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Making sure no one is indispensable to ensure a team’s consistent performance.

jean-baptiste pringuey

VP of Engineering at Teads.tv

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Problem

"A few years ago, I was managing a team that had one engineer who knew everything. He was very good technically and had a good overview of the product. For various reasons, he left the company and it affected us badly. I observed a slowdown in team productivity and an overall drop in performance."

Actions taken

"Even though we had done our best to share knowledge before the individual left the company, it was too much to absorb and it took us weeks to get back to our normal level of performance. This episode and some other minor ones made me reevaluate how I assessed my team's performance. As a manager, you are evaluated on how your team performs as a whole and suddenly, with one engineer out, we were failing."

Lessons learned

"When evaluating my team's performance, I now look at:

  1. How the team is improving over time. This mainly has to do with velocity and the number of projects that have been completed over the last four months.
  2. How indispensable each team member is. I consider how the team would perform if various team members were to leave, and how well our knowledge is shared."

"Without a doubt, having a rockstar in your team is a good thing, but it's your job as a manager to make sure that your team performance does not depend on a single individual. If it does, remember that this creates mentoring opportunities for the high-performing individuals. Nobody should be indispensable, including you, the manager."


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jean-baptiste pringuey

VP of Engineering at Teads.tv


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