"How to successfully design organizational processes"

November 23, 2019. Filed under management 129speaking 6talks 4

The first pierce I wrote in 2019 was about good process being evolved rather than designed in a one-off fashion, which served as the basis for a talk I gave at SFELC's January 2019 conference.

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

November 22, 2019. Filed under management 129writing 33increment 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 129career 21

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 129

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 129

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 129

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.

Fostering program engagement.

June 26, 2019. Filed under management 129org-programs 2

Some of my favorite pieces to write are those that end up being interesting to a pretty small audience, but tap into a central nerve for that small audience. So far, 'Programs: tips for owning the unownable, has been in that category.' Most folks don't engage much with leading programs, but folks who are have feelings and thoughts.

Programs: tips for owning the unownable.

June 25, 2019. Filed under management 129org-programs 2

An important tenet of organizational design is minimizing cross-team coordination to achieve your goals. Teams that can move with little cross-team coordination finish projects while others are still ratifying their implementation proposal.

Path to engineering manager of managers.

June 15, 2019. Filed under management 129career 21

Once your company gets large enough to roll out a formal career ladder, it becomes the foundation of most discussions about performance and promotion. All ladders have certain requirements that have to be met in order to advance, but typically the resources required to fulfill thoes requirements aren't scarce. As you get more senior, scarcity starts to creep in.

Privilege's upward-facing window.

June 1, 2019. Filed under management 129inclusion 4

Somewhat recently there was a controversial Twitter thread that defined which universities had computer science graduates worth hiring, and the hirable percentage from those universities. The best ranked universities were small, famous and expensive. Quite a few folks reacted against this perspective’s bias and privilege, at least as many chimed in to confirm the claims.