Work Improvements


Mike Tyson

Everyone Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth

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Product Management

Team Topologies

Team Topologies focuses on team structure & purpose:

  • How do large teams split the workforce?
  • How do teams interact with one-another?

Colaboration between teams is one of the key fundamental traits of successful companies, but there has not been a framework to explain the succesful approaches at companies like Spotify or Toyota. 

Collaboration Patterns

When 2 teams are operating on the same project we can have different types of collaboration types:

  • Partnership: collaborating towards a common goal.
  • Customer-Supplier: dependency is less symmetrical
  • Conformist: no negotiations. The downstream party just gets what they're given.
  • Open Host: have a clear set of rules, language and boundaries that makes collaboration possible.
  • Separate Ways: no collaboration.
  • Big Ball of Mud: chaos
4 team types & 3 interaction models

There are only 4 team types: 

  1. Stream Aligned Team focused on a specific cross-functional business capability
  2. Platform Team providing common services to others
  3. Complicated Subsystem Team has high specialization & specific knowledge about one portion of the system
  4. Enabling Team: expert who are helping others to evolve & improve

In terms of relationship between teams we can have:

  • Collaboration when teams are working towards a common goal;
  • X - as a service when there is contact in terms of usage, but little collaboration;
  • Facilitation when a team is helping another one to get rid of impediments.
Goldilocks are not in the middle

The Goldilocks Zone, doesn’t typically live in the middle of the distribution. Instead, the Goldilocks Zone often exists in the tail.

People love saying that “the right answer is somewhere in the middle.” But usually it’s closer to one end or the other. Aristotle coined the concept of “the virtue of the mean”: virtues and vices aren’t polar opposites. Instead, cultivating virtue is about finding the mean between excess and deficiency.

For example, courage, a virtue, isn’t the opposite of cowardice. Instead, it lies between cowardice & recklessness, but it's closer to reckless.

Goldilocks Zone

In science, the term “Goldilocks Zone” describes the distance a planet needs to be from the star at the center of its solar system in order to potentially support life with water. Too close, and water will evaporate from the heat. Too far, and it will freeze from the cold.

Earth inhabits a Goldilocks Zone. It’s just right — for us. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s skewed towards an extreme. The vast majority of planets are either far too hot or too cold for liquid water.

Goldilocks Zone for Founder Virtues
  1. Confidence: you have to be headstrong enough to be able to smash your head against an industry but not overconfident to the point of shutting out any feedback. 
  2. Intelligence: smart but not overly-complicate things
  3. Agreeableness: be able to get people to like you bit not transform into a people pleaser.
  4. Competitiveness: ambition but not at the point where you’re willing to do anything to succeed. 
  5. Expertise: good to know a domain but you can’t be bound to the way the industry was going alread
  6. Vision: but not delusion. 
  7. Anti-Normal: “it’s weird not to be weird.”
The "Make Time" Framework

Make Time is a framework that can help you create more time for the things you find important, in 4 steps, repeated every day:

  1. Highlight: Pick a single activity to prioritize in your schedule.
  2. Laser: Use certain tactics to stay laser-focused on your priority.
  3. Energize: Charge your battery with exercise, food, sleep and quiet time.
  4. Reflect: Adjust and improve your system.
  • Do not obscure your message by words that are there to decorate the sentence and make it sound wordy while camouflaging what you mean.
  • Make good use of qualifiers ("I think, In my opinion") while not coming across as a perpetually confused person. Don’t use qualifiers while making a strong point.
  • While writing documentation, it is prudent to avoid jargon and acronyms.
  • Use complete words and sentences. Shortcuts and acronyms block any actual communication, acting as roadblocks. On the same lines, avoid cliches, idioms and any idiotic sounding phrase that catches the ear well but doesn’t really do any good to anyone.
  • Remote working is often on a global scale, and certain expressions will not be understood by some participants, or worse, will be misunderstood.
  • Your words and tone should be tailored according to your audience. The words are different when you are writing to a client, and when you are in a small group chat with your peers. More people in chat also means adopting a polished, professional tone.
“Be A Strong Writer”

This is one of the first pieces of advice people give to those seeking remote work.

When you work remotely, a few misplaced words can become an occupational hazard. Every word you type (or don’t) is important in conveying your ideas and communicating effectively with your colleagues.

Summarizing a project’s success or failure is a great way to reflect within the group. It helps to be chronological and detailed, describing the impact, learning and conclusion.

Understand that writing always leaves room for (mis)interpretation, and make sure you are using emphatic words that convey kindness, honesty, positivity and team spirit.

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