We invited the community to write as part of a 4 week long writing challenge. Several folks rose to the challenge – check out their writing below.

Management and Leadership by Andrew Spittle
The manager is rooted in a mindset of distrust. They are the helicopter parents of a company and constantly worry that if they miss a correction the whole house will fall down. The leader is rooted in a mindset of trust. They understand that success comes not through constant monitoring but through creating the right environment for progress to happen within.

Planning, Preparedness, and Being Totally, Completely, and Utterly Ready for Any and All Possibilities by Jeff Beaumont
But an obsession to cover absolutely everything on the first try is a destined for destruction for you and me. We need our minds, our health, and our calm, keen, and collected thoughts (that’s what really delivers value to our team: our sanity). To do otherwise proves you are stretched beyond what you’re capable of. You have no slack. I don’t have the ability to think creatively to help that customer, I won’t have the freedom or motivation to dive in, and I can’t handle stressful situations or handling the day to day grind. Simply: I can’t. That — above everything else — guarantees failure. Planning, preparation, and being ready for every single possibility creates the bad news of bankruptcy, breakdowns, and being a basket case.

Measure What You Value: Building Lightweight, Effective Support QA by Sahra Santosha
How can support teams set clear expectations around what a high quality interaction is? How can the qualitative be quantitatively measured? How can you integrate your expectations around quality into the very fiber of your team culture? Support QA is a big topic and could easily fill a book. This will not be a book. In this post, I’m going to try to cover (briefly, but hopefully effectively) how to distil values into scorable metrics, figure out tracking, cadence, and feedback loops. I’ll also go into calibration and program roll-out with integration into hiring and training.

Getting All Hands Support Off The Ground At Trello by Emily Chapman
When the Trello support team received news that the company was going on an all-hands retreat to Puerto Rico, we were psyched. (Who wouldn’t be?)

But right after that excitement, panic set in: how were we going to manage to answer support tickets during the retreat? We didn’t want to make the Support team work when others were having fun, but we couldn’t leave our customers hanging, either.

Our solution was to create an all-hands support training crash course. If employees passed, they earned the distinct privilege of helping out the Support team whilst on vacation! (And our eternal gratitude.)

The Problem With Name Badges And Lanyards by Scott Tran
Most conferences use some form of name badge and lanyard. Name badges are supposed to encourage socializing. The problem is they don’t do their jobs very well.

Since we’re not shy about doing things differently for SupConf, we stepped back and thought about how we could address encouraging socialization without name badges at SupConf.