Daily journal: #2

Avoiding tribal knowledge, tackling the hardest things early, and ending meetings 5 or 10 min early to avoid "back to backs".

Friday, July 29, 2022

Things I've learned

Avoid tribal knowledge if you ever plan to scale a team

Undocumented gotchas that only the OG developers on the team know are a massive waste of time. While they might be perfectly fine temporarily when the team is small and it seems like extra work without much reward, as soon as you hire a single new person it takes more time to explain than to share a document.

Sometimes you can't avoid this, but you usually can. And even if you never hire plan of hiring anyone new, your future self will thank you later too.

Things to improve

Tackle the hardest things as early in the day as possible

I notice that on most days it's too easy to get caught up in the usual things, like morning stand ups, follow up meetings after those, etc. And by the time I take a break and look up it's 3PM and I feel like I haven't gotten anything done all day.

I'm going to start blocking off my calendar in the mornings for everything except the most important meetings that absolutely can't wait. And then after I've done my critical path things for the day, I can take it easy and work on the day to day things that are also important.

Even better is starting work super early in the day to get these things done before anyone is awake to distract you.

Random thoughts

The concept of ending meetings earlier than 30 min blocks is exciting

There's nothing worse than back to back meetings. When one meeting runs over thee scheduled time, the next one takes longer to get started and makes it more likely to run over time too. It's a cascading effect that is hard to stop without being ruthless about everyone's schedule.

Even when you try to wrap up, people still usually want to recap and that cuts is close to running over time too.

One of my colleagues is working on an initiative to influence people to schedule 25 minute of 50 minute meeting blocks to fix this problem. Every meeting needs an agenda, and without these requirements the meeting will not be accepted. You can learn more at 2550.org.

Of course there will always need to be exceptions, but I'm excited to try this methodology out for the vast majority of my upcoming meetings and see how well it works out. SL

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