July 5, 2018.
There is a moment in every company's growth when top-level planning shifts from discussing specific projects to talking about goals. This can be a very empowering moment because goals decouple the "what" from the "how", but it can also be a confusing transition for everyone involved: writing clear goals takes a bit of practice. This post takes a look at how to write effective goals and how to use them during planning.
July 1, 2018.
My experiences working with many new engineering leaders, combined with my own struggles starting out, have lead me to develop a somewhat unusual approach to leadership, centered on systems thinking and providing robust standard rails. This is a collection of my writings by theme, which hopes to introduce folks to how I think about engineering leadership.
June 24, 2018.
When I was working at Digg, I was fortunate enough to get five minutes of media training, and I'm still learning from those five minute a decade later, so I've finally written them down.
June 23, 2018.
After writing "Staying on the path to high-performance teams", quite a few folks brought up the same question, "Once a team has repaid its technical debt, shouldn't the now surplus team members move to other teams?" This is a pretty interesting question, and I've written up how I think about it.
June 17, 2018.
A friend is six months into supporting a sixty person engineering group. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of their teams believe they have urgent hiring needs. It's a great question, and captures a deeply challenging aspect of leading an organization: keeping the path after you've established a strategy and while it's still waiting to show results.
June 13, 2018.
Lately, I'm increasingly hear folks reference the idea of organizational debt. This is the organizational sibling of technical debt, and represents things like biased interview processes and inequitable compensation mechanisms. These are systemic problems, which are preventing your organization from reaching its potential. Like technical debt, these risks linger because they are never the most pressing problem. Until that one fateful moment when they are. Organizational risk is the more volatile subset of organizational debt.
May 19, 2018.
I've been hiring engineering manager of managers roles over the past six months. These roles are scarcer than line management roles, and vary more across companies. This process has taught me a bunch of new things, and been remarkably rewarding.
May 9, 2018.
Over the past year, as I've transitioned into largely working with managers of managers, and it's gotten much more challenging to define direction for the growing organization. Let's explore that a bit.
April 26, 2018.
One of the trickiest, and most common, leadership scenarios is leading without authority, and I've written about one of the styles that I've found surprisingly effective in those conditions. I call it Model, Document, and Share.
April 15, 2018.
Migrations are both essential and frustratingly frequent as your codebase ages and your business grows: most tools and processes only support about one order magnitude of growth before becoming ineffective, so rapid growth makes them a way of life. This post takes a look at why migrations are so important, and also how to run them effectively.