6 Things I Look For When Considering Projects and Teams

Just searching for something
Credit: Flickr / emisss

Women in senior roles (I am ignoring the presence of new grad women as a metric – it’s a meaningless measure of diversity).

A manager with some kind of work life balance. Does he (sadly it’s always a he) talk about his kids? Make an effort to moderate his travel for the sake of his wife? I’m not very interested in children but it’s normally a good sign if he’s involved in their lives. Managers are important for many, many other reasons though, and I try to get a sense of these too. Although I will start with, can we have a conversation?

Shipping. What have they shipped lately? Dy they ship regularly? What do they plan to ship next?

A focus on UX. Less applicable for things that don’t involve front end work, but I’m obsessed with creating great experiences, and whether it’s worth it is not an argument I want to have anymore, I’m bored of it. As far as the user is concerned, the UX is your application. It needs to be good.

A hole. I look for places where I can come and add value, some kind of expertise or focus that is missing. I’ve reached a point in my career where I know what I’m good at and what I want to focus on. I want something that aligns with that. This doesn’t need to be purely technical, I’m exploring the idea it shouldn’t be – the team I’m on now, I got a piece of advice from a friend that made me consider it entirely differently. I was stressing about how I didn’t think I knew enough about javascript, and he said: “This team has leadership, a user focus, and a conscience if they have you”. This framed my thinking completely differently.

Honesty. There is nowhere where everywhere is completely hunky dory. There have to be things people are working on improving, or feel they need to address. Anyone pretending otherwise, I just wouldn’t believe. I want to know what they think their biggest problems are, how they are addressing them, progress they have made, and next steps.

Here’s a web-dev centric, but still widely applicable article on this.

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