Maker vs Manager Schedules

Maker vs Manager Schedules

This week, Shopify changed how compensation works so that Makers (Crafters) can now become compensated without becoming Managers.

This has me thinking about Paul Graham’s classic Maker’s Schedule vs Manager’s Schedule post.

The premise is simple: Maker time is different than Manager time.

Managers have the classic, meeting packed schedule.

Makers require focused time for working on single tasks.

Each type of schedule works perfectly well on its own but the problem comes when you mix them together. Managers are generally the most powerful people, which means they can often request others to work on their schedule. That effectively leaves the Makers as the ones struggling when these worlds collide.

Having just one meeting in a day can easily cost the Maker a full afternoon of work by splitting it into two sections too small to accomplish the required task. Meetings are exceptions for makers. It’s not just the next step in your day, you have to actively think about the upcoming meeting.

As Product Managers, we’re often a mix of Makers & Managers.
– We’re Managers because we need to work closely with many stakeholders on many projects
– We’re Makers because we have to research and create critical documentation

So how do we manage both worlds? These tricks work well for me:

1. Default to asynchronous communication
Send a slack message, share a doc, record a video instead of scheduling a meeting. This allows you to stay in the Maker flow and it protects all other Makers as well, especially if it isn’t urgent.

2. No Meeting Wednesday
This is a classic at Shopify and it’s SUPER helpful that the whole company does it. This gives us all one dedicated Maker day per week.

3. Minimize Recurring Meetings
This one’s harder because meeting creep is real. It’s easy to say yes, however I’ve been able to keep my calendar more clear by only accepting and creating critical recurring meetings. Not every project needs a meeting every week and, if they do, that doesn’t mean you always need to be there. Our Engineering teams often have syncs without anyone else around.

How do you manage your Maker vs Manager time? Comment below!

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