emailing me –
- You will get a response back if a respond is warranted.
- If you get a link in the response, it’s because I’ve written a similar response before for someone else, or I’ve written something new for future folks who will ask similar questions.
- If I think it’s important that I follow up, your email will be flagged
- If I think this is the end of the thread, your email will be archived
- If you are a family member
- I will try very hard to reply back and hopefully give you back more value than your original email.
- If I do not respond to your emailIt is because I’m struggling with the response, please don’t email me again and ask if I saw your previous email.
- Or, it’s very possible that I somehow missed your email *and* I accidentally removed your email without replying. There is a very very slim chance (less than 2% that this is the case)
- *Only* ask me about a missing email, if you are human and you are my co-worker, my friend or my family.Otherwise, don’t ask me “Did you see my previously email”
- If you are recruiting me for a position at company X –
Two and a half years ago, when I joined my current company I was attending a new hire training and the last slide showed a very long URL to a document that we were suppose to remember for more information.
I asked the presenter whether there is a URL shortener so that we URLs are easy to remember, easy to share verbally and it’s meaningful. The presenter was puzzled and said no.
I researched online and found an open sourced project called YOURLS, asked IT for 2 machines for me to prototyped the solution, launched it and demoed it to my team and emailed an internal list promoting the idea and get feedback.
The feedback was immediate but mostly negative
- Why do we need this, we have gotten along for now without it
- It’s insecure and can be used for phishing
- It’s useless and folks won’t click on it.
- Is this really your job?
There were a few folks who supported the idea because they used URL shorteners like http://bit.ly/ and said to give me a chance.
I continued to work on the project, demo’ing the http://GO/ URL shortener along with enhancements during our quarterly hack weeks. I started sending easy to remember URL’s to common thinks like go/food, go/wifi, go/printer, go/tony
Slowly the serviced gain traction and adoption, but very slowly. After about 2 years, I noticed there was some was drastic changes
- I see posters around the company promoting events and people had a GO link such as GO/printer or GO/security or GO/zoom
- I see in our chat rooms people sharing links such as GO/projectx or GO/help-whatever
- Because I talk about the GO links during new hire training, folks also were asked to create a GO/[your name] to their personal homepage
So what did I learn from this experience?
- For anything that is new and different, it will be a long and difficult journey.
- Being in a company that allows you to experiment is necessary for this type of work to succeed.
- If I truly believe a project is good for the company, I should just continue forward without asking for validation