Communication Cadence: Lessons from Lopp

Abhinav Keswani June 3, 2012

What makes a good team? Communication. How best should one communicate with your team? I had the fortune of seeing Michael Lopp present at the recent Atlassian Summit. He is best known for his blog, "Rands in repose" which is a great commentary on the art of team.

Here's what he had to say. Most of this is written from my perspective as a team lead. Lopp says, "lead" is a much nicer word than "manager" since it's just nicer to know you have a leader as opposed to someone who manages you. Just semantics? I think not. I agree with Lopp.

1:1s

Every week, 30 minutes at least, no matter what.

  • How can you have 30 minute 1:1s with your team if you lead 90 people? Keep teams small.
  • Responsibility of the lead to be responsible for their people.
  • Assume that your team has something to teach you.
  • Get in with three prepped points, a performance review, or talk about what the latest disaster (or challenge!) is.
  • You are having conversations of significance. You need an early warning system - to have flags that come up when you hear concerning comments from your team.

Staff meetings

  • Every week, on monday, no matter what, 90 minutes.
  • Sacred time to debate the strategy of the crew/company.
  • Expected yield: alignment.

Hallway walk.

  • Once a week. Practice random acts of communication.
  • Expected yield is coming to know the zeitgeist, "the spirit or will of the people".

❄ + ∞ = WTF

  • Every person is a precious unique snowflake.
  • They also can present you with an infinite number of responses, approaches, thoughts, perception.
  • As a lead, this can lead to many WTF moments.
  • The sooner you embrace this the better.

Your job is to listen. Get on with it.

Abhinav Keswani

Abhinav Keswani

Abhinav has methodically honed his experience on multi-tiered technology solutions for a wide range of organizations. He always seeks out business value and enjoys bringing a complete perspective to collaboration with our clients. You can also find him on an MTB trail or climbing at the crag.