Manager Readme or first meeting script

Maksim Golivkin
Mar 19 · 4 min read

The last autumn my team grew from 5 to 11 engineers. In order to onboard new engineers effectively, I wrote down my values, expectations, and process, so that I could use it as a first meeting script. Given it worked quite well, I decided to share it wider.

The script is in full below


What do I value the most?

  • Always have an answer to “Why project? Why this way? Why this scope?”. For an engineer making the right trade-off is half of the job. Being busy is not the desired outcome, so it important to take into account the project objective, timeline, implementation alternatives.

Expectations for people I manage

  • Reliability and Quality. Test what you deliver and maintain it. Manage your timeline.

Keep me accountable

I am a coach and a team lead. My goals are:

  • help you to be successful (grow fast or attain craftmanship)

I do so through:

  • regular 1:1

Effective 1:1

Every 1:1 calendar invitation includes this image and I and have a print-out on my desk.

Come prepared — you can add things to my TODO. Come prepared — bring agenda (see this presentation) Let’s achieve your personal goals:

  • How do you see your career in the next 5 years?

Let’s define your personal roadmap using projects on the intersection of your career goals and business priorities:

  • Interesting projects from team’s roadmap

Don’t hesitate to give feedback to me!

Availability / Communication

Feel free to talk to me at any time. I prefer face to face, but Slack works great too. If I am busy, I will decline and ask you to schedule a time with me. Don’t save urgent matters for a 1–1 and don’t wait till the last minute! I work after-hours but I don’t expect you to do the same.

  • Email: read it at least twice a day (Mon-Fri)

Disclaimer

This script reflects things that I saw working well at various stages of Instacart growth and builds upon Manager Readmes from a number of successful Silicon Valley companies. Sharing a Manager Readme may be perceived as a risky move since it enables the new recruit to hold the manager accountable as it builds concrete expectations. Although this wasn’t the case at Instacart, I was warned against it by a mentor and just used this document as a script in my first meetings with a new team member — there was a lot of ground to cover and talking points are immensely helpful.

This document only reflects only my own views and, and in no way should be considered to apply to any other team or manager at Instacart.

Thank you for Daisuke Fujiwara, Xiuming Chen and Jack Dempsey for review and feedback!

Maksim Golivkin

Written by

Engineering Manager @ Instacart, ex- Uber, ex- Kiva Systems