"Do engineering managers need to be technical?" in Increment.

November 22, 2019. Filed under management 123writing 31increment 2

The most recent issue of Increment came out, focusing on Teams, and I'm excited to get to cross the chasm and move from playing a small role in the founding of Increment to contributing a piece on whether engineering managers need to be technical.

You only learn when you reflect.

November 14, 2019. Filed under management 123career 17

Early in your career, the majority of problems you work on are difficult because they are _new_ for _you_. You’ve never done it before, and it’s challenging to do good work on problems you’ve never encountered before. However, the good news is that there are other folks on your team who’ve done it before and are already experienced with its in’s and out’s.

Sending weekly 5-15 updates.

November 3, 2019. Filed under management 123

About a year ago I started sending public weekly updates to a relevant public (within the company) mailing list. I've found the practice useful enough to write a few works on the how and why. This practice is sometimes called a 5-15 report reflecting the goal of spending fifteen minutes a week writing a report that can be read in five minutes.

Nobody cares about quality.

October 12, 2019. Filed under management 123

You’re grabbing coffee with a coworker, and they’re caught deep in a rant loop, "Nobody cares about quality. They _say_ they care, but they don’t care." You helpfully decide to snap them out of the rant by providing some counter-examples, measuring your memories of the last few months and recounting some examples of slowing down for quality. Moments later, your contribution to the conversation is an easily traversed speed bump as the rant metastasizes, "They just don’t care."

Organizing team offsites.

September 8, 2019. Filed under management 123

Last week, the team I support had our quarterly offsite. I’ve been running team offsites more and more frequently over the past few years, and have finally been able to nail down an approach that consistently feels like an essential, effective use of time.