How to David Michael

This blog post is based off the “How to Rands” article by Rands (Michael Lopp). It is my personal interpretation of similar ideas in how I work with team members.

I have once again taken on a people leader role at an organization after 1.5 years of being a individual contributor. As part of this I am working on organizing my thoughts and being more mindful of what good leadership looks like. is an excellent resource and I encourage all other leaders or those who aspire to be to review it.

This blog post is a work in progress and will be added to in the future as I have more time to thoughtfully add to it.


Hi, welcome to the team. I am glad to be working with you at $COMPANY.

I am new to a leadership position at $COMPANY and it is going to take me at least a quarter to get up to speed on existing projects, team initiatives and workflows. My first goals are to get to know all team members and product stakeholders well. To do this I will be attending meetings that may not be necessary, taking notes and asking a lot of questions. Some of the questions may seem like common sense to others, but my goal is to make sure I understand they why of something, even if it might be obvious.

The purpose of this document is to define how I will work with others to establish these relationships and understandings. This is an evolving process but it is worth initial review of how I plan to do this.

Establishing Relationships

For all team members on the team I will schedule weekly 1:1 meetings, I will always have a 1:1 with team members every week unless their or my vacation directly interferes with the timing of it. 1:1 meetings may be rescheduled but they will never be cancelled unless the vacation issue mentioned is reached. I will maintain both a shared note space in a chat medium for us to communicate topics prior to the meeting. I don’t exist topics to be there prior to the meeting but it is helpful.

I will also schedule 1:1 meetings weekly or fortnightly with other team stakeholders. This might be Scum Leaders, Project Owners, or other technical team members we interface with regularly. These 1:1 meetings will operate similarly to team 1:1 meetings with the exception of frequency.

Guiding Principles

These are principles I seek to guide me in my work. I may not always live up to them but hope to continuously do better.

Respect others humanity. We are all human beings. I will treat others as people, recognizing that they are both able to do great things and also able to make mistakes. No matter what they goals of the organization are, my work will align with the humanity of others. Employees may come and go from an organization, but they still deserve respect.

Given enough time, we can do it. Work given to any team can be accomplished given a long enough runway. What this means is there might be somethings we as a team can accomplish, but perhaps shouldn’t because from a cost/benefit perspective it does not make sense. It is part of my role to determine that. This means that if I think we can do it, in a reasonable time, we may.

Openness is preferred over secrecy. Being open in an organization, even when it makes you look bad is preferred over hiding things. It has two benefits:

  1. It instills trust in the team. Despite failures, we own up to it.
  2. It encourages us to do our best, because we will not hide the failures.

We will get better. We will not be content to continue doing the same thing. We will review our work, find ways to do it better, and implement those changes. This is an open process, all team members can and should be willing to provide input into how we can be better.

Hanlon’s razor is real.

never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

We should never default to thinking someone either within the team or external is actively trying to malicious. It is far more likely it is a mistake.

We should do it. If you have an idea that you think is beneficial, the team agrees, let’s do it. Often times the best ideas come as throw away ideas that seem far fetched. Let’s go for it. Shoot for the moon, lots of ideas fail. If we fail, we can start over and the only thing we have lost possibly is time.


If you have done something good, I want others to know that. I will publicly let you and others know it. If something not good has happened, I will let you know privately. Some believe we should call out things publicly, if something “not good” is intentionally done in my opinion, I will shut it down, then privately discuss it later.

I want feedback from others. This is how I become better. I know I am imperfect and want to improve myself. If you have advice for me, be thoughtful but do let me know it. I will try my best to take it to heart. Be warned though, I am human and I do make mistakes frequently. I think this should extend to other members of the team as well.

Things like goals and reviews are a necessary part of work life. I promise you, it is as uncomfortable for me as it is for you. We will always adhere to at least the requirements of $COMPANY for goals/reviews, if not more frequently. The goal is to help everyone improve, so I will always try to have feedback. This is true even if someone is doing incredibly well.