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Achievers Farhan Thawar, VP Engineering January 23rd, 2013 @ fnthawar @ xtremelabs. 300 -> 436 Members. meetup.com/ achieverstech achievers.com/tech. The world ’ s top brands partner with us to prototype and develop outstanding mobile, tablet and smart TV experiences. @ fnthawar

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  • Achievers

  • Farhan Thawar, VP Engineering

  • January 23rd, 2013

  • @fnthawar @xtremelabs


300 -> 436 Members

meetup.com/achieverstech

achievers.com/tech


The world’s top brands partner with us to prototype and develop outstanding mobile, tablet and smart TV experiences

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Background
Background

  • Waterloo Comp Sci/ElecEng

  • U of T MBA – Financial Engineering

  • Trilogy

  • Celestica

  • Microsoft

  • Achievers (!)

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Agenda
Agenda

  • Freedom vs. Frameworks

  • How to work

  • Career advice

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Disclaimer
Disclaimer

Source: The Black Swan

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Freedom vs frameworks
Freedom vs. Frameworks

  • But first, a story…..

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Multitasking is a fail

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Parkinson’s Law rules

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Agile
Agile

  • Daily standups (company, platform, team)

  • Pivotal tracker

  • DL

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Ship every week
Ship every week

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Map

  • Mastery

    • pairing

  • Autonomy

    • No micro managing

  • Purpose

    • Working on stuff being used by millions of people

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Physical space
Physical Space

  • In-office vs. WFH

    • Breakfast hacks

  • Sit close together vs. offices (Joel and 37Signals)

  • Great machines + fast internet

  • Location

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Higher-order Choices

Lower-order Choices

4a) Means as: Formulation vs. Implementation

  • Formulate decisions

  • Brain

  • Head up hierarchy

  • Sell to get “buy-in”

  • Create control procedures

Leaders

Rank & File

  • Implement decisions

  • Arms and legs

  • Work in hierarchy

  • Get “bought-in”

  • Get controlled

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Freedom vs frameworks1
Freedom vs. Frameworks

  • Flat hierarchy

    • Well not that flat now…..but, few approvals

  • Responsibility not accountability

    • “Accountability is what’s left once responsibility has been subtracted” – PasiSahlberg

    • “Tight controls cause blowups” – NasimTaleb

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Freedom vs frameworks2
Freedom vs. Frameworks

  • Approvals

    • “You should feel the dangers and stressors” – NasimTaleb

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


How to work
How to work

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


At a high level
At a high level

  • “Managers create work for each other” – Tim Burns

  • No Policies (rework)

  • 1:1’s

  • Faster to talk to someone than email/phone/IM

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Socials
Socials

  • Wed social

  • 3:3 lunches

  • Friday social

  • Team events

    • Batman!

  • Interns

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Pairing 2 1 ratio
Pairing (2:1 Ratio)

  • Agile everything

  • Pairing all the time

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs



1. Consider options and make decision, informing other party subsequently

2. Provide options to other party along with own recommendation on choice

3. Generate options for other party and ask other party to make choice

4. Describe a problem to other party and ask for specific help in structuring it

5. Ask other party to solve problem, but make it clear you will watch and learn for next time

6. Drop problem on other party’s desk and signal helplessness

Responsibility Ladder

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


How to work1
How to Work subsequently

  • Remove processes

    • “Let process be implemented by those who practice it” – Yishan Wong, first Facebook Eng Manager

  • The great decider!

  • Fight fires/sales calls/unblock engineers (or anyone else)

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Career advice
Career Advice subsequently

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Career imprinting
Career Imprinting subsequently

  • “Where you work early in your career shapes the kind of leader you become later on” - HBR

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Deep over broad subsequently

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Strengths over Weaknesses subsequently

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Smart over dumb subsequently

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Low-information diet subsequently

  • Stop reading temporal information (HBR still relevant)

  • Reading hierarchy

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Air traffic control
Air traffic control subsequently

  • I know less than you do

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Does it work
Does it work? subsequently

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Span of control
Span of control subsequently

  • Average is 8

  • 150 engineers

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Stats
Stats subsequently

  • Can hire 60+ coops from Waterloo in first round (get more resumes than FB, MSFT, Twitter, Apple, Square, Yelp, Foursquare)

  • Low attrition

  • Always outrun other teams

  • Less hero syndrome

  • More female engineers (17%)

  • Happy people

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Quotes
Quotes subsequently

  • “You guys are doing something amazing” – Fred Wilson

  • “I’ve never seen this before in the valley” – YogenDalal

  • “Uh… wow?” – Brad Feld

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Thank you and we’re hiring subsequently

Ask me anything:

@fnthwar / [email protected]

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs


Work at subsequentlyAchievers

achievers.com/careers

[email protected]

@achieverstech


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