Managing people

Abstract: When do we hire real managers for people? Are we already at that point?


A problem is that everyone at the table is volunteering rather than staff except Roger and Melissa and Karen.


Tor staff people are funded to do specific things. No one has any idea what anyone is doing.

  • Having a manager. A manger is for people who have deliverables.
  • a manager has coordination between people. Managing is having a list, for each person, of like, 6 things they are supposed to be working on, how are you doing at it. Some volunteers have deliverables. Each project needs a leader, this is different from the people manager.
  • Some projects do not have a natural leader. DRL is a problem.
  • Project management is different from managing people. Overhead task: report to funder. Another overhead: Mike Perry would need to be meeting with everyone working on each week and reviewing what they are working on.
  • We should try again with a project manager. Flaw on previous person: we gave him 5 jobs and got upset when 4 of them didn’t work out. Roger is good at figuring out what needs to be done and telling people what needs to be done. He feels he is not good at following up and asking whether tasks have been done and if not, why not?
  • suggested a master calendar: 1) tasks 2) due dates
  • we have options for how to manage internal deadlines
  • it would be really nice if Karsten was able to go back to being a developer rather than being a project manager. Damian suggests getting another project manager.

The definition of people management:

  1. working collaboratively with staff, project managers, and Tor management to set and document specific tasks and goals for individuals. Also
  2. setting measurements so each staff person should know whether they are doing a bad job, middling job or excellent job with respect to their goals and tasks at any given time. Also
  3. reviewing with staff on a regular basis. minimally weekly, to discuss progress towards achieving goals.
  4. providing assistance to staff when they are running into obstacles meeting their goals.
  5. providing feedback to staff regarding whether they are meeting their goals.
  6. reporting to management or centrally, individuals’ progress against goals

Setting goals for individuals

  • follow up with goals: writing down and internally. Post each persons’s goals and tasks publicly?
  • Writing a contract can include goals, but it is left vague intentionally, that is not appropriate for individual goals. Sarah suggested that goals and tasks for individuals must be specific and measurable.
  • identified that Nick M. gets upset when multiple people are setting his goals. Nick is also upset when deliverables are not done and he finds out last minute. Nick doesn’t know what he is committed to. Nick wants someone whose job is to know what he has been committed to do.
  • Has to be interaction between people managers and project managers.
  • In the past developers have been hostile to the idea of people management. However, it was agreed that no one enjoys a culture where no one knows what they are supposed to be working on and how they are doing.
  • others agree that a Tor people manager would be useful.
  • feel Tor project needs to invest more in people management. They need business acumen to manage people and contracts. As a contractor it is stressful not to have a contract.
  • Point of clarification: need to differentiate between funder contract, Individual contracts.
  • Roger has another problem. Karen and Kelly and Jake and a few others are not under a particular thing. There is no project manager for whom a funder is on the hook. People manager would need to work with non-specific contract people to set and manage them and their goals as well.
  • It was agreed everyone agreed Tor should hire a people manager(s).
  • Some did not agree. Devil’s advocate: propose Tor can accomplish the same thing by just documenting deliverables. Which means, to him, he is proposing to only hire a project manager. Roger translates that into, he and Nick will end up doing it, which doesn’t work.
  • Roger poses the question, how many managers would be required? How would they coordinate?


Roger suggests listing issues and concerns in implementing a people manager.

  1. May need more than one people manager, they would have to coordinate with each other and with project managers
  2. There are some people who already have clear deliverables and other who do not and they would need to be developed
  3. Some people do not match to specific contracts: Melissa, Karen, Kelly, Jake. WHO will set their goals and manage them against their deliverables?
  4. Managers have been expected to report on telling people what the developers have done, responsibility for documentation. This can add up to too much work for one person.
  5. Damian described that Amazon’s model includes TPMs and people managers
  6. Roger pointed out that when a person is overloaded like Roger, his self-reports to his people mgr will fall by the wayside as he prioritizes reporting to the funder.
Last modified 5 years ago Last modified on Feb 24, 2014, 5:26:15 PM