1 min read

Get the Order of Things Right

As a leader, you need to make progress, build the right products, improve existing ones and scale them to heights they've never reached.

You have internal and external interests that compete for the same finite resource pool to achieve this.

There are only so many people you can hire and only so many things you can work on at any given time.

Companies get stuck because they generate so many initiatives that depend on the same resource pool of people to get anything done.

They complete projects which generate recommendations that, in turn, become more initiatives.

Over time people get attached to buzzwords related to these initiatives that have no substance. This creates expectations of value that cannot be met, and people get frustrated because nothing seems to get delivered.

This is why getting the order of things right (and communicating it) is crucial for technical leaders.

Realize that good ideas are rarely wrong, but they can be (and are often) at the wrong time.

If the distance between where you are now and where the good idea wants to take you is too great, you will spend more time on the hypothetical rather than concrete business value creation.

Few things are more frustrating to A player team members than being in this type of distracting work environment.

Instead, you need new ways to consider when to take on initiatives and in what order.

Everything you work on should be evaluated through the lens of customer/business value. It should be clear what you'll gain from each initiative you work on.

Next, there should be clear next steps, objectives you can set, metrics you can establish, and experiments you can conduct. You should be able to articulate what you currently do not know but need to know to succeed.

If most of these are false, you probably need to break down the initiative or scrub it completely.

Next, you need to get the entire team together for quarterly planning where the initiatives you've decided to work on are shared and ensure there are no resource conflicts involving the same people.

From this planning, you can then communicate to the business and set expectations on what you're working on and, importantly, what you're not working on.

This will create the space for your team to focus, execute and consistently deliver business value rather than just talk about it.