#19 - Intentional Technical Leadership

Newsletter - Saturday, 13 August 2022

Hello my friend!

Happy Saturday! 🎉

Welcome to another issue of the Intentional Technical Leadership newsletter.

How has your week been?

This week has been a busy one both personally and at work. Both have been challenging so I'm glad I'm starting to wrap up before my summer break with my family.

I'm onboarding some new team members shortly so I've been thinking about how I can ensure the best experience as they change manager. It's a tough question as I think everyone's transition is different.

Your team's expectations of a new manager from team members differs based upon previous experiences of both good and bad managers. Read on for an interesting blog post about changing managers.

And in this issue I'll try and not mess up my markdown links like I did last week! Sorry Sam for not linking you properly! I've now added automated tests to ensure my links work as expected! 🤓

Enjoy this week's articles!

🔖 Interesting Reading

Three steps to successfully onboard junior engineers

I really care about making the technology industry a better place. I want to lift everyone up regardless of their experience level, who they are, and where they're from.

I've seen lots of companies bring in junior engineers and then set them up to fail, often unintentionally. Junior engineers need much more support due to their lack of experience of working with bigger teams. Companies often have poor onboarding processes and don't encourage senior engineers to support them well.

This article shares some tips to better onboard junior engineers to ensure they have a great experience.

How do I deal with my manager changing?

My team is increasing in size soon and I want to make sure the new engineers that are moving teams are well supported. One thing I care about is that they're not stressed about having a new manager.

Getting a new manager can be tough. You haven't built up a great relationship of trust yet (see the video below!)

As their engineering manager, you haven't found out where their skills lie and what areas they want to improve.

They're worried you'll be completely different to their old manager and that you might want to micromanage them.

This is another great blog post from James Stanier, Director of Engineering at Shopify. In it he shares how you should deal with a changing manager. This is incredibly useful if your manager is changing but is as equally as valuable for ensuring any new team members have a great experience with you.

It's ok to say what's ok

This is a great article from the UK's Government Digital Service and one that we used to share with the team when I worked at the BBC.

It's easy to learn the official things you need to know. You'll have a contract which tells you your hours, your pay, your benefits and your pension or 401K.

But what about the common things in your team which aren't documented well?

  • What do those acronyms mean?
  • How do we tell people we're not feeling well when we work remotely?
  • Is it ok to not be on Slack regularly?
  • Can I ask a question in a meeting with a director in it?

There are lots of unknowns which any team may have unwritten agreements on. Yes, they really should be documented better but they're often not.

This is a great list to share with your team and think about the known unknowns that your team have (and maybe write them down!)

📺 Worth Watching

Building Trusting Teams

I really enjoy Simon Sinek's books and videos. He's a great technical leader who shares insights and ideas that will help you lead better teams.

In this video he shares a his insights into building trust within teams and why leaders need to do this first.

While you don't always need to take control and ask people to do specific tasks, if your team doesn't trust you, they won't respond well if you ever need to.

🌶️ Hot Take

Why your daily stand-ups don't work and how to fix them

An agile hot-take! Yikes!

Everyone has them and I'm no different. Over the years I've done many forms of agile planning:

  • Scrum
  • Kanban
  • Scrumban
  • Thankfully not SAFe! 🌶️

None of them are the silver bullet we often hope for.

This is a great post which shares thoughts on why your agile stand-ups aren't great and how you could improve them.

This is something I've really needed over the years in those daily stand-ups that lasted for 40 minutes which the team ended up hating.

Have a read and let me know what you think.

Do you still do stand-ups or do you communicate differently? Are they working for you and the team if you still do them?

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

I'll be on my summer vacation for the next few weeks so the newsletter may be missing for a while. I might get to schedule one more before I go but if not, expect the next one in September 2022!

Hit reply and let me know what you think of this issue. Did anything help you?

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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