Never Delay Decisions

Han Yuan

SVP Engineering at Upwork



"In 2012, I was the Director of Engineering for mobile platforms at Netflix. Times were tough, as we were missing deadlines and my iOS manager was not performing. As months passed, things got out of hand and the iOS delays were having a big impact at a company-wide level. We were not shipping and I had let the situation devolve into a public relations concern."

Actions taken

"Over a period of eight weeks, I fired the iOS manager, hired three iOS engineers, and took over the iOS project. We managed to make our deadlines and we shipped on time."

Lessons learned

"Postponing this decision had resulted in negative impacts on my team, my company, and our customers. This episode made me realize that delaying important decisions can come with a heavy price and you must think of collateral damage. I generally don't like to fire people, but I had to put my feelings aside and think beyond my own comfort."

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Han Yuan

SVP Engineering at Upwork

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationDecision MakingEngineering ManagementPerformance MetricsFeedback TechniquesDiversity ImpactOvercoming BiasIndividual Contributor RolesTeam & Project Management

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