External office hours.

July 7, 2020. Filed under management 128

While I was taking some time to rest before starting at Calm, one day I had an appointment downtown and decided to run an experiment to see if I could grab coffee and lunch with folks I didn’t know. The day before I typed up a tweet asking if anyone would be interested in meeting.

Does the Staff title even matter?

June 28, 2020. Filed under staff-plus 26career 21

If you’re safely nestled within the comfortable clutches of the Senior Engineer career level, you might wonder if you ought to pursue the Staff title. It’s a considerable investment of time and energy, along with requiring a good amount of luck, is that investment worth your time?

Where do Staff-plus engineers fit into the org?

June 28, 2020. Filed under management 128staff-plus 26

When I work on the organization design of an engineering organization, I think a lot about "organizational mathematics", the guideline that each team should have one manager and six to eight engineers, and each manager of managers should support four to six managers. From those numbers you can rapidly determine an appropriate structure for your organization that’ll work fairly well. It might not be perfect, but it’ll work.

StaffEng Updates, June 2020

June 23, 2020. Filed under staff-eng 10

I'm on parental leave for four weeks (after which Laurel and I are siwtching off, so I'll be taking more later when she returns to work), and in addition to learning how to change diapers, read hunger and exist in a world of constant sleep deprivation, I also wanted to push forward a couple of lingering projects, one of which was StaffEng

Stuff I've learned about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion over the past few years.

June 20, 2020. Filed under management 128inclusion 4

When I wrote An Elegant Puzzle, I wanted to document some of the structured ways I’d learned to foster inclusion within the organizations, which surfaced in a number of sections, including Opportunity & Membership, Selecting project leads, Inclusion in the first shift, and Work the policy, not the exceptions. Those pieces continue to reflect my values, but they often operated on an aspirational level without acknowledging the grittier, more ambiguous layers beneath the ideals where you spend most of your time attempting to effect change. In these notes I want to focus on what I’ve seen work over time.

How to practice backend engineering.

June 20, 2020. Filed under architecture 30interviewing 4

On a recent call, I chatted with someone about backend roles in software engineering, and what folks actually do in those roles. More than just what do these folks do, how would you practice for this kind of role or prepare for interviews?

Trapped in a Values Oasis.

June 18, 2020. Filed under management 128

Learning to influence without authority is the keystone leadership skill to transition from early to mid career. It becomes an even more important skill later in your career as you need to partner effectively with your peers, executives and board members.

My career story.

June 14, 2020. Filed under career 21stories 9

As I’ve had more early career folks reach out about mentorship, the most frequent question they have is learning about the story of my technology career. I genuinely don’t think my story is a good one to learn from because I’ve had a path dependent on a great deal of privilege and luck. That said, at some point it’s easier to simply write the story and let folks decide that for themselves.

Mentoring from privilege.

June 13, 2020. Filed under mentorship 1

A couple weeks ago, Sean Page tweeted to match engineering and product manager mentors with BIPOC mentees. I’m amazed at the ability of the internet to create these sort of special congregations, and raised my hand. A good number of folks reached out asking if I’d mentor them, and as I started trying to respond to them, I realized I needed to spend more time trying to understand a few core questions.

Ways I'm available to help.

June 12, 2020.

Thinking about how I can be a helpful person in the world, along with the sorts of folks who do and don't think to ask for help, I wanted to take some time to explicitly write down ways that I’m available to help folks. This is an initial list that I’ll have to think about expanding over time.