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My team's operating principles
As my team grows, and as I become more distant from my products, the more important become operating principles.
Principles are mental guidelines that help make a decision. They expose the underlying foundation that aligns everyone operating under the same roof. When you’re further away from your products, your only way to coach, provide feedback, and guide others on their own decisions is through principles.
Here are the 8 principles my team follows:
𝗨𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗶𝘀𝗲, 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿 - we believe the best way to achieve overall customer, stakeholder, and team happiness is through careful management of expectations, bundled with overdelivering on our promises.
𝗜𝗳 𝗶𝘁’𝘀 𝗮 "𝗠𝗮𝘆𝗯𝗲", 𝗶𝘁’𝘀 𝗮 "𝗡𝗼" - we believe achieving the best outcomes comes from decisions with strong internal YES's. If there is doubt, we either act quickly to reduce uncertainty, or we reject the decision.
𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗲𝘅𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 - we believe everyone's best work is done when the context is clear. Before every request, message or conversation, providing context is the number one priority.
𝗖𝗼𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗼𝗿𝘁 - we believe solving a problem through code, without thinking otherwise, is often more expensive than not. Can we do it without a push release?
𝗠𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗰 𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗹𝘀 - we believe the best experience isn’t the most complete, but the one that cares for the right details, delivered as if it was a magic trick.
𝗡𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝘀𝘀𝘂𝗺𝗲, 𝗶𝘁 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻 "𝗮𝘀𝘀" 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗼𝗳 "𝘂" 𝗮𝗻𝗱 "𝗺𝗲" - we believe alignment is a compounding force, and assumptions lead to misalignment. If we have a cheap, quick way to not assume, we always clear it out.
𝗝𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗲𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝘀𝗶𝘇𝗲 - we believe Pareto was right, and 80% of the value comes from the right 20% of effort. So we do just enough. If we do enough times “just enough”, we deliver more than enough.
𝗩𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗹𝘆 𝗲𝘅𝗲𝗰𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗱 “𝗻𝗼𝘄” 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝘄𝗮𝘆 - we believe General Patton was half right: violently executed now is the best option. But for us “a perfect plan next week” is not a choice, because a perfect plan rises by learning from today’s execution.
When is "something" a principle? When you find yourself repeating the same thing over and over to explain why you “decided this way”. If you’re coming back to it, maybe it’s a foundation of how think.
Finding your own operating principles is a game-changer.