Hey there, my name is Eric and I'm a product director here at GitLab. This README is meant to tell you a bit more about myself and to serve as a way for what it might be like to work with me.
I joined GitLab in 2018 and created this README deck during my first week. While some of it is focused on ramping up, most of the information in the deck still holds true.
I grew up mainly in a small town in Iowa, along the banks of the Mississippi river. I was raised to value hard work, honesty, and kindness and I attempt to live out those precepts each and every day.
I have been married for over 11 years and have three children. Family is incredibly important to me and I try hard to be the best father and husband I can be, though I fall short at times.
I live in San Antonio, TX where I enjoy the warm weather, attractions like Six Flags and Sea World, smoking meats, reading, and playing the occasional video game.
I attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and despite our track record of ending up in the bottom half of the standings nearly every year in both basketball and football, I watch nearly every game on TV.
I've got an interesting professional background that spans hardware, software, cloud, and DevOps, but I've always worked in the tech industry. For a full background, you can check out my LinkedIn profile.
My Barton StrengthsFinder top 5 strengths are:
My role as a Director of Product
As a Director of Product at GitLab, it's my job to build and lead a high functioning team of product managers. The job description for product directors is well defined, however, there are a few responsibilities that are near and dear to me, related to building our team. I really get excited by:
Sourcing, recruiting, and hiring the best talent we can find for any open roles we have.
Ensuring fantastic onboarding experiences in order to ramp up team members as quickly as possible.
Meeting with directs via regular 1x1s to build relationships, get to know team members deeply, and unblock them.
Ensuring I am helping you achieve your career goals, and working with you proactively to do so.
Empowering team members to make the best decisions for their products by being a servant leader and removing any roadblocks I can.
Serving team members by helping them work through tough issues.
Collaborating with team members on important product strategy initiatives.
In June of 2020, I was promoted to Senior Director of Product. For more information on why I was promoted, check out my promotion doc.
Communicating and working with me
I love getting to know people personally and deeply - if this is not your desired style/interaction, please let me know and I will adapt to you and your communication style!
I love to work through problems together. Don’t feel like you need to always bring a solution with a problem, though it can be helpful if we have a proposal to discuss.
I tend to listen first, and then contribute to conversations. I really love to gather as much context as possible. I would rather think about what you are saying, rather than wait for the next available space where I can say what I had planned to all along. I will even listen with respect to viewpoints that I disagree with. It's not always feasible to respond point by point to something I disagree with, so I will typically concentrate on the bigger picture. Please do not interpret my active listening or lack of point by point response as implicit agreement.
I desire for decision making to be at the level closest to those who are most familiar with the subject are. I will make suggestions and ask probing questions, but at the end of the day, product managers are the directly responsible individuals for decision making and prioritization.
I strive to work on harmonious teams in highly collaborative environments. I do not enjoy conflict, but will address it head on in the attempt to drive a better outcome for all involve. I enjoy working in open and honest environments rather than environments that are highly political or where there are ulterior motives.
I will make mistakes, but I am typically quick to own them and apologize. I try to understand what I could have done better in every situation and ask the same for my team members.
How you can help me
Do your best, every day. Keep the big picture in mind.
Assume positive intent from your co-workers and aim to work collaboratively with them.
Live out the GitLab core values in everything that you do.
Prioritize for fantastic business outcomes. We have an amazing opportunity to do what very few companies have done, so let's make the most of it!
Have a bias for action. Don't let things sit if you can move them along. Don't wait for consensus decision making on 2 way door decisions.
Provide me feedback on things I can do to improve. I view feedback as a requirement for growing both personally and professionally.
As I mentioned earlier, family is incredibly important to me. As such, I will typically finish my work day around 5PM central in order to maximize the amount of time I have with my children each day. In the mornings, I'm usually online around 8AM central after getting kids to school and getting ready for the day.
I desire to be approachable, please let me know if I ever come off as opposite of that. If you need to chat outside of a schedule 1x1, feel free to drop an ad-hoc meeting on the calendar, even if it’s the same day.
I am typically very quick to respond to Slack/Text/Email during working hours. At times, I will turn off notifications to get deep work done, but will typically check in once an hour if I'm in that mode.
I go back and forth between having the Slack app installed on my phone and not. If it's installed notifications are turned off.
360 Feedback and Development Themes
Throughout the spring of 2020, we ran a company wide 360 feedback process. The following are themes that Eric is working on for personal and professional development based on that feedback.