Summary of The Principles of Quantum Team Management

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8 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


Instagram’s head of engineering James Everingham didn’t like being in charge of teams, but when an interesting challenge required him to step up, he made people management palatable to himself by thinking about it as he would about software. He immediately saw a leap in productivity and happiness from his team. He has since developed a management style that applies principles of quantum mechanics. If you find that intimidating, he’s got you covered: Everingham explains the very basics of quantum mechanics in a way laypeople can understand. He breaks down his management technique into five principles and expands each one with specific examples. getAbstract recommends this article for techies who struggle to enjoy the challenge of managing teams. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to apply the five principles of quantum team management,
  • Why observation in the workplace directly affects outcome, and
  • How to adjust questions you ask your team so as not to limit possible outcomes.

About the Author

James Everingham is the head of engineering at Instagram and has held executive positions at Yahoo and Luminate.



Engineer James Everingham was looking for a way to approach team management in a way that he could enjoy it. He decided that, instead of acting like a therapist, he would assume a problem-solving point of view and began to design a management system like he would design a machine. To account for the unpredictability of human behavior, he applied quantum mechanics, including “superposition” – the simultaneous existence of multiple states. The thought experiment Schrödinger’s Cat can help explain superposition: Imagine a cat in a box with a vial of hydrocyanic acid and a minute amount of a radioactive substance. If one atom of the radioactive substance decays, it triggers a sequence in which a hammer breaks the vial and the cat dies. The box is closed and the observer won’t know whether the cat is still alive until he or she opens the box. Until then, the cat is dead and alive simultaneously. Use that concept to apply five principles of quantum team management:

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