Gokul K's README

What is this doc?

This document is a user guide for me and how I work. It captures what you can expect out of me, how I like to work, common work-related patterns, and the principles that help and direct me in work. The intent of this document is to accelerate our working relationship with this document.

Welcome to Fyle 🤗

Firstly, I'm glad to welcome you to Fyle and our team. Wishing you all the best in your career along with us.

What are my values?

- Health, Family and Work. This is my order of life priorities and also would want yours to be.

- Learning is forever and everywhere. I tend to see everything as a learning. This keeps me curious about many things around me and makes me just observe and understand it than react/respond.

As a result of which, I'm an introvert. An INFJ personality type. Can read more about my personality here.

What am I doing in Fyle?

As an Engineering Manager with Fyle, my job is to set up my team for success.

Success to me is simply helping individuals reach their professional and personal goals. End of the day, I feel happy about the impact I make on people I work with than any other results.

How do I work?

I follow just one productivity rule (after trying out 100+ such productivity tips.) "There is no time management, only attention management".

I try to give my complete attention to wherever I am currently at. Be it meetings or slack or focus work. Due to this, I try to batch schedule multiple related works together so I get minimal context switching.

Work timings

I usually start work around 9 AM. If I'm not, I will update my slack status.

If I had to be away anytime during work, will update my status or will update the stakeholders of the meetings early.

Vacations

I take vacations. You should too. I take at least a week-long vacation once a year. (Couldn't do this since the corona era 😢)

A short disconnect from work is when you can recharge for your best work.

Slack preferences

  • We value open and transparent communication and expect almost all messages in a relevant slack channel. We have at least one slack channel for each of the projects/initiatives/responsibilities we have.
  • You can ping me whenever you want in a slack channel. I will usually respond in a few minutes.
  • If I'm doing focus work, I don't want any distractions. In such cases, I would've put my next response time in slack status. Example: "focus-work. Will respond to threads after 2 PM"
  • If you want to reach me immediately (p0), you can call on the phone.
  • If I have missed responding to an important message for a good amount of time (say 1 hour). Most likely, I forgot or got distracted by the myriad of slack threads🧵. You can DM me in these cases to gain my attention. DMs are an easier way to gain my attention but would recommend to you to use them mindfully. Slack threads easily pile up and arranging it without getting distracted is not my game yet.
  • I may slack you during non-working hours, but I do not expect a response until your next working day. This is just to help myself to write down so I don't forget.

Other communication preferences

  • ClickUp: I visit ClickUp once a day to review Pull Requests and to check if anybody @mentioned me in a task.
  • Email: Nowadays I never open mail, unless there is an OTP or someone asks me to see a mail. Sorry, not sorry.

Meetings

There are 2 types of recurring 1x1 meetings we will have.

Operational sync-ups:

To discuss the operational stuff (initiatives or tasks or projects or Pull Requests or even bugs🐞). If there is nothing to discuss in a scheduled meeting, we can skip it by DMing in slack.

Will be scheduled at least once a week to even daily 15 mins depending on the priority of the operations we are at.

Non-operational 1x1 meetings:

We discuss more meta things on work like - career path, feedbacks, how you feel about work, and other problems with work, anything you wanted to know about our team or company or a suggestion about how we work.

You can bring up anything related to work and the stage is just for you.

Before this meeting, would recommend you to spend at least 15 mins before the meeting to prepare and reflect on the past week of your work and gather points to discuss. I do this before each 1x1 with anyone in the team.

Wouldn't recommend skipping these meetings unless other priority work came up. It's fine to spend just a few minutes having a chat at least about how you are feeling about work in the past week.

Feel free to re-schedule at anytime comfortable for you.

🩺 If you want to talk to me, ping me in DM and let’s talk. Very few things are more important than talking to you.


1x1s are an important way to keep yourself going with work. If anything comes to your mind often and you want some clarity, feel free to ping me and I'll arrange a time.

Initiatives' communications

I expect the initiative level updates to be put in the specific slack channels.

Weekly goals

On Mondays would want you to plan for the entire week. This helps other stakeholders in getting to know what's happening and more importantly, it helps you get better as an engineer.

Break down your work into smaller chunks that you can accomplish on a day and plan for the week.

It's completely fine to miss the plan by a few days. We all underestimate the tasks.

Blockers

If there is a blocker, please point it out explicitly and publicly. I hate being blocked on me for anything. So, the sooner you make noise, the sooner I will help you out of it.

Updates

Any update about the initiative to be put up in Slack also. It helps us to look back on the decisions we made because we will forget them.

Would recommend putting it as descriptively as possible. Because, the easier a stakeholder can get all the information from Slack, the lesser the number of surprises to come and the lesser the number of back and forth, thus saving all of our time. This doubles the productivity since we are remote. ⏳

Meeting notes

  • Any meeting I run, I'm supposed to put the meeting notes. I would expect you to do the same.
  • Meeting notes goes a long way than you think. Even if discussed in the meeting with all stakeholders, please add as meeting notes.
  • This helps as a reminder for your action items, a guide to know what happen a few weeks ago, remember why we made certain decisions, it helps stakeholders who missed the meeting to get the crux, and I could go on.
  • I will be posting our non-operational 1x1 meeting notes. Please remind me if I'm missing this.

Code reviews

I believe, the number of code comments in a pull request(PR) you get is inversely proportional to the standard of your code. The more the comments, the poorer the code.

PR is an important deliverable where we can assess you. Would expect you to learn from each of the PR comments you get. If you are not clear on why I'm requesting a certain change in code, let's discuss and get to a consensus.

I would expect any PR sent to be less than 50 lines for review. If you don’t know how to reduce them, please ask me or others. I can help you to break down a PR into smaller and meaningful chunks.

Customers first

I follow this philosophy which brought success to numerous companies. Giving first priority to the customers of anything we do. It can be easily explained in any context - big or small.

When it comes to running a business, put the customers first. When it comes to running a team, put the individuals working in the team as the first priority. When it comes to the product feature, put users first. When it comes to sending a pull request, put the reviewer of the PR first. When it comes to writing a document, give readers priority.

This helps easily make decisions yourselves and move towards autonomy. There are many other things to learn before making decisions independently, but I believe this is a simple and effective starting point for all those.

Feedback

I firmly believe that feedback is at the core of building trust in a team.

Feedback is a 2-way road. Both of the parties involved should be able to give and receive feedback. When one person gives it, the other person should be able to receive it.

Feedback to Gokul

  • Leadership comes from everywhere. I might be doing things in a non-effective way in some areas. I want you to point this to me.
  • If you are not understanding any process and want clarity, shoot a message and I can explain.
  • If there is any feedback for me, it's your prime right and duty to mention it to me in any form of communication.
  • Every time I get feedback from my team or even my manager, eventually I feel that I'm on the right track. Other times, I feel like either I'm not on the right track or not given enough attention to my work.
  • So, please give me feedback and make my day. 🥥

Feedback to you

  • I give feedback more immediately. I believe that the feedback should be immediate, clear, and actionable, so people can learn quickly.
  • I'm currently working on a weekly feedback schedule, where I try to give feedback(good and bad) at least once a week. Please point to me if I'm missing this.
  • I will communicate the feedback in 1x1 channels, our operational sync ups and non-operational 1x1s.
  • At Fyle, there is a formal performance review cycle that occurs every quarter year, this is also a place for feedback.
  • Disagreement in feedback is fine. If there is a difference in opinion then the sooner we disagree, the sooner we’ll discuss and gain trust and respect each other more.
  • The origin of the feedback would be at least one incident and I will point you to those while giving feedback. I will also let you know what is the impact of the incident before giving you the feedback.
  • I will ensure the feedback is more actionable for you. If not, let me know immediately and we can fix this together.

1x1 channel

I would've created a private Slack channel for the two of us.

Can use this channel to

  • Capture topics for our next 1x1
  • Provide a handy historic record of what we’ve discussed in 1x1s.

The nature of the messages in this channel will be important but not urgent. This channel can be checked once a day.

For anything urgent, I will use DMs and Meetings.

Currently, I'm trying to get better at

  • managing my meeting times and getting a few hours of focus work every day
  • making peace with all the slack threads effectively

This document is living and breathing 🌱 and likely always incomplete. I update it frequently and would appreciate feedback on this document. If you've been working with me already and wanted to add/change some of it, please do like, share, subscribe and comment.

Lastly, I'm super grateful and happy that you have actually read this doc so far. 🤗

Blog picture credits: https://unsplash.com/photos/tJefy_Vu7Po

Gokul Kathiresan

I am a Member of Technical Staff at Fyle. When not busy, I am mostly found ogling at anything that contains sugar.

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