Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

When I worked for a big company, I had a very simple rule:

If I make a promise to my team that I can reasonably keep, I owe it to them to do so.

I'd generally aim to under-promise and over-deliver, while feeling like I'm making a comprable (or bigger!) contribution in comparison to my peers. After some practice at this, I got reasonably good at estimating work. I'd work 20 to 50 hours per week depending on how accurately I estimate, usually aiming for (an achieving) about 35 hours of work. Only once or twice did I ever feel like I really put in any serious "overtime" and I blame that on estimation inexperience.

I made it a point to explain this philosophy (sans actual target hours) to every manager I've ever had. I always fed them the "Work/Life Balance" party line and reminded them that if I wanted my work to be my life, I'd join a startup (I have since founded one). They all seemed to appreciate my being forthcoming.

Once or twice I got a panicked email. The team was going to miss a deadline unless I stepped up to help out! Each time I replied that I had expressed my concerns about scope and timeline during the planning meetings. I'd remind the panicked person that we could simply cut the feature (always an option for a previously shipped product) and would offer my help and time in doing so. No one ever took me up on it.




It's too bad you couldn't openly tell your team how you were scheduling your time. It sounds like you developed a very good, consistent process. In my mind, that's exactly what a large company should be going for because it can scale.


I did tell them! See where I wrote:

> I made it a point to explain this philosophy (sans actual target hours) to every manager I've ever had.

I simply didn't tell my manager exactly how many hours I targeted because it was less than the customary 40h/wk.




Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: