Thursday, February 18, 2010

13 Essential Questions for Managers

We think of managers making decisions, setting priorities, organizing work, keeping budgets, and mentoring people.

What we’ve overlooked or ignored is a manager’s role as designer. Managers are designers of the experience of work and of systems to produce valuable products.

As designers, we need to answer 13 essential questions.

1. How does the work really work?

2. What information and tools do people need to do their work?

3. How can we build feedback into the work so that people can find and fix their own mistakes quickly, and learn from them?

4. How do we know when a chunk of work is done?

5. What is the capacity of the team?

6. How long does it take us to know if we are off track?

7. How do structures affect people’s ability to accomplish their work?

8. What message does our reward system send?

9. What message do our policies and procedures send?

10. What happens when people bring unwelcome news?

11. How do my management actions affect people and work?

12. What do I “know” that ain’t so?

13. What do I know that I forget at work?

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