Management best practices

A list of 20 things

Pardis Noorzad
Dec 19, 2018 · 3 min read
Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito [Public domain]

Below are some practices I have found to be effective in building strong teams. I am sharing this list in the hopes that it would lead to happier teams and better products.


  1. Value focus and do what you can to maximize it.
  2. Value long-term ownership. Quality and invention stem from long planning horizons.
  3. Believe that everyone can achieve great things and let them know; the results will continually surprise you.
  4. Give promotions without being asked — this is the more cost-effective approach when compared with the alternatives.
  5. Understand that promotions and shoutouts are an implicit announcement of your values; use these levers to incentivize towards those values. Be wary that without transparency in your decision-making process, these actions could backfire, signaling your incompetence in the assessment of skills and contributions.
  6. Give credit where it’s due; encourage everyone to do the same.
  7. Encourage collaboration. Never be the source of division — “divide-and-conquer” works until people realize they are being played.
  8. Delegate and ensure effective allocation of projects to talent. Delegation frees up your time for projects that are uniquely your responsibilities.
  9. Take notes and be detail-oriented; similarly, make sure to express yourself clearly and with detail.
  10. Investigate, take steps, and communicate progress towards removing conflicts and obstacles. Inaction or unclear actions erodes trust.
  11. Be aware that conflicts and obstacles might be the outcome of imperfect organizational process rather than low individual performance. Often your job is to change processes not people.
  12. Never let the team know or show that you’re under pressure; they might mistake it for your frustrations with something that they have done.
  13. Treat every person with the utmost respect, every day. Never talk down.
  14. Hire and don’t be intimidated by people more knowledgeable than yourself — they worked hard to get here and they make you look good.
  15. Appreciate everyone’s expertise and point-of-view. Learn from everyone.
  16. Allow your mind to be changed. The elusive business-saving innovation can come from anyone — create processes that allow for the incorporation and implementation of those ideas. This is the more cost-effective approach when compared with the alternatives.
  17. Don’t step on other managers’ toes by approaching their team directly for requests. The time savings are inevitably negated by severed trust, reduced team focus, and inefficient allocation of skills to projects.
  18. Don’t set artificial deadlines as they are demotivating. Externally, negotiate deadlines with stakeholders only after input from the team. Be a good representative, respect the craft.
  19. Understand strategy and its evolution. You are responsible for keeping your team up-to-date.
  20. Challenge assumptions and push towards solutions that lead to wins for both the business and the customers, both today and in the long run.

Let me know what you think! What are some best practices I am missing?

Update. I received some good feedback on Twitter that I include here. Please keep them coming.

I changed my mind about joining a startup once they hired their first woman engineer. Representation matters!
Many good points here.

Update 2. Many thanks to Ben Thompson for featuring this article on GitPrime. And thanks to Dmitriy Ryaboy for telling me about it!

Pardis Noorzad

Written by

Head of Data Science at Carbon Health

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