Software Engineering at Google Chapter #6 - Leading at Scale (3 of 3)

  • The cycle of success:
    • Analysis - Identify tradeoffs, blinders, and build consensus
    • Struggle - Start regardless of being ready. Fail, retry, iterate. Get advice.
    • Traction - You figure things out, work moves faster, morale improves
    • Reward - Your reward is a pat on the back and a new problem to solve!
  • The cycle of success is actually more like a spiral
  • Struggle -> Fake It -> Traction -> Compress - Bigger Struggle -> repeat
  • The “compression stage” is when you get your next problem so you’re working on 2x problems with same number of people
  • Are things important or are they urgent - understand the distinction
  • Beware getting stuck in “reactive mode”. Here are ways to avoid it:
    • Delegate - Delegate
    • Tracking / Ticket Systems That Works - “to do” programs, “inbox zero”, things of that nature
    • Scheduling Dedicated Time - Block off time to work on things
  • It’s ok to drop balls (“drop the ball”). Track the top 20% of items, not all 100%. Don't spend much if any time with the bottom 20%
  • Protect your energy by:
    • Make it easy to disconnect - Create a “work profile” on your phone so things like work email and chat aren’t easily accessible
    • Take REAL weekends - Do it
    • Take a mental health day - You can and should
    • Take REAL vacations - 3+ days, a weekend isn’t enough. Don’t check anything or else you will ruin the recharge
    • Take breaks during the day - Your brain operates in natural 90 minute cycles (see BRAC). Work 90, break 10.
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