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A Manifesto Framework

As you know, I recently posted a manifesto. A few folks asked me to help share how to create one. So, I’ll walk through how I created one and provide a framework.

Start from your current experience (then previous roles) and honestly answer these two questions. It is important to brainstorm and these questions might help you create a starting point.

1. What are your wins? What do you love/like?
2. What are your challenges? What do you dislike?

Example below from my own experience in early 2018. I created this manifesto because I needed to find another job. If you are also looking for a new job consider adding where you would like to live, jobs that you would like, what you want to work on and list them out.

I’ve modified these a bit because i’m not comfortable with complete transparency publicly. I’ll ask that you personally write yours as honest and concrete as possible.

What are your wins? What do you love/like? Ask yourself what first comes to mind. Don’t over think it too much.

  1. I LOVE THIS PRODUCT, it is amazing so much potential.
  2. This product aligns with my personal goals in developing a special interest based platform.
  3. The team culture is phenomenal, there were egos and people who didn’t fit our culture. We removed a few individuals and set revised paths for a few others.
  4. Established a great culture created by the team and lived by the team.
  5. Formalized performance reviews, development plans, role responsibilities.
  6. Established activations and marketing plan for the product.
  7. Team is focused and delivering, They used to spend time exploring random tech experiments because there were no outcomes.
  8. I love my team and I’m proud of them.
  9. Improved and changed the process in which we deliver: From feature teams to squads. We are now a matrix org using projects to get things done. We need to stay lean and we have. 25 product team members make up 5 squads: About 1/4 marketing: 1 Pm: 1 Designer: 7 engineering ratio.
  10. A roadmap was delivered and a new one for 2018 that is clear and focused as well as 2019 in estimations.
  11. Partnered with COO to establish OKRs and Key objectives. (this is new but so fun to learn and can continue to learn)
  12. We didn’t know whom we were building for. We created some focus and goals
  13. Improved and develop a better design team and hired a design leader. The team is now able to think in journeys and raise the quality bar.
  14. The product used to have no users. I pushed to get a beta out to the UK with under 200 users then expanded to invite only beta that reached 11K users. Plans to reach 30k in Q2, 100k in Q3 where in progress.
  15. We moved fast, failed, iterate, and release.
  16. I love watching people grow and feel successful.

What are your challenges? Can you solve it? What do you dislike? I’d suggest this frame work with concrete examples, below is a modified version of mine during that time.

Maybe even step away and re-read these after a week or two. What is common between these? Can you synthesize these?

Now reflect back on your wins.
I bolded some of the words that were important in my wins. For me: Impact, Outcomes, People, Growth, Learning and Product are important to me. Also lots of process statements in my wins which makes me realize I feel satisfied with organizational development. I also began to think about previous roles too! It can help to evolve your thoughts. What was common in the last couple of roles. What do you remember has things that you loved when….

Now reflect on your challenges. What can you control and change?
Are you able to surface some of your values? What are your needs and weaknesses? For me: autonomy, being heard & supported, impatient, and blockers.

Now based on this exercise you should be able to come up with a mission statement. Why do you exist and what is your purpose? Make is crisp and simple! Mine: My mission is to build great products and teams that connect people through technology.

Write down what you do! What makes your approach uniquely you?

Be honest and declare what you need to get there. What type of role do you want to play? How do you want to do it?

A manifesto should be written with passion with strong statements that you can stand behind. This is your story and your path. Not mine. Your manifesto also may not summarize needs. Yours might be completely different. But this gets an idea of how to get there. I don’t think you need to share yours but I’d recommend revisiting after a year or more.

I didn’t use a reference or tutorial to do mine but I found several good references that I liked.

How To Write Your Manifesto by – liveboldandbloom
wikiHow to write a Manifesto

I found several references that are too complicated. It doesn’t have to be unless you want it to be.

Good luck with your manifesto.


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