“You have to be an optimist to be a leader. It's your job as a leader to interpret the things that come to you. Everybody has things that as a group have been decided, and then you have to communicate the decisions sidewards and downwards. If you're anything but optimistic about them, it does come through in your tone, it does come through in your actions."
In this episode
In episode #77, Matt Davey shares how to frame meetings as ceremonies and obstacles as opportunities.
Matt Davey is the CXO (Chief Experience Officer) at 1Password.
In today’s episode, Matt walks us through how he experiments with meeting formats as a rapidly-growing team.
We also talk about why Matt labels himself as an optimist and how that helped him during his time as Chief Operating Optimist.
Tune in to hear about the different ways to increase engagement and collaboration as a remote organization and why it’s important to help your team form bonds.
Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.
Project vs. people expectations
Framing meetings as ceremonies
Why leaders should be optimists
Intense intention for remote work
Developing your user manual
- Follow Matt on Twitter
- The RACI model for project success
- Read Org Design for Design Orgs
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 00:00
Matt, welcome to the show.
Matt Davey (1Password) 02:14
Thanks very much. It’s a pleasure and an honor as well to be
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 02:18
here. Yeah, it’s very exciting to have this conversation with you. You know, you have had a pretty extensive experience at a bunch of different companies including BNP Paribas, HSBC, and obviously, you’ve been at 1Password for quite a while now. And today, you’re you’re the CXO or chief experience officer, how long have you actually been at 1Password,
Matt Davey (1Password) 02:43
it’s coming up to a decade, which is kind of wild. The beginning part of that career was was, you know, part-time and then kind of grew into a full-time role. So, like, not a full decade, but very close to
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 03:01
Yeah, you must like it there.
Matt Davey (1Password) 03:03
It’s, yeah, it feels like I’ve worked at three, or maybe even four now different companies of different sizes, with the same group of great people. So I think like through the ages, through the decade, it’s been like, like working at several different companies that at the different scale points.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 03:27
Yeah. So I am you know, we’re just chatting about this before we hit record, but you started when the company was, I think, like 20 ish people. And today, order of magnitude. How many people work there?
Matt Davey (1Password) 03:40
Yeah, I think it’s 544. As of today, I did.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 03:46
Jail time number. Yeah. That’s cool. So I’m excited to dig in. Why don’t we start with this? So one of them I guess, unique things is that you started at this company very, very early on. And now it’s much, much larger. Do you remember when you first started leading a team there? And what were maybe some of the early mistakes that you made when you started doing that?
Matt Davey (1Password) 04:08
Sure. So I certainly remember going into a kind of formalized management there was, there was a period where like, I was leading a team, but everybody was kind of like, you know, floating as you do a small kind of startup scale. But I still remember going into having a formalized team with something in my mind that when I like when I started to lead, I’ve had some reactive bosses on the agency side. And I probably use the word boss because I mean, the negative sense of a manager and I wanted to avoid being that reactive. So these, like the managers that I’ve had in agencies have tended to be you know, really busy. But clutching to some involvement, and dropping into a meeting, changing direction, and then jumping out and leaving the team to then pick up the pieces, right? I’d seen that kind of devastation first firsthand. So I went in with the idea of like, I’m not going to be like that. And so I had that kind of, in my mind, even with a small team. And I think the first forays were, like the steepest learning curve for me was in expectations. So you know that was around the mistakes that I made, like, learning that those clear expectations on a project, were not the same as like, my expectations of the person leading it. And I was the second designer to join 1Password. And I think around the time that we tied the fourth or fifth, they were starting to lead that team. I think we’re around the 30 people mark in the design team now. So I hope that’s gone a lot better.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 05:57
So you said, setting expectations, maybe how did you first start approaching things? And like, how do you approach things today?
Matt Davey (1Password) 06:05
So I think I have this view that everybody knew what I meant by this project is a success, right? And that even if we say like, we ship this, and it was a success like everybody would feel that they played their part correctly, I think actually, you have to separate the person leading that and any direct reports that you have involved in that, and kind of just set really clear expectations individually as well, by that I mean, you know, you can ship something well. But it could be a nightmare to get there, right? Like the ceremonies of meetings could be off. And they could have changed directions three times without research or any of these things, I guess the expectation that you placed on an individual that wasn’t clear to me, I didn’t have any kind of management training as many people kind of, especially in design don’t have, you know, you just You’re the loudest designer in the room, I guess might be the case. But um, I yeah, I think that that expectation that you have on an individual and their performance throughout a project is entirely different from the project success. And I didn’t separate those two in my mind like shipping was the goal. You ship? Well, you know, you do well.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 07:21
I think that makes a lot of sense. And I can see that. And it’s, you want to do something and say like, even if you have a company goal, and if you hit the company goal, then you might think that everybody who was part of the company or part of the team, I mean, they all did great. And so the feedback is super positive. But you’re right if it was a struggle to get there, and yes, we got there. But it would be nice to set those individual sorts of expectations. One word that you use, which I thought was very interesting does you call it the ceremonies of the meetings that you had, I found it very interesting, the use of the word ceremonies with or elaborate, what are some of the ceremonies, that you use,
Matt Davey (1Password) 08:09
The term ceremony in my mind means like, a repeated thing on each project, right. So it’s not just a, it’s not just a meeting that happens individually, once it is a, like a ceremony of things. So like a, a project to us is a, you know, is a series of steps, and to any, you know, product company, I guess. But those series of steps they give you, if you miss one or one happens the wrong way round, or like, you know, check-in doesn’t occur here. And you know, you don’t get your requirements in on time. And like, you know, the research doesn’t line up to that. And all those types of stuff, like just playing meetings after meetings, I think is a reaction that you can have if those ceremonies aren’t set. And, you know, I’m not saying we’re perfect to this. You know, we certainly react with a bunch of meetings sometimes. But I think having that kind of set stages are important
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 09:14
yet system and process over just ad hoc, putting out fires is always the right way to go. But it is harder than it may seem. That is for sure. One thing I did I did want to chat with you about is I know you have this thing called an all-call meeting at 1Password. What is that?
Matt Davey (1Password) 09:38
So the thing about kind of a growing or rapidly growing company and speaking on podcasts or on blog posts or anything like that is by the time I’ve said it out loud, we’ve hired more people and the thing that I talk about doesn’t scale. So like I will talk about, you know, all calls but they’ve changed a little right we have to type Now, which seems to be working well, 544, right seems to be working well, firstly, a quarterly update to the business in general, how okiya OKRs are going, and what each team has had has launched or plans to launch towards that kind of, you know, corporate goals, company goals. And the second is something that we started pretty recently which our CEO runs a q&a in which any people can submit anonymous questions, and that’s more regular, you know, he might pass that over to someone in the leadership, if they can answer it better than him. So, you know, that’s the that’s how they’ve scaled, but I think any, any version of an all-company call needs to have kind of two elements to it, they need, you need to leave there being excited. Like, I think anything that is not exciting should live in a, probably a department or a team call it like these, these things are supposed to, you know, pump you up, jump on stage, kind of, kind of vibe. And I think the second one is some kind of, like global update, about where we are, where we’re heading. And that kind of assurancedo that can only come from a leadership team or like an executive team.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 11:28
Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. A, there’s a bunch of stuff to unpack there. One is it sounds like this meeting, and the format has changed since you first started it, which makes all the sense in the world. So today, you run this, you said you have two types. Is that? Is this a quarterly? Or is it a monthly meeting?
Matt Davey (1Password) 11:49
I believe, if I remember correctly, the first one is quarterly. And the second one is, is every other week, they’ve changed the format a bunch. I haven’t had a direct hand in the exact format. But I know we’ve kind of experimented with a bunch of stuff.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 12:06
So the quarterly one then is more on broad-scale OKRs, whereas a company, and how is the trajectory going, you know, in accordance to what we wanted that trajectory to be. And the other one is more around just global updates, you know, positive news, things to share with everybody and get everybody pumped and excited about the future?
Matt Davey (1Password) 12:29
Oh, yeah, I think all the kind of, you know, the activity and the vibe are in that first one. And then the second one is, is just literally people submit questions, anybody anonymously. It can be about, you know, what they want to see the company do more of it could be, you know, comments around anything. And, and, you know, our CEO goes over those and is honest and open and answers those questions. Or if he can’t answer them, he says, like, I can’t answer this right now. But I’ll give you a, you know, an update next time we do this.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 13:06
Yeah, then that makes a lot of sense. So is the whole thing a q&a in that case? For that second one? Yes, it is. Yeah. Okay. That’s awesome. One other thing that I wanted to call out, which was very interesting, was just the emotion behind it. So it’s very interesting to have that functional element. But you also talked about the emotion behind it. So and you said that some things may not be in the company-wide update or the company-wide meeting, but then we’ll be in a design that will be in the departmental updates. So given that this other event happens once every two weeks, do you do something for your core group then
Matt Davey (1Password) 13:42
so I run a bunch of different kinds of elements to so I have a design department-specific, all hands, and I’m experimenting with this as well. These are monthly, and they’re on a three-month cycle between updates, deep dives, and socials. So, you know, every three months, one of those last all-hands I put together was a pub quiz, which included questions like how many bees does the sing singer sting way, which is a levelling question. You know, general knowledge is not going to help you with that pop quiz. But yeah, those are kind of us as a department coming together for you know, being a team, finding the updates to major things that have shipped or coming across or, or maybe even a deep dive into some new things that we’re doing on the design system or something like that. We have a kind of a bunch of other ones as well including, we run a design critique now across the design department. It used to be that each team would run their separately, but we’ve seen a huge improvement in things Like presenting skills and just general kind of, like general communication by having those run across the entire department. So I think yeah, continuing to experiment with, with formats and search, the last one of the last, all hands I put together for updates. I ran not in a presentation piece of software, but I ran in a whiteboarding piece of software. And so everybody was like, you know, writing questions, dumping them in there and drawing on it, and all that kind of stuff. And that was a good experiment to do. I wouldn’t recommend it if I’m honest. Like having everybody all in there at once kind of, you know, took me off my presentation game a little bit. But I think it was a really good engagement to do that as well. Like, people were engaging with the content rather than just sitting back and looking at a, you know, a few slides.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 15:59
Yeah, I think the interesting thing about this is that you’re constantly as the company is growing, as teams grow, you’re constantly trying new things, and you learn something from everything that you do even the one where you’re on a whiteboarding software, everybody together, it’s, you ended up learning a bunch from that. And I think like, those are the things that help leaders be successful. And it is just constant experimentation and trying different things at different times. Did you use to call yourself the Chief Operations optimist?
Matt Davey (1Password) 16:32
I did. Yeah. It was 1Password, again, was a much smaller company. I took the kind of the second seat across things like design partnerships, marketing, really building us up to a point where we could hire specialists for those areas. It was in the, you know, earlier days of 1Password, we all had fun titles. And so my, you know, our CEO was the chief eliminator of obstacles, CEO. And then so the second-ever CC, which was was me, I thought following that similar path was a good idea. It didn’t scale as well as you’d think it was, after about 60 people, no one knew what anybody else did. Because the fun titles got a little bit kind of abstract. I think, you know, when you’re closer to 600 people, you need a title and a position that tells someone exactly what you do. I think mine at the moment is even a slight bit too vague, you know, maybe I should be designed. And that’s kind of a tangible thing rather than experience, which could be like, you know, you experience anything. But I, as I said, constant improvements.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 17:50
Yeah, I love that. Thank you for the background on how and I love that title to the chief eliminator of obstacles. You know, to some extent, it does clarify what a CEO could do at that stage.
Matt Davey (1Password) 18:04
I think that’s more clear than his title now, which is just, you know, CEO, but yeah, operations optimist was a bit, you know, maybe a touch further than that.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 18:14
Yeah, I like that I am the eliminator. It makes a lot of sense. So on the I just went digging on this word optimist, so how did that like come into play? And is that you know something that goes deeper is that kind of just like a mentality that you have around leadership
Matt Davey (1Password) 18:36
100% I do try in everything, to look at the most kind of optimistic angle of something in an obstacle removing role, you can become quite pessimistic around everything, right? I’ve had to deal with this thing three times in a week now. Like, I’m just gonna, you know, drastically do something and not hope for the better of the future. And I think like you have to, there’s always a reason around everything that you’ve done in the past, and decisions that others have made. And so, like, I do think you have to be an optimist, to be a leader like I do think like not blind optimism. I’m not walking into a situation where like, you know, something isn’t great and just spelling how great it is. But I also think it’s it’s your job as a leader to interpret the, you know, the things that come to you. So everybody has things that as a group have been decided, and then you have to kind of communicate them sidewards and downwards and all that kind of stuff. I think if you’re anything but optimistic about them, it does come through in your tone, like it does come through in your actions. It does come through everywhere. Like, I, I’m not perfect at this, like, the reason why I like to call myself an optimist is to kind of like, push myself to be one. Because like, my, my British sensibilities are that, you know, you just kind of wade through, everything’s a little bit terrible, and you just kind of get on with it. You know, I do hate the term stiff upper lip, but it does describe us very well as a nation. We don’t do things. Well, we never have the self-confidence to say, Yeah, we’re great. It’s just everything’s a little bit terrible, but you carry ongoing, don’t you? Because that’s the thing that you do. And I think like, you know, my version of optimism probably gets me to about the level of, you know, perhaps an American or a Canadian. To me, maybe I find myself having to push that a bit further.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 20:48
Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. What I will say is, I find it very clever. The way that you put it, which was sometimes I like to give myself that label to remind myself or almost push myself to go to a certain place. I think that is, that is a very, very, that’s a very interesting, almost like life and career hack. I wonder what other labels people could come up with, to kind of encourage them to be able to do things like that maybe things like, I love talking to customers, as an example, if you are typical may be an introvert and don’t want to go and do that very much. So I find that very, very clever. So one thing I did want to talk about was just the concept of remote work. Is it true that you have all been at 1Password remote from the very beginning?
Matt Davey (1Password) 21:38
Yes. So I’ve been there 10 years, and I’ve only worked out of an office for two of those. And the reason was I I moved to Canada, specifically to spend a bit more time in the office. And then, you know, everybody, I think even in the office when we had one was Tuesdays and Thursdays. So like, you know, some days, I will just be sitting in this fairly gigantic office all alone. And when you think about that, as we were, I don’t know about 200 people at the time, and like I’m just wandering into this office, that could probably seat 200 people, and just in there alone, that that’s how kind of remote we are. It’s, I think more people are describing their companies as remote meaning as everybody works from home. But I think you have to go a bit further these days and be like, we are, we are set up for remote work. Like we’ve previously had giant conferences where everybody attends and found that we resorted in some places to talk to each other over slack. Because I guess it was just like second nature to work remotely. So the growing pains and everything that that, you know, occur remotely we had been experiencing, and then the difficulties in things like culture, and all those types of, you know, things that are easier when everybody’s in the same room, I think we had a different flavour of, to begin with. So I think like, I hope that the rest of the, you know, the rest of the world is finding that, you know, the remote can be a great experience as an employee as well,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 23:37
I’d love for you to dig in on some of the things may be that you do within your team or within the company that allows you to harness the power of remote. And what are some things because I think you’re right, you know, for those that are operating remote, which just means everybody worked from home today, they’re probably just again, taking what used to work at the office and trying to mimic it? And in the non-office setting. What are some things that maybe you do that that may be obvious to you, but maybe some of these other companies can learn from I think with,
Matt Davey (1Password) 24:11
With everything remote, you have to be drastically more intentional. Otherwise, the meaning or the intent or anything like that just kind of gets lost. And and the culture of a workplace like this is important to me. So as a whole company, we have things like we have like seasonal whole events, where we’re so big now like we’ll run them five times, and a different random group of people will be assigned to each one we have areas in like Slack and some other tools that we use where we have rooms to discuss things that are not to do with work. So it’d be like you know, we have a baking room a music room, plants room and I think that’s important as well to, to kind of encourage, not just like general chit chat, but to have spaced out for that, then, you know, we have a common room for the, for the design team. And, you know, as a design department, I wanted to bring in some things, because we’re across several different time zones. I wanted to bring some things that were kind of asynchronous culture as well, you know, not just like, you know, we’re all on a, an escape room remotely. I still don’t think those work. But, you know, the, we’re on an event remotely and all this kind of stuff. It’s, it’s trying to harness some of that without being on zoom on the camera and stuff. So we have a question Tuesday, which, which, you know, goes out and everybody answers a question. It doesn’t seem like a massive thing. But I think when you look at it as a, as a whole, it’s trying to bring those conversations that, you know, normally, if you just have work channels, and you just have anything else, it will be okay, I spoke about my topic. Now, I’m just going to be unengaged. And I think it’s just helping that, you know, social aspect, but within a work context. So I think that the question Tuesday is one and that’s, like, I try and make those very specific to allowing people to, okay, so the next one that runs next week, is named the worst superpower. And I think it’s just, it’s just a conversation starter. But it does help kind of social engagement within the team. The other one that I started running for that was playlist Friday. I don’t know what it is that it sounds awful every time you put a day of the week next to it. Like so. So, play this Friday is I dropped genre in there, and then everybody fights to pick out what the best track is that in that genre. That’s become hotly contested now, which is great. Like, there’s so much new music that I’m I’m learning about and, and I think that helps everybody learn a little bit about each other as well, you know, I’ve seen a load of spin-off conversations that have been like, oh, you love that artist, I love that too. And then there’s a bunch of other stuff that we do. That’s kind of not so timely, and every week, but every time a new person joins, they design their trading card. So you know, they put on there, you know, specialist skills and all that kind of stuff. And they design that as an introduction to joining the team. And then something like that, as you join a team that is like, it’s really difficult to introduce yourself otherwise, like leaving it up to itself is not okay with a remote, right? Leaving someone to just join slack. And everybody is just expected to say hello, which is not quite enough, it needs to be intentional. And then the other things that I like to do, again, org-wide. The for the product org, we did a scavenger hunt. And we put people in teams, and we were like, Okay, take a picture that looks like, you know, an inanimate object that looks like one of your teammates. And we had lots of you know, potatoes that look like someone or something like that, like that those type of things where someone can go away with a team that isn’t the team that they normally operate in. But is specific to either design or product, I think that helped as well. But I think overall, these things, you have to try something like I’ve tried so many, so many things of these, and it’s it hasn’t worked well. And I think you just have to be, you know, adaptive to changing this all the time. Honest, when it doesn’t work. And I think you have a small group within your team of like, trustworthy individuals, that’s not gonna, like, blow smoke at you, but instead is gonna say, that was terrible, you know, that there isn’t work. I don’t like that. But you know, they’re being honest. And I think that that group that that, you know, I have in my head, and I ping them individually, every time I have to do anything new. And I’m like, what did you think of that? Was that okay? Like, did you and I think some people can see that as weakness. As you know, this person is questioning themselves or whatever. But I think you need that feedback for anything where you put a new service in you to put a new process, it’s you know, we’re changing the ceremony of meetings or anything like that, or any meeting format, like to do that blind and just be like, Yeah, I know best is dangerous.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 29:53
I love that. [AD BREAK BEGINS] Hey there. Just a quick note before we move on to the next part, if you’re listening to this podcast, You’re probably already doing one on one meetings. But here’s the thing, we all know that one on one meetings are the most powerful, but at the same time, the most misunderstood concept in practice and management. That’s why we’ve spent over a year compiling the best information, the best expert advice into this beautifully designed 90 Plus page ebook. Now, don’t worry, it’s not a single-spaced font, you know, lots of tax, there’s a lot of pictures, it’s nice, easily consumable information, we spent so much time building it. And the great news is that it’s completely free. So head on over to fellow dot app slash blog to download the Definitive Guide on one ones, it’s there for you, we hope you enjoy it. And let us know what you think. And with that said, let’s go back to the interview.[AD BREAK ENDS] You know, one of the interesting things is that when you do something like, you know, play playlists Fridays, for example, and people are talking about, you know, titles that, you know, they like, and then you find that someone that you don’t often work with has like the same tastes of music or, or something like that, what you’re doing is you’re bringing people closer together. And I think one of the important things I mean, as leaders, we’re also measured for retention, we’re measured for engagement, we’re measured for these sorts of things. But this is this, these, these may sound like very basic things, but helping people on your team to form more bonds together, can have a big impact. And it’s beyond just retention and engagement. It’s like if people are, do a better job bonding together, they will perform better and work better together. And so it’s, it’s amazing that you’re doing these things. And even though you said maybe I should call myself the Chief Design Officer, I mean, you are designing experiences, it seems like
Matt Davey (1Password) 31:53
Yeah, and like, you know, some things will work for, for some of the team that won’t work for others, like the presentation that I did on fig jam, where everybody just ended up like dropping smiley faces onto my notes and everything like that. Everybody loved it. Like I must say like, that was the highest engagement of a, you know, design presentation where we announced some, I think, I think we announced some promotions and some new people that were joining. And then, you know, a couple of new documents that we had, it wasn’t riveting, you know, conversation. But like everybody who got a promotion, like people during crowns on them, and like all this kind of stuff like it, that that helped. And now I have to decide next time whether I continue this as a joke. And like, it just becomes Oh, yeah, every time that there’s a mat presentation, he does it in somewhere where you can draw on it. And it just becomes something. I think those things are key of like deciding what. And I think like as, as managers you do decide what those are, you can score something and be like, Okay, that didn’t work. But this works, we’re gonna have this as our thing. And I think they help bring people together and make people feel a part of a team.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 33:13
Yeah, this makes a lot of sense. And I love that you’re constantly proactively asking for feedback, not just assuming that people are gonna come to you and tell you. So those are all amazing. One of the questions I was going to ask you is, as a design leader, you know, during very creative work, creative folks often don’t like interruptions in their workday. So I would imagine a lot of asynchronous events or ceremonies, as you put them are probably more conducive to people being their best. I’m curious, how do you approach various ceremonies or meetings? And, you know, what proportion of them would you say, are asynchronous versus synchronous? And how do you decide
Matt Davey (1Password) 33:58
I’m going to be very honest, and say that, like, we, we’re not perfect at this, we do have too many calls, right? It’s the easiest thing to do, and it becomes the default. But we’ve been pushing more and more having workshops and, and kind of pre called work, like pre-discussion work as an asynchronous remote. And then we’re also pushing for updates to be remote as well. So a call where it would be one person presenting an update, we can put that in a place where it’s asynchronous, either written or video or anything like that. Like those two things, I think drastically change how much is you know on video on Zoom calls and just like getting exhausted from it. People are worried about the engagement dropping when it’s not a call, and I think more and more the easiest way to kind of encourage that, that kind of asynchronous collaboration is a shared space, right. And if you’re asking me personally, I’d say a shared space that isn’t a Google Doc, some doodles and rough notes, you can always like, just do something more structured later, Microsoft very recently released a new Shared Canvas app. I think it’s like one-note, but basically, you can see everybody’s curses, and it’s like multiplayer. So you don’t have to share a screen or anything, all of that type of thing helps. And understanding like, this is the preparation for this date. And, you know, we’re gonna talk about it here. But I want everybody’s kind of input. Before we do that, I think making that kind of clear, and understanding like that, that kind of stuff is just really key. Yeah,
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 35:58
I think that makes a lot of sense, we all have to do a little bit more work to, you know, approach engagement and collaboration in some other ways. One of the things that I think also matters a lot in a remote environment is how you think about ownership and making sure, you know, who owns various initiatives and drives things across the finish line, I’m curious how you structure things, you know, within your organization to kind of put really good accountability into place.
Matt Davey (1Password) 36:33
Yeah, this is another one, again, as a company, scales, things change. And we’ve been experimenting a lot recently, as well, because there are a lot more projects concurrently. And, you know, there are growing pains, which a lot of companies experience around the number of concurrent projects and the number of people on them, there are a few things that we’ve considered that you know, especially in structuring teams that exist across all walks, you know, we have looked at the RACI model, the responsible, accountable, consulted, informed, it can get complex, and they also can reinforce the wrong kinds of behaviour. Like, if you want a team to be empowered by something and take responsibility between them, it kind of like, you know, oh, I’m only a consultant on this project, I, you know, I don’t feel responsible for it, I don’t, I don’t see it to success. The other one, which I believe Apple uses is the DRI that did dir directly responsible individual method, which helps share some of the responsibility, but it does keep a single person to make the decision when a moment requires, which is pretty good. I think, it comes down to having that individual responsibility, and then communicating with their peers, and with the, you know, meetings, etc, around backlog and what’s our what’s up next, and all of that, and just the planning. Were at a stage where our product org is, is quite young, our chief product officer is less than one year into the role, there is kind of an understanding between engineering design and product that like kind of, we’re all in this together. And, and I think that at the moment, needs to be backed up more on our side with a directly responsible individual that we’re we’re kind of working towards, but I think between those three elements, like those are seen as the, you know, the triangle of people that that kind of pushed up forward. And I think people do feel the responsibility of, you know, without any kind of formality. I think people are feeling that responsibility. Because the there’s kind of a, you know, a leaning on all sides between engineering design and, and nice product. I think it comes with the care and attention of work, I think, and
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 39:03
You are just basically pointing out that there are, you know, various frameworks and various approaches to this. And obviously, each one of them has pros and cons. And you might use different ones, depending on what stage you’re in and what you’re, you’re trying to achieve
Matt Davey (1Password) 39:17
100% I find it’s a constant battle between, like a level of finesse, and time to deliver. So that something is like slightly late and like a medium amount. Great. And then like once you get to that stage, kind of looking over the project, like deconstructing it afterwards and finding out what went well, like a retrospective type thing. I think retrospectives are the biggest area for managers to be able to look at a project and find out what went well. And I think experimenting, like once per project and then Doing uh, doing a retrospective is huge to kind of gain aspects from that.
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 40:06
Yeah, man, this has been incredibly, incredibly insightful. We’ve talked about, you know, so much we’ve talked about ceremonies you’ve run, how you labelled yourself as an optimist how you’re designing experiences, like playlists, Fridays, and quiet, I think it was like question Tuesday’s, and so many different things that you’ve implemented all and constantly experimenting to continue to make working within your organization, a great experience. One of the questions that we like to ask everybody who comes on this show is for all the managers and leaders constantly looking to get better at their craft. Are there any tips, tricks, or final words of wisdom that you would leave them with?
Matt Davey (1Password) 40:49
Sure. So I have two, and I couldn’t decide between them. The first one is something that I picked up from a creative leadership course, that I went on, I was presented and told, to create a user manual for myself. And then, you know, again, the British imposition is like, you don’t talk about yourself. But I kind of filled this out. And it helped me kind of understand that I want these questions from other people that report to me. And kind of the that I support in the business and like, they were, they were questions like, what generates energy for you at work? Right? Like, what gets you pumped up and going? And like things like, how do you like to receive feedback? I think as, as managers, one of the things that we can potentially do is be like, right, this is my format, I’m going to share this format with everybody. And what these user manuals help you do is work individually with individual people, right, in an individual way. And I think that’s, that’s huge for me. So I changed a bunch of these questions because I didn’t like the way they were written. And I pushed this out too, to my, my team. And it, it was great. We had, we had an evening of pizzas, and stuff over zoom, and we went through each other’s honestly, and found out how everybody likes to receive feedback. And I noticed like there was a noticeable change in how we dealt with each other. And like how we understood each other as well. So that that one’s that one was huge for me. And I highly recommend, you know, Googling all the things around user manuals and stuff from a leadership position and working out the questions that are going to work best for you. I think that’s, that’s huge. The other one for me is not underestimating the Oct design. But when I first started, I would be like, Okay, well, I’m going to group these into like small little groups, and then those groups can like just report to me, I think you have to think about it completely differently. There’s a great book out there, specifically for design dogs, which is design for org, designed for designers, or something akin to that. It’s by Peter Merholz. So just Google his name. The thing with that book is it talks about kind of how people can work within teams, but then have like a people structure and a project structure and all this kind of stuff. And all of that, I think is huge. And it’s one of the things that I think you can fall into having to do. Like when you grow massive amounts, you have to kind of rejig where that is. But I also think it’s one thing where I really wouldn’t recommend experimenting, and then and then hoping for the best. I think there’s so much research that you have to do. You have to talk to the people that you’re moving to different areas and be like, What do you think about this area? What do you think about this change? Like, is this something that you want to do? So it’s one area where me as complete iteration este, I made that word up, I think. But like, you can’t iterate on an old design very well at all. It’s something that you have to get right the first time or it causes a massive amount of upset on design. Another thing that you need to look into and be good at before you’ve posed the question, should that happen?
Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app) 44:37
Yeah, no, that’s incredible advice. I have not read that book. Something that I will now check out and we’ll leave these all in the show notes. Matt, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much for doing this.
Matt Davey (1Password) 44:49
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks. Thanks very much for having me