Interviewing for Staff-plus roles.

November 20, 2020. Filed under staff-plus 24

When you decide to interview for a Senior engineer role, you roughly know what to expect. You’ll refresh your resume, work through Cracking the Coding Interview, and do some research on the company to prepare questions. When you go into the interview, you know it’s going to be five-ish interviews composed of a few programming exercises, something about technical architecture, and some cultural, behavioral, or career questions.

Finding your Staff sponsor.

November 19, 2020. Filed under management 123staff-plus 24

As I’ve spoken with more folks trying to reach their first Staff-plus role, most folks run into similar challenges. Many have miscalibrated their own impact, and simply haven’t done the work yet to operate at that level: a Staff Engiener isn’t just a faster Senior Engineer. However, there’s a large cohort who have done the work--they’re visible across their organization and have pulled together a strong promotion packet--but are still struggling to have that work recognized.

My skepticism towards current developer meta-productivity tools.

November 18, 2020. Filed under productivity 3

It’s hard to write about engineering leadership in 2020 and not mention the research from Accelerate and DORA. They provide a data-driven perspective on how to increase developer productivity, which is a pretty magical thing. Why aren’t they being used more widely?

Renegotiating your first vendor contract.

November 14, 2020. Filed under management 123

A while back I wrote Build versus buy, which discussed evaluating vendor tools against building in-house solutions. A short summary of that piece is that I think most companies should use more vendor tooling. That said, I think rather than advice on how to select vendor tools, for most engineers an even more helpful topic is renegotiating an expiring contracts their organization already has.

Speaking and podcasts in 2020.

November 13, 2020. Filed under speaking 6podcast 6talks 4

Before attempting to document what an engineering strategy ought to be, it’s useful to sharpen a related problem statement: why do engineering teams decide to write an engineering strategy?