Jonathan Ong’s Manager Readme
I’m on a quest to create high performing teams. My role is to be a facilitator and performance multiplier. I will try to never be a bottleneck and will always try to empower others.
Philosophy & Principles
Build Context, Delegate Aggressively
My focus will be working with stakeholders to build the full context, then delegate the architecture and engineering. My goal is to minimize miscommunication or misunderstandings.
Problem Solving > Creating Solutions
It’s important to always understand the problem we’re trying to solve and not build just for the sake of building. The best solutions are usually simple and boring.
Code is Easy, People are Hard
My goal is to be the bridge between people and code.
People > Process
Complex organizational processes are a smell for deeper problems. Generally, companies create processes to compensate for other deficiencies such as their inability to fire. There are, however, certain processes that are important, namely building context (PRDs, postmortems, etc.) and checklists (runbooks).
I’m always growing, and you should too. I’ll make sure you’re always learning something, and I hope you always teach me something.
You will never get fired for making mistakes unless they’re egregious. You will get fired if you don’t learn from them.
Presentation is Everything
It’s important to not just do good work, but to show it. Personally tell stakeholders about your successes and business impact as well as how it affects them.
I may care more about how your present your roadmap and project updates more than the actual architecture. After all, these are what I’ll be delivering to stakeholders for you, unless I can delegate that to you. I need stakeholders to be confident in my team members so they can be confident in my team.
No One Knows What They’re Doing
I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t expect you to know what you’re doing. You aren’t an imposter. What’s important is that we’re continuous learning and solving problems. Don’t hestitate to ask questions. If you think your question is stupid, ask me in private.
Success is Working Yourself Out of a Job
A successful manager is a nonessential manager. If I succeed at my job, I will run out of things to do and will need more responsibilities.
How I Work / How to Work With Me
Constant Context Switching
I’m able to context switch better than most people. Have a question? Come by and ask me anytime. I’m never wearing headphones.
I’ll come by and ask questions, not because they are loaded or I’m trying to make your life harder. I genuinely don’t know the answer and/or I want you to investigate further. I’ll generally won’t tell you an answer, but instead will provide you with some options or scenarios.
I’m always working, even at night or on vacation. I might go home early but I’m always thinking, strategizing, and writing. Do you have a question or need help at 9pm? Want to ask me a question while I’m on vacation? Feel free to ping me, I’m probably checking Slack anyways.
Proactively Ask for Help
I believe in giving people autonomy so I try to avoid check ups other than 1-1s. Ask for help if you need it! Don’t wait! And don’t wait more than an hour to ask for help!
Avoid Slacking me Directly for Tech Lead Topics
If you’re looking for a code review or architecture review, share it to a broader channel. In the past, people consistently pinged me for code reviews and I eventually became a bottleneck. To enforce this, I may arbitrary delay reviewing your code or architecture and may accidentally forget about it. I’d prefer if you mentioned me in a channel instead of slacking me directly.
Ping me directly if you need to talk to me directly such as if it’s management or HR related.
I’ll schedule weekly 30 minute 1-1s with you, but if we have no topics, we can skip them. During 1-1s, I focus on:
- Feedback to deliver to you, whether it’s from me or someone else
- Understanding what you’re working on, especially if we’re on different teams
- Reviewing architecture or software, especially before it’s presented to others
- Tracking your growth towards a promotion
- Asking questions about your problem solving approach and feedback on how to improve it
I expect you to:
- Let me know if you want more in a 1-1
- Request an earlier 1-1 or bug me earlier whenever you need help
- Give me feedback, or give me feedback about someone else that you don’t want to deliver personally. Tell me how I can improve or what you need to perform better.
- Let me know of any HR issues
Be sure to consistently keep notes on feedback you’ve given and received, everything you learned, and all the work you’ve accomplished to avoid availability bias. This will make reviews much easier for both of us.
As we get to know each other, I’ll create documents between us and managers above us on actionable next steps to achieve a goal, whether it’s to be promoted or to be a tech lead of a team. This may take time to write, so you may want to start one yourself.
I’m a logician.
What’s Positive Feedback?
I’ve frequently gotten feedback that I don’t give positive feedback. I’ve given promotions while only giving negative, constructive feedback, which could be confusing for many. If you need positive feedback, remind me.