Monday 3-2-1 – timeboxing tasks, onboarding buddies, coaching 💡
Hey, Luca here 👋 welcome to the Monday 3-2-1 ✨
Every Monday I will send you an email like this with 3 short ideas about engineering management, technical strategy, and good hiring.
You will also receive the regular long-form one on Thursday, like the last one:
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1) ⏱️ Calendar & Timeboxing
When it comes to planning everyday tasks, I do two main things:
🗓️ I put tasks on my calendar, using Akiflow. Akiflow is hands-down the best calendar app I have ever used.
This combination of calendar + pomodoros has been very effective for me. Here is how:
Calendar — putting tasks on my calendar helps me with motivation and getting into a state of flow. Having my day fully organized removes the friction of thinking what to do next.
Time-boxing — the pomodoro technique helps me stay productive during the day. By keeping regular pauses I feel I can better manage my energy so I never really burn-out. Also, it helps me measure my productivity: my output has become the number of pomodoros I can do every day (usually around 12).
More about tools I use everyday 👇
2) ❓ Coaching is about questions
Mentorship is about answers, Coaching is about questions.
Quoting Robert Blakemore, coaching is:
a partnership that helps the individual work out what they need to do themselves to improve and, in the process, what motivates them and what gets in their way (attitudes, prejudices, preconceptions, assumptions)
Coaching does not provide any direct solution — but rather helps the individual to find solutions themselves. To do so, the coach should ask questions in a way that is authentically curious and not judgemental.
Here is a great list by Lara Hogan that shows how you can turn "regular", sometimes judgy questions into open, psychologically safe ones 👇
I wrote more about coaches, mentors, and sponsors in a previous article 👇
3) 👯 Onboarding buddies
Some call them buddies, Wework calls them Onboarding Champions, Robinhood calls them Onboarding Mentors. The point is simple: having someone accountable for the onboarding process of a new hire.
This is opposed to the common strategy of having the training done by multiple people, each about their own domain. A dedicated person to run everything, instead, has many advantages:
👑 Go-to person — new hires don’t know how the company works and who is responsible for what. It is reassuring to know who to reach out to for any issue or question, without having to figure it out by themselves.
✨ Cover the intangibles — the onboarding is also made of cultural and personal moments, like meeting and greeting co-workers, or having lunch together. Buddies make sure these don’t fall through the cracks.
🌱 Growth opportunity — people are generally happy to mentor new hires. You can consider it part of their growth, and also a rite of passage among engineers — a sign that you are now a full, trusted part of the team.
The buddy / onboarding manager doesn’t need to be the same person as the new hire’s manager. It might be even helpful to separate these roles and have people who are appointed to onboarding duties.
More tips about onboarding engineers 👇
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I wish you a great week! ☀️