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Posts About Management
- Podcast: It Shipped that Way - We talked about hiring directors, the fallacy of “servant leadership”, and what makes teams great [listen].
- DOU Podcast: Empathy, Empowerment and Feedback - I recorded an episode of the DOU podcast with Oleks. It was an interesting and fun conversation!
- Energy Management Exercise - My Energy Management for Newer Managers post has been turned into an exercise on Yerbo. You can find it here.
- Business Insider piece on Remote Work - I’m in Business Insider talking about remote work, the article is paywalled [link].
- Escaping The House Elf Management Trap - I would love to find a new name for this, now that JK Rowling is cancelled, but in the Harry Potter books, house elves are powerful magical beings, who are condemned to (mostly invisible) servitude, largely of people who would uphold harmful power structures (much like JK Rowling herself). The tragedy of the house elf […]
- 7 Suggestions for Writing a Good Self Review - Originally shared internally and lightly edited for external readability. Note that this comes from a context where the self review is not part of the promotion packet so focuses on it as a tool to help the manager put together the review. Goal of a self review: None goals of self review: Your self review […]
- Meta Problems and Where to Find Them - Meta-problem (n): root cause issues of a collection of symptom problems. One of the things I do as an engineering director, is live in the realm of the meta problem. The thing that is behind the problems that people are talking about. For instance, a meta problem of an individualistic mindset on the team might […]
- The Anatomy of a 1:1 - Broadly speaking, my overarching agenda for any 1:1 is as follows: It starts with the checkin, “how’s it going?”, an open ended question that some people respond with a status update, and some do not. The important thing is what comes next – finding out how the person feels. Sometimes a status update is useful […]
- Energy Management for Newer Managers - When I coach new managers, or transition ICs into management, one of the key struggles initially (which I also remember myself) is overwhelm. For some, this ends up in exhaustion, and those are the people who often switch back onto the IC path – they find management unsustainable at that time (some return to it […]
- LeadTime – How teams work: DuckDuckGo’s engineering team - I did an interview with Range, talking about how the fully distributed teams I lead at DuckDuckGo work. Read it here
- Low Process Culture, High Process Culture - When I changed jobs in 2020, I went from a low-process culture to a high-process culture (or: what I perceive as high-process, all things are relative). It was a bit of a culture shock. The process stressed me out. For instance, my previous job did not have performance review. You were supposed to submit feedback […]
- Talk: The Culture of Process - I recorded this talk for the previous round of LeadDev Together. You can access it here (requires signup). All the penguin imagery in this talk are photos my mom took in Antarctica.
- Remote Meetings Panel - I was on a panel recently – well, we ran it like a meeting, which was fun – about remote meetings and making them suck less. It was fun and I got some nice ideas from my fellow panelists! Watch it here.
- The culture of process - My latest in LeadDev… One of the challenges we face as engineering managers is how people react to process differently. Sometimes it’s like we’re talking about entirely different things – we propose something we expect to be lightweight, and people react like we’re instituting TPS reports or time-tracking in six minute intervals (normal for lawyers, […]
- The Being and Doing Brainstorm - A tool in balance coaching is the being and doing brainstorm. You brainstorm in two lists: How am I being? What am I doing? The combination of the two feeds each other. E.g. you might say I’m “being proactive”, and then in doing you could list some ways to be proactive (e.g. “make a todo […]
- Three Core Ideas to Make Remote Work, Work - I have been working for distributed companies for over 5 years – long before this pandemic malarkey and everyone becoming a “remote work expert”. The reality of the past 18 months for many people has been a lot of terrible remote work. Including for me at times – I love remote work in “normal times”, […]
- Coachability: the overlooked factor in people development - My latest in LeadDev… How do your reports respond to feedback? As managers, it’s our job to grow the people we work with. This is how we build a bench, and scale ourselves and the organization. Of course, this is easy to say and hard to do, and we’ve all encountered a spectrum of people: […]
- The Return of the Office - There has been Much Discourse over the past few days on forcing people to return to offices, and judgement of those who may not want to. Has Remote Work… Worked? I always wonder what’s on the other side of these edicts about returning to the office. How do the people writing them think the last […]
- Pandemic Problems - For the past couple of months, I’ve kept a post it on my desk. It says: How are people doing? – Downtime– Social isolation– Perspective You can probably guess what it’s for – it’s a reminder of the core struggles I’ve been noticing from people. Downtime: downtime is lower quality, and people struggle to recharge. […]
- Podcast: Ray Wenderlich / Living By the Code Series - I recorded a podcast based on my Living By the Code interview, and got spicy talking about inclusion, equity, and sponsorship. We also talked about Glowforge, books I love, and what new managers need. [iTunes] [Spotify]
- Empowering your engineering team with an effective decision-making process - My latest for LeadDev… A common area where managers fail to scale is in decision-making. The two extremes are: being responsible means making all decisions and enabling a team means staying out of details and letting them make decisions. Both of these are bad. One is controlling and fails to scale for obvious reasons. The other fails to […]
- As an engineering leader, should you be working with a coach? - Following on from our recent video, my friend Jean and I did a little AMA on the same topic – coaching. You can read the write up here.
- Lead Time Chat - My friend Jean and I recorded a little video for her Lead Time Chat series on the topic of coaching. Some topics we covered… The difference between an external coach and a manager. Working with an external coach across multiple jobs. Finding a good fit with a coach. Whether an engineering background is what you […]
- Panel: Recognizing and rectifying your mistakes as an engineering leader - Last month I put together a panel for the Lead Dev on recognizing and rectifying your mistakes as an engineering leader. I rarely moderate panels, but for this audience and this topic I was in! The big failure of most panels is that they are full of abstract platitudes. To avoid that – especially on […]
- Contravariance Podcast - I recorded an episode of Contravariance podcast, on the topic of moving into management – the expected, and unexpected, the hard and the extra hard. [Listen] [Download]
- Leading your engineering team with ‘experiments’ not ‘processes’ - My first post for the LeadDev… Many teams have the same fear when it comes to a new manager: they fear the process monster. Process monster (n): a manager for whom the answer is always, always ‘process’. The process monster will add more and more processes to the team until the team collapses under the […]
- Supermanagers Podcast - I recorded an episode of the Supermanagers podcast and it was really fun! We talked about many things including the importance of coachability, why you should get rid of your boring meetings, and the worst manager I ever had. Listen on: [iTunes] [Spotify] [Google Play] [Anchor]
- You can fix your hiring process: Here’s your five-step plan - My latest in Quartz… As a manager who has usually taken over teams that have been struggling in some way, there is something that I’ve consistently had to do: fix the hiring process. Hiring well is a huge lever for team transformation. Getting it right doesn’t just mean hiring good people (although that part is crucial), […]
- DevInterrupted Podcast and AMA - I recorded a podcast recently for DevInterrupted, where we talked about async communication, team experiments, and the post Eli and I wrote about hotfixes for your newly remote team. I’ll also be doing an AMA on Friday 7 am Pacific / 4 pm Central Europe in the DevInterrupted discord.
- Interview: Cate Huston of DuckDuckGo on building a high-aspiring career without burnout - I did an interview a while ago (all delays my fault) with Yerbo who created the Burnout Index, talking about burnout, kindness, good friends and self care. Read the article
- Hotfixes for your Newly Remote Team - As many of us accept the new reality, hair increasingly wild, and perhaps having embraced a pandemic wardrobe (daytime pajamas are a legit work outfit now), there’s no return to the office in sight for those of us who can work remotely. It’s time to consider some of the ways in which our teams are […]
- Remote Work Discussion on Channel 4 News - I was on the UK’s Channel 4 news talking about remote work, you can see the video which is provocatively titled “‘Economy could be at a standstill if we don’t get people back into work’ – businesswoman Linda Plant”. I do get the concerns about the economy, social interaction, and creativity. But, I think we […]
- Building Alignment with Co Leadership - In February I took the building alignment workshop run by Co Leadership with my colleague (at the time) Beau. I had wanted to take one of Jean and Edmond’s workshops for some time, and it did not disappoint; it was super helpful, going beyond the normal management 101 and more deeply into collaborating cross functionally. Whilst they […]
- Remote-team managers can learn a lot from open-source communities - My latest in Quartz… It is truly a difficult and emotionally exhausting time to be a manager. Even those who are used to managing remotely are having to navigate the shifting expectations and chaos of disrupted lives and disrupted businesses. Of course, some people deal with that level of disruption by trying to increase control. […]
- The only truthful answer to any question about management - My latest in Quartz… With a few other people, I run a Slack chat group for engineering managers. We’ve made some deliberate choices—for example, we don’t have a channel for #inclusion. Every so often this comes up, and we invoke our argument: Inclusion is central to good management, so all channels are inclusion channels. We […]
- How to fix five of the most common pain points of working from home - My latest in Quartz… Over the past couple of weeks there has been so much conversation about how to work remotely, missing the key phrase during a global pandemic, which I’m not sure any of us has the answer to. Meanwhile, a lot of people are struggling, even those who already have been working remotely for awhile. […]
- Three signs of a poor hiring process—and four ways to fix it - My latest in Quartz… When given the opportunity to establish a process, we’re all biased to advocate for one in which we would be successful ourselves. In hiring, this plays out in two main ways: “A” players build monocultures, hiring people just like them, and “B” players hire “C” players, hiring people who won’t threaten […]
- #rfrw? #rfrw! - Last week Nicole Sanchez of Vaya Consulting and I ran a webinar on remote management, you can find the video below. It was super fun recording it! There was also a summary post on WordPress.com. Tweet your questions at us with the hashtag #rfrw.
- Mastering New Leadership Styles - “The best leaders master multiple leadership styles”, blithely comments some post on leadership. OK, including one written by me. But how? Many leaders are overly reliant on a style and this can hold them back. Generally leadership styles are a function of emotional intelligence, and working on emotional intelligence, such as working on becoming more […]
- A good onboarding experience for new hires requires two key things - My latest in Quartz… In my time as a manger, I’ve encountered quite a few people who were badly onboarded. As a rule it takes as long a time or longer to fix it as it took to poorly onboard them. Sometimes we’re able to re-onboard people and make them successful… and sometimes it’s too […]
- Every manager needs the magic of a work BFF - Recent piece in Quartz… One of the few pieces of advice I feel good about giving to everyone is this: When your job gets harder, the best thing you can do is make a friend. This is also backed by the data. Gallup research has consistently shown that having a best friend at work leads to better […]
- Distributed: How to Build and Strengthen Distributed Engineering Teams - I recorded an episode of my boss Matt’s podcast with him, it was really fun and we covered some interesting topics! They also write up a nice piece to go with it, which you can read here. [Transcript] [Apple] [Radio Public][Overcast]
- How to build—and manage—a self-improving team - My latest in Quartz… A lot of things in management become clearer when you realize it’s much easier to measure a team’s progress than its state. A team produces 30 units of “x” in a week. Is this good? Well, we could start by asking what the value of each unit is, or by looking […]
- Why a good boss likes it when people complain - My latest in Quartz… I know some managers say “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions,” but personally I don’t subscribe to it. I love when people complain to me. Of course, complaining is a national past time for the British, and we don’t just limit ourselves to complaining about the weather, or the poor […]
- As a leader, your job should change every six months even if you stay put - My latest in Quartz… Leadership roles evolve, especially through periods of transition. As a leader, I have found my own role changing as challenges on the team change—around every four months I realize everything is fundamentally different, and the way I need to spend my time changes, too. Recently the number of my direct reports more […]
- Does your team need to rebrand? - My latest in Quartz… Some leaders are fantastic at “team branding”—communicating about their group in ways that give the rest of the organization a good understanding of what the team is all about. Others are squarely focused on “team public relations”—telling a great story about a team that, if we looked more closely, we might […]
- Where do you start when a team is broken? - My latest in Quartz… One of my friends just took over a new team and found… far more of a situation than she was expecting. She faced a choice: commit to the turnaround, or switch to something that seems like a better bet. Of course, I advocated for the turnaround. Struggling teams are places of opportunity, both […]
- The five types of communication problems that destroy company morale - My latest in Quartz… There’s a saying in software that all bugs are eventually user interface bugs, because someone has to see them to report them. In organizations, it often seems like all problems are eventually communication problems, because communication is the way we interface with each other—and the way most problems surface. There are […]
- Creating the Productive Tension - When I joined the mobile team at Automattic, we had one designer – Matt Miklic, who wrote about the explerience of leading that team. However one thing I was reminded of following some of the current discussions around product development is how we thought about and approached design at the centre of the team, and […]
- How to begin the invisible work of change management - My latest in Quartz… Someone once said to me “you’re good at change management” and I was like, what? I sat with the idea for a couple of weeks and eventually realized: Oh! That is what I do! I take teams that are struggling and help them focus, align, and start delivering at their potential, […]
- The Cost of Fixing Things - In September, I disappeared in Seoul and caused everyone who cares about me to think I was having some kind of breakdown. I deactivated my Twitter account, and refused to engage with anyone other than my closest friends. I got to the point where I felt I had to drop everything, and then I came […]
- Phase 1 of Hiring, Getting from 0-30 - Towards the end of 2017, we reopened hiring on the mobile team at Automattic which had been shut since the start of the year as we got things in order. I think of this as phase 1 of hiring on the team – nailing the basics of the process, and making some progress with diversity […]
- Why you can’t manage humans like they’re software - My latest in Quartz… Early on at Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos famously issued a memo about how software was to be built at the company. Teams would share their data through service interfaces, or APIs, the same way that they would share it with an outside customer. That meant that a developer on one team […]
- The four layers of communication in a functional team - My latest in Quartz… Functional teams have four layers of communication: – A mission (also known as a vision)– Strategy (made up of proximate objectives)– Tactics and process– Execution This list might seem like it includes categories of action—it does. But it’s not just doing these things, but also communicating them that ties teams together. Communicating the items on this […]
- Answer these 10 questions to understand if you’re a good manager - My latest in Quartz… Something I struggled with as a new manager was finding a sense of accomplishment, and as I’ve moved on to manage managers, I’ve seen this become a challenge for them, too. It’s hard to find the right success metrics upon which to judge our work because our output is to make […]
- The first two questions to ask when your team is struggling - My second article in Quartz… I’ve never stepped into a leadership role without it quickly becoming clear why a new leader was needed. I think it’s normal for companies to hire new leaders when there are problems that need to be addressed. So I suspect that as the congratulations die down, it’s also normal to […]
- Understanding how process impacts outcome can help avoid useless meetings - My first article in Quartz! Earlier this year, when I was learning how to facilitate a specific type of workshop, a colleague revealed the secret to making it great: understanding the outcome and keeping it in mind throughout the entire process. If the team isn’t focused on the outcome, than they’re just performing a process. […]
- Estimations and Orders of Magnitude - Call me a cynic, but I don’t expect software estimations to be accurate. Because software is built by humans – and they take sick days, and vacations, time to help their colleagues (hopefully), have off days as well as good ones. But I still think estimations are worth doing. Firstly, because if we don’t have […]
- On Boiling Frogs and Drowning Rats - Today's management lesson: "You have to boil people like frogs, not drown them like rats" — @catehstn — Beau (@beaulebens) June 25, 2018 Beau recently tweeted an observation I made to him, which people reacted to… Something to do with “plague animals” all “ending up dead”. And well… maybe it isn’t my best management metaphor. […]
- Towards Productive Technical Discussions - Note: I wrote this post for an internal team blog, but thought it was worth sharing more widely. Part of getting to good code reviews is some up front discussion about trade-offs and implications for bigger architectural changes. I think of code review as when “my” code becomes “our” code – for architecture, those conversations […]
- Creating Success, Together - This is the final part of a 6-part series of blog posts based on a talk I prepared called Successfully Derailed Product. It’s about the ways in which we define and talk about “success” influence what – and how – we build. See part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5. We want to […]
- How Should We Define Success? - This is part 5 of a series of blog posts based on a talk I prepared called Successfully Derailed Product. It’s about the ways in which we define and talk about “success” influence what – and how – we build. See part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. What we’ve covered up to now is […]
- Interview: How to create momentum on day zero - I did an interview with GitPrime about hiring and onboarding. I really like how it came out, and I hope you like it too! “We talk about how engineers hate process,” says Cate Huston, Mobile Lead at Automattic, “but here’s my theory: engineers often love process, but when they love it, they call it culture.” It’s […]
- How Do Users Define Success? - This is part 4 of a series of blog posts based on a talk I prepared called Successfully Derailed Product. It’s about the ways in which we define and talk about “success” influence what – and how – we build. See part 1, part 2, part 3. Let’s take another step back and talk about how […]
- How Do Teams Define Success? - This is part 3 of a series of blog posts based on a talk I prepared called Successfully Derailed Product. It’s about the ways in which we define and talk about “success” influence what – and how – we build. See part 1, part 2. Taking a step back from individual success, I wanted to understand […]
- How do Developers Define Success? - This is part 2 of a series of blog posts based on a talk I prepared called Successfully Derailed Product. It’s about the ways in which we define and talk about “success” influence what – and how – we build. See part 1. With the caveat that how we define success comes from various places, […]
- Whose Expectations are Those, Anyway? - This is part 1 of a series of blog posts based on a talk I prepared called Successfully Derailed Product. It’s about the ways in which we define and talk about “success” influence what – and how – we build. There used to be a joke at a company I worked for that went […]
- Managing Up and Down - “Managing up” can seem like a dirty word, I definitely thought so for a while, and deludedly aspired to be the kind of manager who did not need to be “managed up” (thankfully I have friends like Camille to call me on my bullshit). Now I can accept that 100% my team have to manage up with […]
- Try This One Weird Tip To Increase Leadership in Your Organization - As leaders, most of us have been in a place where we’re maxed out. It can be tempting to just do it ourselves and hope things improve. Another thing that often happens is that it gets shoved on someone else, and they’re left to deal with it. As a rule, I try not to hand […]
- Questions for an End of Year 1:1 - My coach (Dani) went through this list of questions in our call last week, and I’ve been using it in my last 1:1s of 2017. I’ve been finding it interesting as a structure for a conversation that looks back at the year and where we are now, versus where we were a year ago. Sometimes […]
- Home is Where the Work Is: Increment Mag - I was in Increment talking about remote work and what my schedule looks like working on a distributed, global team.
- Process Design - (or: be careful what you incentivise) When we design processes, we are heavily biased to design processes that we would be successful in. We see this with hiring processes, and we see this with promotion processes. You might think having multiple people would help with this but this seems just as likely to create the […]
- New-ish Eng-Manager Slack, >1 Year On - Mid-2016, we started a slack for newer engineering managers. After a couple of months, we started growing it more actively and I’m excited that it continues to grow. I believe in community, and the value of peer-mentoring, and it’s been great to create a space for that and have others value it too. For me […]
- Quarterly Rituals: Empathy Challenge - It’s easy to get so focused on your day to day that you forget the bigger picture of the product you work on. We’ve been doing these quarterly challenges with the idea of building empathy for our users. Each time, taking this mindset, I discover things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I try to choose […]
- Book: How F*cked Up is Your Management? - How F*cked Up is Your Management? is a collection of essays, many of which I’d already read on Medium. I did like it though – there’s a value to reading a curated collection the builds upon each other. Also, I want to support people writing things that I appreciate. Some of it’s really good and actionable […]
- Be Less Afraid of Giving Feedback - My friend Camille told me once that women get too much feedback, and men too little. I think about this whenever I think about feedback because it captures some of the baggage we bring to giving feedback. If you’ve got a lot of (low value) feedback you might think a lot about whether the […]
- Simple Leadership Podcast - I recorded an episode on managing managers. We talked about getting feedback, coaching, and why peer support is so important. It was really fun to record, and I hope you like it!
- One Year as 📱👑 - One year ago today, I tweeted: ✨ first day @automattic ✨ — cate, a human being (@catehstn) November 7, 2016 Three weeks after that, when my support rotation ended… https://twitter.com/catehstn/status/803379914988810242 As I recall, my friend James described it as “the most low key new job tweet”. I pointed out the extremely descriptive emoji for my […]
- Bi-Monthly Rituals: The State of All the Things - At the end of last year, I somehow found myself as the lead of a team that was 4x as big as my previous one. Many things were different, but one of the big ones was changing from having one person on each platform who really knew everything that was going on… to having some […]
- Monthly Rituals: Snaps - A few months ago, I started putting up posts like this each month. Some other teams started doing it too. I like the idea of encouraging people to take a moment for what they’re happy about, and the things others have helped them with.
- On Skip 1:1s - One of the first things I did as a new manager of managers was schedule skip 1:1s with everyone on the team. I blocked off an hour per person, and crammed ~20 hours of them into my first two weeks – along with a lightning trip from Buenos Aires to Philly for WordCamp US. It was […]
- The Magic of #FEELINGStime - A truth that should be universally acknowledged – but isn’t – is that a group of hardworking people do not necessarily make a high performing team. On a basic level, a group of hard working people checking code into the same codebase isn’t necessarily a team. At a more complex level, hard work doesn’t necessarily […]
- Org Survey Part 2: Analysis - This is the second part of running an org survey. You can find the questions in part 1. What Does The Data Look Like? First step is color-coding the spreadsheet to show trends in the numbers. I made a sample spreadsheet and generated random data – so it looks a little chaotic – but you […]
- Org Survey Part 1: Questions - I remember when I managed a 6 person team, and I always felt like I had a handle on what was going on (perhaps I’m being overly nostalgic here). Now I manage a ~26 person organisation, and on a good day I feel like I have a general idea of what’s happening, and certain specific […]
- Leadership Podcast with John Maeda! - My colleague John and I recorded a little podcast together, and you can listen to it here. We talked about listen-first leadership, being judged on performance vs potential, and how I think of a senior engineer as “making the whole team better”. There’s also a transcript available for those of you (like me!) who hate […]
- Running an Effective Mobile Team, Part 6: Encouraging Accountability - Accountable: People can have expectations of each other. This includes leadership. Problem: Often these things result in mobile being a bit disconnected. Server side changes can break clients, and then mobile teams take the heat from users and leadership. This can lead to resentment, which makes accountability hard. Accountability comes last, because it builds on […]
- Running an Effective Mobile Team, Part 5: Automating Things - Let’s talk about automation. This seems like an out of place thing in this series. Predictable! Prioritized! Connected! Accountable! These are all fuzzy people things. Automated sounds like… more fun? Like Proper Developer Work? Automation is like documentation, but developers might actually write it. Without automation: It’s easy to have random esoteric things that few […]
- Running an Effective Mobile Team, Part 4: Building Connections - Connected: People work together and take an interest in each other (this doesn’t mean everyone has to be friends – but they are friendly). Problem: We lack a clear model for mobile infrastructure. This leads to discussions like whether to have a mobile team or pods. Regardless of what your “mobile teams” look like – […]
- Book: The Manager’s Path - I loved my friend Camille‘s book The Manager’s Path (Amazon). When I became a manger, I assembled myself a little course – some books, blogs, newsletters, and made my way through them. I wish I’d had this book to start off with – it’s the overview I needed, but never found until now. I plan […]
- Learn to Take Positive Feedback Well - One of the things I found most surprising when I started my current job, is that I would ask for feedback and people would tell me concrete things that they thought I had done well, and tell me why they appreciated it, or what they thought the impact was. For comparison, a manager at the […]
- Running a Manager Feedback Cycle - I just ran a thorough feedback cycle for the managers (leads) in my team. This is what it looked like. Motivation: It’s hard to get feedback as a manager, the hope was that people would be more candid if they 1) submitted feedback anonymously 2) to someone else. Because we tend to amplify negative […]
- The Weekly Notes Post - I read a lot of stuff on the internet, and a lot of that is about being a better manager. It’s rare to find something that is: Extremely concrete and actionable. At the exact time you need it. But in November, I did. I found this post from @SonOfGarr about sharing information with his team. […]
- The Reaction - Since that article on Uber dropped, I’ve been watching people’s reaction. There was the shock from people who should know better, and the lack of surprise from many women but there was also something that I can only describe as a PTSD reaction from many technical women I know. I saw it on Twitter. I […]
- Why Do Standup - Share work before it happens – prevent overlap, raise gotchas. Foster communication and collaboration – offer help rather than waiting for someone to ask. Start the day with intention. Turns out, status updates are not the most useful aspect of standup.
- Upcoming Talk on Effective Mobile Engineering Teams - I’m working on a talk about running effective mobile engineering teams – I’d love to know what questions you have about this, what you worry about when it comes to mobile teams in your organization, and what you’ve found most helpful to communicate about them. Comments or email or DMs on Twitter welcome! Title: YOLO […]
- Things to Figure Out as a New Manager: Part 5, Trust - This is the fifth and final part of the new manager series. Yes, there’s plenty more to figure out, but the idea is that with some sense of these things you will have the basics under control, and then you can figure out what your team needs from you and go from there. The fifth […]
- Things to Figure Out as a New Manager: Part 4, Feedback - There are two things we should talk about before talking about feedback. First is the idea that feedback is just when you tell someone they screwed up in some way or need to do better. This makes us dread giving feedback (well, for those of us who aren’t sociopaths who enjoy tearing people down), and it […]
- Things to Figure Out as a New Manager: Part 3, Communication - Now you’re a manager, communication (always important) has become even more import, and your words carry more weight. How do you communicate… one on one? … to the team? … about the team? One on One In a relationship with a power dynamic, the burden of a good relationship is on the person with the […]
- Things to Figure Out as a New Manager: Part 2, Social Support - Welcome to being a manager! Did you think it was a promotion? It’s going to be hard, lonely, and emotionally exhausting for a while. Why? Because you have to figure out your social support. As an IC (Individual Contributor), you had teammates, and these were your peers. As a manager, you now have a new […]
- Things to Figure Out as a New Manager: Part 1, Your Schedule - We normally talk about the challenge of moving to a manager’s schedule in terms of our desire to write code. But writing code is just part of it. As an IC, you probably had some kind of schedule that worked well for you. When we move to being managers, it’s tempting to try and slot “management […]
- My Favourite Management Reading From November - A collection of the articles I read in November that were most impactful on me – that I am still thinking about! Defeat micromanagement by trusting more and controlling less By @skamille Whenever you level up as a manager, it’s easy to go back to what you are good at – but you have to […]
- The Daily 1, 2, 3 - What? The idea of the 1,2,3 is simple.?I didn’t invent it – someone mentioned it’s used at maybe… npm? But I couldn’t find anything about it so on our team we defined it as this: What I must get done today. What I’m hopeful of. What I’m filling in the gaps with. Why? I’ve never […]
- On 1:1s - It’s a truth universally acknowledged that 1:1s are one of the most important activities of being a manager. And yet we all know of managers who don’t do them, or do them so badly that they can hardly be called 1:1s at all. I’ve heard about managers who show up to the 1:1 and talk […]
- Interviewing as a Manager - The final part of interviewing for my last job involved coming to Colombia for 3 days and having 21 1:1s. FYI, this is the kind of thing that immigration finds very suspicious and resulted in me being detained and searched for drugs in Canada. But I digress. I firmly believe that people should interview their […]
- Hiring Manager Interview Questions - Generally, I’ve really focused on doing technical interviews, but towards the end of last year and start of this I did a bunch of hiring manager interviews. This was a new and scary thing for me – whilst some things (like seeming warm) remained the same, the things I was evaluating were different. It was […]
- New(-ish) Eng-Managers Slack - For 8 months, from the start of December to the start of August, I was a manager. This was in many ways incredibly rewarding – now that I’m no longer a manager my favourite thing is being friends with the people who used to report to me. But it was also at times crushingly lonely. […]
- The Organised Manager - My adored Camille is writing a book on management, which will no doubt be amazing, and asked me to contribute a section on being an organised manager. She says, “Managing people is hard, and and as an industry we’re bad it. We lack the experience, the tools, the texts, and the frameworks to do it […]
- Trip Report: The Lead Developer 2016 - Last year I spoke at the Lead Developer, and this year I was excited to come back as an attendee. It was really great last year, but speaking is super stressful and always my priority is to give a good performance, so I sometimes don’t get to enjoy events I’m speaking at that much. Or I’m […]
- Worthless Intent - One of the things that I write about in my lessons learned from 6 months of managing blogpost was about my realisation that intentions do actually matter. “I’ve long found discussion of “intentions” completely worthless. I just don’t want to hear about it. Especially in the context that it invariably is – men who tell […]
- Creative Coding Podcast - I was on another podcast! This time, creative coding with @seb_ly [listen]. We talked about managing coders, color theory, side projects, lasers, being homeless, interviewing (and applied humaning). It was really fun (but cold!) to record, and I hope you enjoy it.
- 6 Months. 6 Lessons. - Last week marked my six-month anniversary at Ride, which also marks six months of being a manager. It coincided with my team being in Medellin all together for our offsite. It was amazing to have everyone here, and this was part of something I have been thinking about since I started this job – how […]
- Book: Leadership and Self-Deception - I read Leadership and Self Deception (Amazon) years ago, several times. It was a book that profoundly changed the way that I think about things, the way that I approach the world. When some conflict arose at work, I saw how the ideas in the book would help, and tried to get everyone on my […]
- 4 Situations Where Managers Write Code - The two hardest things about becoming a manager have been: 1) the emotional exhaustion, and 2) letting go of the part of my identity that was tied up in writing code. I accepted that writing code wasn’t the best thing I could do reasonably quickly, but it took longer to finally stop saying I was […]
- I’m a Terrible Mentor: Here’s Why - I hate mentoring and I don’t want to do it. This is mainly a product of me hating three things. One-directional relationships. Other people’s priorities not my own. Giving advice. One-directional relationships are so exhausting, because you can’t really be open. Being a manager has – oh the irony – made me less open to […]
- Management and Misanthropy with Cate and Camille - We did a podcast.
- How I Run a Remote Team - Processes: Daily 123 in slack: 1 – what definitely will happen today, 2 – what will hopefully happen, 3 – what I’m filling in the gaps with. Daily standup: this is separate from 123, which I find is a better way to share?what. Standup is a little more about?how. Pairing: this just means “working together […]
- Empathy and Mobile Development - One of the (many?) things my team may be tired of hearing from me is “empathy is part of our job”. What do I mean by that? Well as mobile developers, we are the closest to the humans that use our product. We need to have empathy for our users – what do they need? […]
- Thankless Emotional Labour as Management Training - My first month as a manager I barely had time to think about how I didn’t really know what I was doing, because there was so much that clearly needed to be done. So I accepted that stuff was not writing code, and got on with it. Month two opened, and I kept getting on […]
- Bad Interviews are a Company Problem, not a Candidate Problem - We know technical interviewing is a problem but rather than asking interviewers to do better, a lot of suggested solutions push that problem off onto people we interview rather than those who are doing the interviewing. This comes up a lot because the hiring process is the second most popular place to improve “diversity” after […]
- Advice for White Men - Some famous white dude in tech tweeted an inane remark that erased a significant portion of the population, and one of my friends was really mad. I asked why. Because my observation is that this guy dispenses advice for white men. In long form, and in trite remarks on Twitter. He tells them what they […]
- 2016: Scale - For 2016, I chose the word “scale”. Couple of reasons for this: As a new manager, I feel like this is the biggest thing I need to work on. I really want to focus on projects that have the best ROI. Scale, to me, means eliminating the good-but-not-great. What does “scale” look like? How do […]
- A Story - When I worked at The Conglomerate, I used to interview mostly women. Not slightly more. We’re talking a 2:1 or even 3:1 ratio. Why? Well The Conglomerate was (probably still is) a Pipeline Organization. They believed that the problem with diversity was that they just needed to Hire More Women. And so they would want […]
- The Hardest, Shortest, Lesson Becoming a Manager - There’s something we all talk about in becoming a manager – and that’s the process of writing less code. We bemoan it because it’s hard to let go of that part of our identity. But also because it’s so quantifiable. Today I wrote X lines of code. Today I deleted Y lines of code. Today I […]