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125.011 Books - High Output Management by Andy Grove

Book: High Output Management by Andy Grove

These notes were originally taken in 2017.

High level concepts

  • My performance is measured only by output

    • Measurement = My output + the output of those I manage + the output of the rest of the organization I influence
    • When possible, delegation is the highest leverage way to increase output! Everything below here supports "what" and "how" to efficiently delegate
  • What performance indicators should we choose?

    • What are the big things we could measure that influence which projects are worked on, and are subsequently effective?
    • e.g., Time to level set, etc
  • My production is coding and software products

    • Quality assurance has been an issue with the last couple of projects.
    • We need to implement some mandatory tests for code checkin
    • We could use some development guidelines in order to avoid spaghetti
    • Decisions for specific projects should be based around performance indicators and lowest-value stage thinking
  • Information gathering and dissemination is important.

    • We are a small shop and have done this by brute force up till now. Slack is helpful for some of this. Daily stand-ups are helpful.
    • Need to implement one-on-one's up-and-down my chain, along with some reminders to do it
    • High level delegation only works when parties share a common information base. If there is not a common understanding of operational environment then this only works with massive micro-management (Low TRM) which is not high leverage.
  • Monitoring is not meddling or micro-managing

    • It is information gathering and fixing problems/quality assurance at the lowest-value stage possible.
    • "Monitoring is the difference between a supervisor's delegating a task and abdicating it."
    • Monitoring should be based on Task Relevant Maturity (TRM)
    • Low TRM = almost micro-management, structured task relevant style (what, how, when)
    • Medium TRM = structure is self-provided, emphasis on two-way communication, support, mutual reasoning
    • High TRM = minimal involvement, mutually establish objectives and monitoring schedule

Key takeaways for me are:

I can create a structure that will allow me to think in this style and be effective. I can measure this, and that makes me happy. e.g.,

  • How long since my last one-on-one w/ so-and-so?
  • How can I ensure everybody is on a common information base?
  • Is this project the highest leverage use of time?
  • What is the TRM of the person doing a task?
  • Am I doing the highest leverage activity?
  • How can I increase the output of my work?
  • How can I increase the output of my team's work?

20170428

I need to know approximately what everybody is working on.
I need to know what the most important projects are atm.

Do those two things match up?

I need to monitor progress (no matter the TRM). Do not abdicate anything.
I need to know where to look for any documentation/messages about those projects.
I need to know the TRM of the person working on a task.
I need to know the relevant dates for this project
* Date assigned
* Approximate next check-in point, high level of what might be discussed


Lit Notes

As a manager I won't always have my hands directly on the keyboard, directly on the product. Therefore my performance is not measured by my output but rather the output of my team and the organization I influence.

The concept of "management" is entirely about getting things done via delegation of tasks. Therefore, proper delegation of tasks is the highest leverage way for me to increase my output. My job is to understand what needs to be done, what resources are necessary to accomplish it, and how to motivate and and delegate the tasks to people who are capable of doing it, then measuring the output and adjusting course as necessary.

Task-relevant maturity is an important concept to customize the amount of management/oversight that any individual needs. It is my job to understand the task-relevant maturity for each person on my team:
- Low TRM = almost micro-management, structured task relevant style (what, how, when)
- Medium TRM = structure is self-provided, emphasis on two-way communication, support, mutual reasoning
- High TRM = minimal involvement, mutually establish objectives and monitoring schedule

Performance indicators are important to measure output, productivity, individual task-relevant maturity, and whether we are advancing toward our goals as an organization.
Today's orgs often use OKRs for this.

One-on-one meetings with everybody in the org are important for several reasons. Andy Grove writes "Ninety minutes of your time can enhance the quality of your subordinate’s work for two weeks, or for some eighty-plus hours." A one-on-one can:
- help catch and fix problems when they’re small
- coach and develop people
- gain valuable insights from sharing information up and down the org

1-on-one sub-notes:

An in-person one-on-one meeting should last an hour or more. A video conference can be shorter. This gives plenty of time for personal interaction plus the professional agenda. Both people need to feel like there is enough time to get into thorny issues.

Ask the report to set the agenda for the meeting. It is their meeting, to talk about what they want to. This helps the other person accomplish their agenda and frees up my time. (If I have 7 direct reports, that is 7 hours of time freed up.) I still need to spend some time preparing, but on my side it will be around top-down communication, KPIs, and personal concerns. It is especially my job to show empathy, ask questions, connect, and make sure everything has been discussed.

Use task-relevant maturity to decide how often to have a one-on-one with any specific person. Anybody who is immature or inexperienced needs more frequent one-on-ones (perhaps every week), and less frequently (perhaps once every few weeks) with veterans.

Monitoring is not meddling or micro-managing. It is information gathering, fixing problems, quality assurance. This is the KPI/OKR focus which makes for good management decisions, productive use of time, and clear conversations. Monitoring is the difference between a supervisor's delegating a task and abdicating it.
The amount of monitoring necessary for an individual or team should be based on task-relevant maturity.

Especially for remote teams it is important that everybody shares a common information base. This is a core communication principle for teams. The shared information base can come from a Single Source of Truth, it can be project management + KPI dashboards, it can be recurring meetings.


Source:
  • Andy Grove
Tags:
  • management
Relevant: