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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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slide2
Achievers
  • Farhan Thawar, VP Engineering
  • January 23rd, 2013
  • @fnthawar @xtremelabs
slide3

300 -> 436 Members

meetup.com/achieverstech

achievers.com/tech

slide4

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

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide5

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide6

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide7

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide9

@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

slide14
ROWE

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide15

Multitasking is a fail

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide16

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

slide19
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

slide21

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

slide29

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

how to work1
How to Work
  • 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

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

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

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide34

Deep over broad

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide35

Strengths over Weaknesses

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide36

Smart over dumb

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide37

Low-information diet

  • Stop reading temporal information (HBR still relevant)
  • Reading hierarchy

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

air traffic control
Air traffic control
  • I know less than you do

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

does it work
Does it work?

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

span of control
Span of control
  • Average is 8
  • 150 engineers

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

stats
Stats
  • 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
  • “You guys are doing something amazing” – Fred Wilson
  • “I’ve never seen this before in the valley” – YogenDalal
  • “Uh… wow?” – Brad Feld

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide43

Thank you and we’re hiring 

Ask me anything:

@fnthwar / [email protected]

@fnthawar

@xtremelabs

slide44

Work at Achievers

achievers.com/careers

[email protected]

@achieverstech

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