blogbookshire me

Manager README

A comprehensive documentation of how I work

This document is an effort to explain my role, my values, my expectations and my quirks as a manager. It might seem a bit weird, but I see it as a way to gain time when starting to work together. Of course this does not replace actually learning to know each other! If you want more context regarding why I wrote this, please read this blog article.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is a living document and, as such, it will change over time. Remember as well that I’m here to help you succeed and will do my best to adapt my management style to you, so please don’t see anything here as set in stone and feel free to come and discuss specific points with me.

Finally, if you see a discrepancy between this document and my behaviour, please tell me.

Note to future teammates and employers: This is obviously catered to the way my current company works. Some things will remain true no matter where I am at, but others might change depending on the context.

My Role

The way I see it, my job is to find the right spot between what the company wants to be accomplished and what the person wants to do, with a focus on medium to long term.

Finding the right spot

We’ll never have a perfect overlap, so there are tradeoffs to be made. To caricature, the easy and first tradeoff to agree on is that the company should pay the employee (it would have been easier to pay nothing), and the employee should work on projects helping the company (it would have been easier to stay at home and chill).

To get to a good spot I need to have a good understanding of both parties and figure out the best solution to move forward, and then translate this into actions. The actual things to do are massively depending on the context, so my day to day varies a lot. I might work on budgets, review pull requests, prepare performance reviews, meet job candidates, write some code to fix a flaky test…

If I do my job correctly, it will lead to great people wanting to join and stay while delivering value for the company, ultimately helping everyone succeed.

What I Value

I love when things fit together well and deliver value.

It can be a group of people working well together, a piece of code shipped without bugs, a well crafted design, a great piece of software architecture, an elegant solution to a user’s problem… if it works well and serves a purpose, then I most likely enjoy and be proud to be associated with it!

Because of this I like optimising things — no matter the thing. Meetings need to be focused and interesting, code without bugs, processes simple and clear. In my spare time I even play games like Factorio or Oxygen Not Included - games about automatisation and optimisation!

In a work environment, I value…

What I Can Help You With

My goal will be to give you what you need to be successful in this company. There are multiple topics I can help with, and most of them we’ll figure out together, but here is a list of the things I usually do:

Personality Quirks



Personality Tests

I don’t entirely believe in putting people into boxes, but personality tests can be a decent proxy to understand someone. So if you’re into that, here are my results:

I generally agree with the results and can’t deny that I do have traits from the various profiles.

Day To Day Framework

I’m Available For You

I always make myself available during our 1:1s. We might also have some ad-hoc meetings about ongoing projects. I understand that this might be too little for you, hindering your chances of success. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to ask me questions,, as I will always have 5 minutes to spare for you. Even if my calendar is completely full. Even if I look busy. Keep in mind that 5 minutes will never be too much for me, and can sometimes save you a lot of time or headaches.

A small note however: please always give me some context when asking for my time. I really don’t like “do you have 5 minutes?” messages on Slack. Prefer “do you have 5 minutes to talk about X?”, I will appreciate it greatly.

Work Hours

I don’t expect any particular schedule from you, just that you are present for any important event and spend a significant chunk of both the morning and afternoon present at the same time as other team members. In some cases you’ll be asked to show up at a given hour, this will be rare but I’ll then expect you to show up on time.

If you have constraints, like practicing a sport or picking your kids from school, don’t hesitate to let me know and make it clear in your calendar whether you are present or not.

Work From Home

I strongly believe that my team should operate correctly even if everyone is remote, and I generally have a bias in favour of remote work.

Before going remote, you usually have to send me a work from home request. If you do it a few days a month I will always validate them. If you want to work remotely more regularly, let’s talk about it. If you want to be fully working from home, that’s another discussion that might require a contract renegotiation.

I will assume the following and if you respect them, remote work won’t be a topic of discussion between us:


I very rarely refuse holiday requests. Use your best judgment and understand the context. In doubt, ask me before booking your flight or planning your holidays.


If you are my direct report, we will have a recurring meeting. Here is what you can expect from it:

Yearly Performance Review

Every year we’ll have a meeting of a few hours about your performances. Ideally we will have discussed everything during the year and will use this moment to wrap the year up. I will also give you some vision over what’s going to happen in the coming years, the different career paths available to you , etc.

This will also be the best moment to discuss salary changes.

Reading my Calendar

My schedule can get pretty complicated. I have one kid, and I have to pick her up from the daycare in some evenings and/or mornings. I also have a lot of meetings, interviews, 1:1s…

However, my calendar I almost always up to date and public, so please check it before booking a meeting with me. If you can’t find a spot, ask me if I can find one.

Contacting Me

If you are waiting on me for something and I’m not doing anything, maybe I forgot or maybe I planned on getting it done later than you expected. In this situation, don’t hesitate to remind me. I’ll never get mad about this and will appreciate the fact that you want your project to move forward.

Expectations & Feedback Loop

My First Expectations

We hired you because of your experience and skills, so my role is not to tell you how to do your job. Because of this assumption, I’m expecting that you are able to operate as a professional, making smart decisions moving your projects forward and while communicating along the way.

This doesn’t mean that I think you’ll do everything on your own. I am here to provide you guidance, mentorship (either through me, or by finding the people you should be getting it from) and assistance. When you need help, I expect you to not hesitate and ask for it. If you feel you made a mistake, you should share it openly with me so that we can figure out how to improve.

Expressing Other Expectations

I try to make my expectations as clear as possible, I just find it to be a simpler way to work and communicate. If you don’t know what I’m expecting of you, please ask for clarifications — let’s not wait until we misunderstand each other! If you disagree with my expectations, please let me know, I can adjust or explain my position.

If you have expectations for me, please let me know and try to be clear as well.

Disappointed > Surprised

If you mess up in some way, please let me know. If I hear it from you, I’ll be disappointed but at least I can help and we can figure out a way together to deal with it.

Learning about the problem from someone else outside of my team would be a significant issue for me.

I’ll Make Mistakes

I’ll do my best, but I’m bound to make mistakes. When it happens, please assume that I have good intentions. Then don’t hesitate to let me know if you think that I’m making a poor decision or acting in a way that doesn’t make sense to you.

I’ll be happy to give you more context to explain my actions or try to fix whatever is wrong. I’ll also do my best to react in a productive fashion to any negative feedback.

What “Done” Means To Me

To me any project is considered done when it’s live and bringing value to our end users. To get there it will require an appropriate amount of followup past just completing the initial task.

For instance if you wrote the entire feature but it’s not shipped, then it’s not done. If the code is live, but the feature is broken or not working as expected, it’s not done either. If the design is created but is not implementable then it’s not done.

Sharing Feedback

With Me

If you have a problem with a way I’m doing something, or if you feel like I’m making a mistake, I will appreciate it if you shared it with me. Just come to me whenever it feels the best for you, during our 1:1s or any private setting we can find each other in. If nothing is planned, you can book a room and ask me for five minutes.

Please don’t wait for too long if something is on your mind: the sooner I know about it, the sooner I can acknowledge it and possibly act on it.

I know that sharing negative feedback is hard, but I will really appreciate you taking the time to help me progress and identify problems.

Regarding positive feedback , if you enjoyed something I did, I’d also be very happy to hear about it. Not only because it’ll make me feel good, but also so that I can do more of it! I’m ok if you do it privately or publicly.

With You

When something goes wrong , we’ll most likely discuss it and I’ll try to give relevant feedback in the most constructive way possible. This is of course not to belittle you, but mainly to figure out ways to improve and keep learning and progressing. It’s also a good place to figure out misunderstandings and squash problems before they get out of control.

I will always try to give you the feedback as soon as possible, but in some cases I’ll need to confirm my gut feeling, or gather additional data. In other cases I might miss the error entirely for a while and only discover it randomly a long time after. The consequence of this is that in some cases some feedback will come a couple of weeks after the fact.

Regarding positive feedback , it’s not my personality to be a massively enthusiastic person that will jump around at achievements. I’ll sometimes mention a great achievement at a standup, meeting or in a slack channel. If you’re not comfortable with this and prefer only private “praises”, please let me know.

I will also mention it to you in private within a couple of weeks of the achievement, be it at a coffee break, on Slack or at a 1:1.