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Camille Fournier literally wrote the book on Engineering Management so when she speaks, I always listen [1]. Every technology leader will reach a point where there are just too many problems to solve and OPP is a great mental model for prioritization.

OPP is also a forcing function for leadership. It forces true leaders to step up and make the hard choices.

If you're faced with OPP, here are a few things I found useful in my career.

## Do Important Work for Important People

The best way to be successful in any organization is to do important work for important people. Important work for unimportant people will get you no where. Same is true for unimportant work for important people.

Take a look at your OPP and ask yourself:

* Is this work for someone important?

* Is this work important to that person?

Both answers should be yes, otherwise it's just OPP.

## Let Fires Burn

Once you decide the work is OPP, then you need the courage to say no. You must let that fire continue to burn without it distracting you. Masters of Scale has a good episode on this topic [2]. Easier said than done of course. I found Stoic practices to be very helpful here [3].

## Customer Obsession & Ownership

OPP should always be evaluated through the lens of the customer. Bottom line, the customer is always the most important person and they trump all. True leaders are obsessed about providing a better customer experience and they're willing to pay the price in order to do so.

If you have OPP that's important work for someone important, but it's not important to the customer, then you may just have to let that one burn too. And once you make that call, you have to own it. Always take responsibility for the decision and defend it on the customer's behalf.

I've found Amazon's leadership principles to be invaluable when making these type of tough decisions [4]. It's no coincidence that Customer Obsession and Ownership are #1 and #2.

[1] http://amzn.to/2niWhO9 (Camille's link not mine)

[2] https://mastersofscale.com/selina-tobaccowala-let-fires-burn...

[3] https://www.amazon.com/Obstacle-Way-Timeless-Turning-Triumph...

[4] https://www.amazon.jobs/en/principles




I need to read the articles and the comments properly, but this

> It forces true leaders to step up and make the hard choices.

reminded me of a discussion on the radio about the mess of a situation detroit car manufacturing had got into. Someone summarised, saying that the bosses spent decades making easy choices instead of the right choices.


Organizations that clearly and regularly establish and communicate their priorities enable their members to easily make these assessments.




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