Chapter 2. A List of Three

The number three has been mystically bouncing around my life for years. First, there was the VP of Marketing who was obsessed with it. “Triangles, Rands, I see them everywhere. There’s power in there.” She kept three pieces of polished obsidian on her desk in a triangle formation at all times. Then was the Director of Engineering. All of his advice was dispensed in digestible lists of three. It was a handy, lightweight way of distributing bright ideas.

As means of simplifying the infinite, I see no reason why three can’t help. Three is everywhere. Yes, no, maybe. Socialism, communism, capitalism. Memory, understanding, will. Of the people, by the people, for the people. I’m a fan.

This is why it comes as no surprise that I can pack both a career development and management philosophy into a list of three items:

  1. Technical direction

  2. Growth

  3. Delivery

Conveniently, the list applies to both managers and individuals, but let’s talk about it from the individual career perspective. Let’s turn the list into questions:

  1. Are you actively defining the technical direction for your product?

  2. Do you understand what you need to do in order to grow?

  3. Are you hitting your dates? Are you meeting your commitments? Are you doing what you say you’re going to do?

That’s it. That’s all. There are shelves full of management and career development books that are going to explain in excruciating detail the 27 aspects of a good manager or 42 habits of effective developers, and I’m certain there ...

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