Manager Readme or first meeting script

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.
  • Autonomy — when everyone is a one-person startup. I appreciate when people take responsibility and love to empower them.
  • Feedback, openness, and transparency. I intend to learn from working with you and I hope that you will, too.
  • T-shaped professional — you need to have deep knowledge and skills in one area, but also can operate in other roles (and with seniority a need for your effectiveness in adjunct roles grows). E.x. if you are developing frontend, you pick-up Sketch skills. If you are a mobile developer, you could write APIs. If you specialize in RoR, you also are interested in AWS and optimizing data-stores.
  • I am a big believer in “no broken windows”. I like clean design, well-handled edge-cases, coding style conventions, and low exception & pager noise. Your colleagues and users, who are using what you build, need to think about the task at hand without spending mental effort on ignoring cruft or noise.

Expectations for people I manage

  • Reliability and Quality. Test what you deliver and maintain it. Manage your timeline.
  • Prioritization. Know “Why?”. If this is an experiment, most often we would want a 20% effort for 80% results. If we are investing or scaling this functionality, we want to make it as complete as possible within a reasonable time. Building tools for other engineers is a totally different game.
  • Leadership. Own the project, the feature, the system, the technology you are building. Start as a one-person startup and grow your team, impact, and influence.

Keep me accountable

  • help you to be successful (grow fast or attain craftmanship)
  • remove impediments & organize work effectively
  • regular 1:1
  • day-to-day operations—let me know how I can help. If you don’t tell me if you are blocked for a long time, that’s a problem
  • honest and timely feedback

Effective 1:1

Every 1:1 calendar invitation includes this image and I and have a print-out on my desk.
  • How do you see your career in the next 5 years?
  • What do you want to learn?
  • Are you looking for rapid professional growth or day to day stability right now?
  • Interesting projects from team’s roadmap
  • System improvements?
  • Feature ideas?
  • Bug fixes? Exceptions? Architecture? Scalability? Security improvements?
  • Open-Source projects?

Availability / Communication

  • Email: read it at least twice a day (Mon-Fri)
  • Slack: @mention is expected to be answered within a few hours during business hours. I sometimes will message you at odd hours (sorry in advance). Don’t worry — it is based on your availability. It usually can wait till the next business day, unless you are on call.





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

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Maksim Golivkin

Maksim Golivkin

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

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