Don’t Add Too Much Process

Doug Daniels

VP Engineering at Datadog



"Often when people who used to write software begin to manage other people, they want everything to be very organized. This often means they will start to want to control too much and will put too many processes in place. New managers will do this quite a lot, but if you're not careful it can quickly overwhelm you. If you try to solve every problem you see you'll be incredibly busy and some of the problems you try to solve will turn out to not really be problems."

Actions taken

"It's better to be in frequent communication with people, rather than creating more processes and to wait a while until you hear about a problem multiple times. Once this happens, it's useful to have the people who care most about the issue work on it. This is really the only way you can scale your time effectively." "I try to avoid jumping in unless there's a problem my team or an individual in my team can't solve for themselves. I do this by discussing with them what success would look like, rather than discussing a specific solution. Listen as your team member talks about how they would build a solution, but don't prescribe one to them." "This has multiple benefits - it allows for more creativity, it empowers employees in the future, it gives your team things to learn from, and it frees up more of your time both now and in the future. If you hire well and you trust people a lot, you can avoid a lot of the processes, and only put it in place when it means it will keep someone from falling off the rails."

Lessons learned

"This is my preferred method - if you have people interested in growing and building things, it works very well. You can live with a higher degree of chaos than you might imagine. This offers people opportunities to solve problems for themselves."

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Doug Daniels

VP Engineering at Datadog

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