management Time management

My managerial framework

When I first started as a manager, I didn’t have a role model, classes, or even a good list of books to read and learn about management.

I made a lot of mistakes (sorry everyone that worked for me then) but I also learned a ton in the process.

Next, I’ll introduce a very simple framework that has helped me tremendously over my career

Keystone habits 

I first learned about keystone habits by reading the power of habit.

Since this is not a blog post about book summaries, I’ll leave you the homework of reading it on your own.

The key takeaway for me was that not only could I engage in life-changing habits, but that I could help my teams do great by introducing keystone habits

For example, introducing a test-first mindset has done wonders for my teams, while calendar blocks is another keystone habit that has significantly reduced interruptions for everyone I have worked with.

Team accountability over personal accountability 

I brought this from my military days, where every action we take can cost my partner’s life.

Since we are all accountable not only for our work but for each other’s, I celebrate team accomplishments over individual ones.

When mistakes happen, I look at them as opportunities to learn and improve on as a team, after all, nothing happens in a vacuum. That engineer you think introduced the bug was let down by a lot of people.

Starting with their fellow engineers for not picking up on the error or pairing more, the product team for not clarifying the requirements, the manager for not providing enough learning resources, infrastructure for not having a good way to deploy without releasing.

I could go on but the point is that holding the team accountable will yield much better results than any individual accountability system could.

Time management over working late 

After doing 12 hour days, working on weekends, skipping on vacation time, and not seeing any actual gains from it, I realized that time management was one of those keystone habits that I needed to introduce everywhere I went.

The premise is simple, work on time blocks and ruthlessly prioritize what goes into those time blocks.

Blocking time removes distractions, forces focus on the task at hand, and leads to a much happier life.

By the way, for a more detailed insight into avoiding distractions, take a look at “How to deal with interruptions

Constraints over abundance 

Having constraints in place spark creativity, set good boundaries, and help get the most out of your resources.

In project management, work in progress limits keep your team working at an optimal pace without fear of burnout.

Constraints in resources such as hardware and software help you get a better return on investment on them.

Concentrating on one task at a time yields much better results than having to constantly shift focus.

Time constraints foster a sense of urgency that comes very handy when feeling stuck, such as writing a blog post on your personal management framework

Overall, I have found that having constraints is extremely helpful to me and my team.

Simplicity over complexity 

This is usually easier said than done, especially when it comes to architecting new systems or defining a new process for a team.

The idea here is that simplicity is easy to replicate, easy to distribute, and easy to follow.

So when given an option to follow multiple paths, the easy one will always win in my book. 

Value the individual

Not to contradict my team accountability statement above, when it comes to interacting with my team, blanket approaches to specific situations don’t work very well.

What I am talking about here are things such as communication preferences, background, career goals, coding styles, pairing preferences, etc.

Learning and valuing the vast difference in character from all my team members is one of the best ways for me to show that I care about them and that I am fully vested in their success.


Introducing keystone habits, holding the team accountable, managing time, introducing constraints, keeping it simple, and valuing the individual is my simple recipe for managerial success.

what is yours?

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