Guide for Working with Tarun

I’m writing this document to give you a better sense of me and my unique values, quirks, and growth areas so that we can develop the strongest relationship possible.


I truly believe that Stronger teams make Stronger progress 🥊.

  • This doc would act as a single place where people can read how I function and manage.
  • Setting expectations, loud and clear.
  • Document and iterate on my philosophies basis feedback that I would receive from readers. And improve. Yay!

🤲 My Values

🤝 People First

  • I work for People and I work with People. Ideas, companies, and brands are secondary to me (and to any company).
  • I believe that first and the only product of any company is the team, and that awesome team builds the products for the company.
  • People » Product » Profits

🖖 Trust

  • I start with 100% trust in people. So no one has to prove anything at the start!
  • The only direction it will go from there is down. Let’s work together so this won’t ever happen.
  • Read more on Trust Battery here

👐 Openness

  • This is the most important (but unfortunately least valued) element that I thrive for.
  • I am open to feedback, suggestions. And I expect everyone around me should open for it.
  • Feedback can be both positive and negative, and I’m always open to it any time of day.
  • We should try following Radical Candor (Challenge directly and Care personally):- Radical Candor really just means saying what you think while also giving a damn about the person you’re saying it to.
    • Three dimensions are required for people to continue to give you feedback:
      • Safety should be high (no fear of retaliation)
      • Effort should be low (no rebuttals)
      • Benefit should be high (positive results)

😇 Positivity

  • What we do is hard. That gives us strength and helps us grow quickly.
  • And hard job needs strength, courage and mainly Positivity.
  • Failure is part and parcel of the game, moving forward irrespective of that is the real game 😇.

🐒 Communication

  • They say that the job of a leader is to communicate, and in here with me, everybody is a leader so you should be champions in communication. This is gold read for communication - Read here
  • “Explicit communication is better than implicit” - Don’t assume anything, always clarify.
  • Ask what you want from me(and I’ll do the same), until and unless you’ll say for it I won’t know it. Again don’t assume.
  • Meetings, deadlines, and things like that should have impeccable Agreements and try following them. Ref:- Note
  • Be proactive in communication than reactive. Be proactive so I can shift into the reactive mode.
  • It’s important to communicate bad news early than good news. Generally, the bad news is the one which requires actions to be taken and plans to be altered, so it is important we communicate bad news fast so that things can be course-corrected early and we as a team can reach a better place overall early.

💥 Thought Partner/Enabler

  • I’ll work as an enabler(Enabler/Thought Partner). Most of the times, I’ll just point you towards the right path and solution, rather than outrightly telling solutions to problems.
  • I want everyone around me to be “Forest Lion” who is capable of finding & hunting problems on their own vs “Circus Lion” who does everything as per master’s instructions.
  • Most of the times when we would have a problem at hand, I would expect you to come up with a set of solutions. And then I would definitely ask questions around it, like:-
    • What do you suggest we do to solve the problem of putting minimum effort and maximum quality and ROI?
    • What are the pros and cons of each proposed solution? Basically trade off?
    • What do you think are edge cases of this problem and solution? Would your solution cover all aspects?

👨‍💻 For Teams

I trust you, and I expect you to trust me!

  • I start with 100% trust in you. So you don’t have to prove anything 🙃.
  • The only direction it can go from here is down.

Escalate quickly!

  • Escalate technical problems as quickly as possible?
  • Before escalating,
    • Make sure you have understood the problem
    • If possible, you have figured out possible solutions. Or at-least an Idea about if someone has already solved it.
    • How is it going to impact our business decisions like deadlines, releases, etc?
  • Openly discuss/raise issues about
    • Leadership decisions.
    • Unreasonable deadlines (if you think they are).
    • Disrespectful behavior from me or anyone else in the team.
  • Accepting and acknowledging that
    • Failure is not bad but making the same mistake twice is a crime.
    • It’s worse when we blame others for failure. This leads to missing out on self-development opportunities.

I admire and respect openness.

  • The majority of issues are a result of poor or infrequent communication. It’s important we communicate well and often. And I expect the same thing from you.
  • None of the issues/questions are silly or unimportant. Shoot it at the team, and we all will tackle them.
  • Always remember,
    • Praise in public.
    • Criticize in private.

I work for you and not the other way round.

  • The first and foremost priority for me is to unblock you from every hurdle that you come across.
  • Your success is my success. I will succeed when you succeed and vice-versa.
  • And I can do my job well if you trust and believe in the fact that I am working for you, and vice versa.
  • There are very few things that I do that are more important than spending time talking with you if you want to talk with me. Feel entirely free to put time on my calendar to talk whenever you want. (Actually, that applies to others here: Feel free to just send meeting requests rather than asking for permission from anyone here)
    • You may or may not find an open slot in my calendar for some talks.
    • But Forget my calendar, just send me an invite.

I am not comfortable with micro-management

  • So I don’t do it. I believe in you and would love to give you all the power of managing your work.
  • But as Uncle Ben said, with great power comes great responsibility. This is not an exception.
  • It’s your responsibility to keep everyone in the team on the same page about your work as the teams’ progress is dependent on you.
  • Be proactive so I can shift into the reactive mode.
  • Share as much as you can and as frequently as you can to help everyone to make better decisions.

Philosophy for evaluating solutions

  • Ease of alteration.
    • Meaning, the basics of a good design process is that the result should be such that it is easier to accommodate changes in the future. All things equal, if you have to choose between two solutions, choose the one which is easier to change in the future, or reverse altogether.
    • A good design is also reversible
  • Intuition (Does it feel right)
  • Simple is better than complex. And keep it simple and stupid (KISS)
  • Disagree with me. The best solution comes from a healthy level of debate. We need to be able to separate our ideas from our egos(Keeping our identity small). I’ll challenge your ideas with the goal of coming to the best possible solution, I hope you’ll challenge mine.

👨‍💼 For Leadership / Managers

What motivates me?

  • Ownership of the product/feature.
  • Having clear, realistic and relevant goals/targets and timeline to achieve.
  • Having a say in the product roadmap.
  • Immediate escalations regarding issues, problems.
  • Transparency at all levels of execution.

Preferred modes of communication

  • The majority of issues are a result of poor or infrequent communication. It’s important we communicate well and often.
  • Poor communication for me includes
    • unreasonable opinions
    • opinions without context/understanding of the subject
    • listening to react vs listening to understand
    • Living and comment too as techno-bubble things vs ELI5
  • For real-time communication, I prefer workplace chatting apps
  • Slack, Flock, Teams, etc.
    • If I am not working, or it’s out of the working hour’s window, I may reply whenever it is possible.
  • If it’s really urgent and I do not respond to the business communicators, feel free to call me.
  • For me urgent is
    • Production failures.
    • You’re blocked on something and have nothing to do.
    • Something that can’t wait for few hours.

I am not comfortable with micro-management

  • I take ownership of the work I do. By ownership I mean give me a problem statement, team and deadline, I’ll run with it.
  • I will make sure to escalate any issues that happen as they happen without any delay.
  • You can be reactive with me instead of being proactive. In fact, I am not comfortable managers being proactively seeking status for the projects/features I am working on.
    • I always make sure to post/update via the decided medium on accepted intervals regarding project updates.

I am always ready for uncomfortable conversations

  • I take all kinds of feedback in the right spirit. So you can be as transparent and blunt as possible. No need to sugar-coat anything.
Written on May 8, 2020