Screaming in the Cloud

Episode 43: Here’s a Document on How to Best Deal with My Foibles

A Manager README is a document designed to establish clarity between a manager and those who report to them. These documents are especially useful for onboarding content. For example, if you have someone new starting on your team, there's so many things you need to share with them - pieces of advice and guidance that help them to make the best decision about what to do in specific situations. A Manager README sets some expectations in advance to make things easier and reduce friction and anxiety for team members.

Today, we’re talking to Matt Newkirk, who manages Etsy’s localization and translation group. He explains that even if your company has an intensive onboarding program and review process, some things are still left out. A Manager README is a helpful and proactive piece of content that prompts conversations about how people perceive things.

Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Avoid writing READMEs that are extremely self-centered/arrogant
  • READMEs clarify what to do until a relationship is established between the manager and their employee
  • Get feedback early on to make sure that what you include in the document is helpful; it should reflect reality and be discussed
  • Share README with your manager to make sure you’re both on the same page about team philosophies and expectations
  • README is a living document that needs to be updated occasionally because things change
  • README adds context; it’s not designed to make employee feel like they’re back in school and panicking because they’re not prepared
  • Manager README - Not Matt’s best selection of terminology
  • Who’s the best boss you ever had? Why? They can be a force that shapes your life and career from the right perspective
  • Philosophy of Management: Don’t do what terrible managers have done; be transparent about strategic reasons for priorities changing

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Brought to you by Corey Quinn of Screaming in the Cloud