#28 - Intentional Technical Leadership

Newsletter - Saturday, 22 October 2022

Hello my friend!

Happy Saturday! 🎉

Welcome to another issue of the Intentional Technical Leadership newsletter.

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Here are this weeks articles and quite a couple of podcast episodes to listen to. I hope you enjoy them.

🔖 Interesting Reading

How I support my reports' mental health as a new manager

I find it really positive that over the last few years, there's been a lot more discussion about mental health in the workplace. I think it's really important that we start to normalise talking about it and I'm glad that it's getting more attention.

As a new manager you may find one of your team comes to you and asks for help with their mental health. This article is a great guide on starting to support them.

While we talk about our team's mental health, it's also important to look after our own. This question came up in a Slack workspace I'm part of and I found it a really important and insightful question. You often take on the weight of problems for your team but you have to be mindful of your own mental health. Work stresses combined with home stresses can get a little bit much at times. Make sure you're taking regular time for yourself too. 👍

If you have any tips are articles about a manager's mental health then please share them with me. I'd love to read more about it from others.

🎧 Great Listening

Building Self-Managed Teams: A Case Study from Riot Games

This is a great podcast and in-depth case study of a self-management effort at Riot Games. They set out to build teams who were self-sufficient but delivered great results.

But did they need a leader? Yes and no.

The article shares some great insights into setting up teams to be more autonomous without putting managers out of a job. The manager of the team acts more as a coach and mentor to the team rather than a manager. It's their role to get the best performance out of the team and to make the vision and the goals clear, not to make all the decisions and write the code.

Have a read or listen to this post and podcast as it shares some ideas for making your teams more self-sufficient.

Episode 30 | Engineering Velocity: The Need for Speed in Software Engineering | Developing Leadership | The Podcast for Engineering Leaders

In a previous newsletter I talked about team metrics. I'm always interested to hear more about how teams use them to drive team performance. This podcast episode is a great discussion about how to measure and improve engineering velocity.

I'm torn on which metrics are valuable in an organisation so it's interesting to hear more about using velocity of teams as a way to understand and improve your team process (which I'm all for!) If you can use it to identify bottlenecks and improve your team's processes then it could be a great metric.

Have a listen to the podcast and let me know what you think. If you use metrics with your teams, what do you measure and how do you use them?

🌶️ Hot Take

A lot of managers think that management is about defining rules... | Senior Oops Engineer

I think this tweet is really insightful. I've seen a lot of managers who think that management is about defining rules and processes. But it's not. It's about helping people to do their best work.

A manager's role is to help to build culture and ways of work to enable the team to be happy, productive, and to deliver great work.

I find this quote really useful:

The best managers don't look like they're doing much of anything because they've put in motion a system steers itself towards its desired outcomes without requiring their constant intervention. This is difficult to value in a context where individual performance must be measured.

I think this is a really important point. We don't often see the work that we put in place for 3 to 6 months until after we help the team. It sometimes feels like we're not doing much but we're actually setting up the team for success.

What do you think? Do you agree with this tweet?

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 as I love hearing from my readers.

Have an amazing week and be excellent to each other!

Speak to you soon,

Senior Engineering Manager @ Netlify

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