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Posts About Management

  • 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 [...]