ORGANIZE WORK, NOT PEOPLE

Many executives I meet organize work around people. The counterintuitive way is yet more functional: Organize work (Initiatives, Projects and Tasks) and let the people self-organize around it. Yes, you will need a loop to track if things go in the right direction, so create a system of auto-review and team-review that happens small and often.

The company Patreon is a great example of to do it right. They are generous enough to share their current way of organizing roles and responsibilities for their engineers on their website. It is in our view very well done, and simple enough using just five categories:

Categories

  • Technical
    This category focuses on technical skills, including an engineer’s mastery, best practices, code reviews, code stewardship, quality & testing, design, and debugging.
  • Execution
    This category focuses on the way that an engineer gets things done: planning, scoping, estimation skills, getting unstuck, taking ownership, strategic alignment, product/business understanding, and vision.
  • Collaboration & Communication
    This category describes teamwork, communication skills, asking for and giving feedback, collaborating, and documentation.
  • Influence
    This category looks at an engineer’s level of impact and influence within the organization, including leadership, knowledge sharing, mentoring, hiring, onboarding, and representation of our brand.
  • Maturity
    Inspired by Khan Academy, this category looks at the traits that make an engineer trustworthy and professional: accountability, self-awareness, respect, consensus building, handling conflict, and receiving feedback.
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