User's Manual

2021-11-24 This post is over 2 years old

User’s Manual for Daniel Scheufler

This breif guide is intended to help you more quickly and easily come up to speed on my work tendencies. As always, this is a work in progress, so if you find anything you think should be included in a future revision, just let me know.

Current version: v0.2.2

Last Updates: 02-15-2022

My Style:

  • Energetic and Passionate - When I am excited about something, you’ll know it. And generally I try to take and add that energy to wherever I am.
  • Intense - Though I have worked to moderate this attribute, I am still intense on occasion. I take my work seriously and intend to do the best possible at every step.
  • Directive - I am a fast-twitch thinker, so reaching probable solutions comes swiftly for me. As a result, I can tend towards being prescriptive. I am working to improve this.
  • I make significant use of 1-1 conversations. Whether for mentoring, or just touching base. I recognize and strive to truly lead people. I believe most cultural changes come from such conversations and they tend to be my preferred tool.

What I value:

  • I value honesty. If you don’t know, just ask. But Ask early, when it is easiest to help.
  • I value resourcefulness and proactivity. Be smart, pivot quickly. You were hired because you were trusted to use your skills. So use them! Keep me broadly informed of your plans.
  • I focus on delivering value. And I expect my team to focus on delivering value too. A perfect solution a month from now isn’t always better than a good-enough solution in a week.
  • I value pragmatism. Not every avenue is open every time. So flexibility is necessary. Maintain a high standard of excellence and expect to change. Build with this in mind.

What I don’t have patience for:

  • Waste. I prefer to keep meetings focused and on task. It frustrates me to lose time on distractions or peripheral concerns. I prefer to keep a similarly tight focus on solution efforts.
  • Surprise Failures - I can deal with problems, if they are brought up constructively and in a timely manner. It frustrates me when a problem arises that someone knew about ahead of time, but didn’t tell the team! It’s ok to own a mistake and ask for help. That way we can avoid wasted time, effort, and pain.
  • Unclear Communications - I want to know what our goal is, and then to stick to it. Meetings that lose focus frustrate me, see Waste. I want to add value, and I cannot do that if I don’t know where we are aiming.

How best to communicate with me:

  • Give me a latch point. Where does this conversation fit into the work we are doing right now? Once I know where we are, then you can try to take me where you wanna go.
  • I really want to be understood. In fact it is among my greatest weaknesses the fear that I am not understood. Please take time to confirm your understanding with me!
  • While I am trying to get better at it, I do not handle ‘feelings’ well. Like the ‘I have a feeling’ kind. So if you want to convince me of something, use facts, logic, and your feelings. And be sure to share your data and your beliefs around that data with me. I am happy to walk the path with you, if I don’t always hold the same conclusions.

How to help me:

  • Once I recognize something as a duty, or that I have missed in delivering on a value I profess to hold, I am usually very quick to change and attempt to repair. It can however take some work to convince me. In the past the most successful mentors I have had, help me by asking questions. They would build my buy-in to a ‘self-improvement’ or feedback conversation before discussing the matter at hand. In particular, asking me “why …” helps put me in a more receptive mood. See Communication point 2 - Being Understood.
  • If you are on my team, and know you will need my help, start by doing all you know to do first. Write comments, unit tests, pseudo-code , whatever. Start us off with something, so that when we meet up there is material to work with. This is an excellent way to help me help you!
  • Offer me feedback. Be up front about it. Don’t prescribe a solution on it. But offer me your perspective. I value that. I want to understand and to be aware. But I bristle when I feel I am accused. Much easier for both of us if you are able to share your experience, as just that: your experience. My goal is usually value delivery, so if I hear from you that I didn’t succeed, my normal response is to pivot. Hopefully when you come to such a discussion, you will also come willing to listen. Often I will share my half of the story after such a chat, not as a defense, but in the interest of adding information to the pool. Maybe there is something there you did not know, or perhaps you can better see the fault in my reasoning than I can.

What people misunderstand about me:

  • Experiments – I like to try things out and see what works. I don’t expect everything to be a success, as long as an honest effort was given. Experiments, whether success or failure are primarily valuable for what we learn from them.

These points are not an exhaustive list, but should save you some time figuring out how I work and behave. Please make me aware of additional points you think I should put on a revised version of this “user’s manual". Just send me an email, I’m happy to improve the usefulness of this manual.