Attention all engineers. Want to prevent your engineering manager from going analeptic shock? Want to prevent those awkward “we need to talk” moments? Then, don’t spin them up.
The First Step, Admit You Have A Problem
You know you do it all the time. That pressing issue that makes you mental because you just found it. You race to tell your boss because of “full disclosure”. What about that deadline coming up. You know, the one you think is crazy, unrealistic and boarding on super human. The one you are about to tell you boss is going to “slip and I don’t know when it will get done.” That one. You know what will happen next. Your bosses vein will bulge out of his head, he will turn red and tell you to “stop being so negative.” Admit it. You sometimes like spinning him up. It’s sport. It makes him human. You want him to feel your pain. I get it. I have done it and it does no good.
The Mind Of A Madman
There are some things that engineers need to know about managers. It may appear that they are irrational, do nothing dweebs that dictate ridiculous schedules and requests. Don’t be a hater. Until you have had to deal with the malarkey your boss has to endure, give him the benefit of the doubt. You think your job is bad, try managing a bunch of prima donna engineers — it slowly turns you mad as a hatter.
OK, Maybe Not As Insane As You Think
I kid managers. They are not as insane as you may think. They just have a different mindset. One that has a hair trigger reaction to bad news, improperly presented. This spins them up like a top. You see, the managers life is filled with dealing with problems. This problem, that problem, your problem, everyones problem. Adding yet another half-baked, not well thought out problem to the supersaturated mind of your boss, will send him over the edge. It’s simple math. Your boss has only so much problem memory. With each problem, his memory fills up to the point where it starts to overflow. We all know what happens when you hit the overflow state. The spin up is meant to reset the memory counter and flush the cache.
Be Kind, Rewind
Before you overflow your bosses stack, step back and ask yourself these questions:
- Do I Know The Facts? Make sure you know all the facts and present them in a organized way.
- What Can We Do To Fix This? Always have a propose course of action. Let me repeat that. Always tell your boss how you want to fix whatever the is problem. Having a plan takes a huge burden off your boss having to solve it.
- Does The 24 Hour Rule Apply? New data, good or bad, may need to rest to see if it solidifies. Wait a while or better yet, invoke the 24 hour rule before telling your boss.
- What’s the downside of NOT telling him? Is it really important to tell your boss about the issue? Maybe it’s minor or a preliminary result.
- Are You Too Emotional? Calm down before you talk to your boss about any kind of issue. Remaining calm will make him remain calm.
- Think Twice Before Sending That Email: Email is such a bad medium to communicate issues. The tone and tenor of the message gets lost. Do it in person or on the phone.
The No Spin Up Zone
Strive to make your interactions with your boss a no-spin zone. It might be tough. It might seem awkward. It’s might not be as fun but it will make your life as well as your boss a lot easier.