This week sees the release of our most in-depth study of tech strategy - we've drawn from some amazing resources on vision and strategy, and the outcome is a must-read for anyone leading the technology function. We'd love to hear from you if you're currently working on a strategy for your team, or if you've used any other models for creating yours previously.
On Friday, we'll be sitting down with Charles Sekwalor of MoveMeBack who'll be sharing his insight on the tech ecosystem in Africa. Tune in if you'd like to know more about what's happening over there!
With that, on to the content... Until next time!
Andy @ CTO Craft
From the CTO Craft Blog
CTO Craft's advice on how to create the best strategy that will help companies achieve their technology vision and ensure success.
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This fireside chat will look at tech's evolution in Africa over the last 10 years, take a tour of big problems and opportunities being solved with tech in Africa, the current day VC and startup boom including regional ecosystem hotspots and hot industries and the tech talent and skills gap and opportunities for the audience to join early-stage startups.
Reads of the Week
In business, technology and general, the word “domain” appears frequently and with many different meanings in various contexts. This gets tricky at times when collaborating with different companies or communities that use different definitions.
Leadership is a loaded word. We attribute a lot to it; we expect a lot from it; we know when we see it, and yet, we don’t have a concise way to describe what it means to be a great leader due to its many facets. I’m a student of leadership.
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Culture & People
Despite the technological wizardry we have in our workplaces, humans are still the most important components. Culture should not be thought of as some happy-clappy, feelgood thing, but something that affects performance within the workplace
There’s a famous paper by Gary Klein, Paul Feltovich, and David Woods, called Common Ground and Coordination in Joint Activity. Written in 2004, this paper discusses the challenges a group of people face when trying to achieve a common goal.
If you had to name the top reasons some projects turn into spectacular failures, you probably wouldn’t put “having too much trust in leaders with strong track records” high on your list.
Mapping your team’s typical communication style can help improve communication and psychological safety, reduce friction within a team, and make conflict more productive. Paul Harding, agile coach at Lokulus, and Elly Griffith-Ward, agile coach at Booking.
One of the most challenging things you will ever do as a Manager is fire one of your employees. Lamenting about what to do and when to do it can be emotionally draining and stressful.
Leadership & Self-management
Many of the teams I work with struggle to make decisions. Whether it’s which designs to implement, which feature to prioritize or which process to use they spend hours debating, voting, building consensus while assessing all the various risks involved with that decision.
Leading other people is a noble pursuit. When you can help someone develop skills and realize success, it can be gratifying. Humbling. Rewarding. Hopefully, that drives you to become a better leader. Leading others can also be challenging.
It’s common to feel like there just isn’t enough time in a single day to cross off everything on your to-do list or that you don’t have control of your time like you once did. Time management can be a difficult skill to master, no matter what kind of life you have.
If you’re an extrovert, communicating feels like second nature and is likely done without much thought. For introverts, communicating can feel difficult because of a tendency to over-analyze, anxiety around saying the wrong thing, or just a natural preference for listening and absorbing rather than talking in a group setting.
At most companies, Product and Engineering are separate organizations. But effective organizations aren’t really separate: neither can succeed without the other. Without good product management, engineering might ship great code, but they risk shipping features that customers don’t want.
Agile, Engineering & Product
Ever since Christiaan and I shifted our focus towards product development — in specific, the Scrum Team Survey — the Sprint Review became an important recurring event. It’s important because the Sprint Review contains an element we can’t go without.
As well-intentioned as teams are, it’s really hard to finish absolutely everything by the end of a sprint. A team may have grabbed eight product backlog items (typically user stories), but only finish six or seven of them.
If there’s one question that puts all those lofty ideas about Agile and Scrum to the test, it is when a customer or manager casually asks: “So, when is it done? And how much will it cost?”. It's also one of the most natural and obvious questions for a customer to ask.
Back when Game of Thrones was ending, the sociology professor Zeynep Tufekci wrote an essay titled The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones. Up until the last season, Game of Thrones was told as a sociological story.
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Have an amazing week!