#8 - Intentional Technical Leadership

Newsletter - Saturday, 28 May 2022

How are you doing my friend?

Happy Saturday! 🎉

Welcome to another issue of the Intentional Technical Leadership newsletter.

I've had a great week of learning as I transitioned into my new role at Netlify. I always try and connect with lots of new people in the first week to see how we can help to support each other.

I had a fascinating discussion about how to support team collaboration across time zones. It's great to hear how the teams at Netlify can work together yet have an 8 or 9 hour time difference in some cases. Async ways of working really help here. It's something I need to learn a lot more about.

So on to the week's articles. Enjoy! 🎉

🔖 Interesting Reading

managing people • PETALs in Engineering Management

My great friend Gavin has written a great article about the curious differences of the Engineering Manager / Team Lead role at different companies.

We are both people focused managers but have both worked with some more technical focused leaders who don't always enable their teams in the best way.

Read more to understand what a PETAL is!

Hiring technical talent: An exercise in clarity, patience, and preparation

This is a great guide to help you learn how to best hire software engineers on to your team. It's written by my new VP of Engineering, Dana Lawson, who is an experienced technical leader.

She shares some great tips for making a fantastic interview experience for your candidates.

Finding a company with an inclusive engineering culture

One of the things I really care about is building a diverse and inclusive team culture. I've worked in some roles where there's an ego-driven culture and it's not the sort of place I want to work at again.

This is a wonderful article which shares thoughts on how to empower people from diverse backgrounds to thrive in a technology role. It gives some useful pointers for ideas your company or team could consider.

How to drive decisions as an engineering leader

Here is another interesting article from Sarah Drasner, a Director of Engineering for the Web at Google.

In it she talks about how to gain clarity in driving decisions in your organisation. This is often a challenge to get multiple teams and stakeholders aligned.

She makes a key point that trust has to be built up over time to enable great collaboration between the involved stakeholders.

Learning how to enable that trust is something we should all be thinking more about.

Read the article to find out how.

👋🏻 One From Me

Become a better software engineering manager

I wrote this a while ago when I wanted to encourage others to consider engineering management as a potential career option.

I knew many senior software engineers who feel like their only option is to go into management as the next career move. In my article I point out that it's a different role than being an individual contributor and share some thoughts on what I've learnt over the past 8 years as a technical leader.

Are you helping to drive similar values in your teams?

Have a read and tell me what you think.

🌶️ Hot Take

Ken Kocienda on Twitter

Never used story points

Ken Kocienda talks about shipping great products with his team at Apple but without using any of the agile methodologies that I'm sure you're all familiar with.

There are some great comments sharing how other teams consider agile and whether it brings any benefits. It's a tricky balance of delivering software regularly and informing others within the organisation but without adding a process which adds too much burden to getting software released.

What do you think about agile development practices?

Do you find them useful or are they too much overhead and process for your teams?

I hope you enjoyed this week's selection of intentional technical leadership articles.

Hit reply and let me know what you think.

Feel free to send me any interesting articles or podcasts you've found too.

Have an amazing week and be excellent to each other!

Speak to you soon,

Senior Engineering Manager @ Netlify

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