So here we are, that was the year that was - it's been exciting, exhausting, inspirational and stressful all at the same time, and as we look towards 2022 many of the same set of challenges continue to linger with new strains and new lockdowns hovering like a cloud. These are without doubt the most difficult couple of years we're likely to have faced as leaders and technologists, so whether you've sailed through unscathed or like most of the CTOs we've been speaking to have been affected in some way, you have my utmost respect - we've all built resilience we never knew we needed.
At CTO Craft, we've gone from strength to strength, and across all the different community areas we're now close to 8,000 CTOs and technology leaders altogether. We're shortly about to start the 19th Mentoring Circle in Western Europe, and there is a healthy waiting list for another, as well as in the US and Canada, Australia and New Zealand and Eastern Asia. We've also introduced dozens more CTOs to experienced 1:1 CTO Coaches, and welcomed thousands to our conferences and weekly Bytes events. We're helping so many of you through these horrible times - if you're interested in how we can help you or your team, drop me a line.
This will be the last TMW until early January, so I'll end this by wishing you all a peaceful and restorative Holiday Period - let's hit 2022 square on.
Until next year
Andy @ CTO Craft
Reads of the Week
One of the hallmarks of a great leader is their ability to raise up and inspire a new generation of leaders. They don’t hoard their talent, instead they look for opportunities to invest in others and they find ways to mentor and produce new leaders.
I used to have back problems. Ever since I was a teenager my lower back would occasionally hurt for days on end. Nothing seemed to help. My wife is a doctor of physical therapy and after we had been dating for a few months my back went out.
About our Partners
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Culture & People
Welcome back to my series on work sample tests. This post describes one of the kinds of work sample test I use (and suggest others use as well).
This article explains the Day In the Life Of (DILO), developed by Francis J. Gouillart, in a practical way. After reading it, you will understand the basics of this powerful quality management tool.
In my time at Amazon, I’ve observed the way we use documents is incredibly unique. A lot has been written about the six-pager and PR/FAQ so I’m not going focus on document formats, but I wanted to share how our process benefits from document-based meetings.
Technical interviews are the worst. Getting meaningful signal from candidates without wasting their time is notoriously hard.
In this three-part series on organizational change, we’re conducting a deep dive into why organizations so often struggle to change—and why we believe that it’s possible to change any company culture if we do it together.
Leadership & Self-management
Some of the most toxic managers I have worked with had no clue they were contributing to a toxic work environment. Otherwise pleasant to talk to, these managers seemed to genuinely care about their people. However, what appeared on the outside was not in tune with what went inside their teams.
All decisions are a form of power. We exercise our personal power (power within) in many ways: when we decide where to live, what to wear, and what to eat. Not only that, we also choose our jobs, who we vote for, and where to go on vacation.
Asking useful questions is a skill, and it requires practice. As a result, questions like these go unanswered due to Friction - answering them would take too much effort, so the recipient doesn't bother.
Most managers and companies spend weeks and months hiring but do little to feed and groom the minds of the people they employ – that’s what my current coaching experience reemphasizes. We know that complexity in the workplace has increased over the past decade.
This end of the year is often a time of reflection: an opportunity to assess all the changes you’ve made, and to start thinking about what you hope to change next year. In that spirit, we’ve put together a Change Audit.
Agile, Engineering & Product
Authors Vishal Kuo and George Tong are engineers working on the Load and Fault team at Robinhood. The past two years have been an exciting time for Robinhood engineering as we’ve launched new products to millions of customers and scaled our operations to meet the enormous demand.
One of the challenges I see regularly is inertia following domain discovery workshops. Techniques like big picture event storming are great for mapping out the business and visualising problems and opportunities, but that’s where progress can easily get stuck.
There is a long list of things I love about visual discovery and modelling techniques like Event Storming and Example Mapping. But there is one benefit of visual techniques which I find so valuable and yet doesn’t get the recognition it deserves: pattern reading.
Companies and products never win by having as little as possible tech debt. Speed to delivery, being first to market, and constantly adding value to the product are things that lead to winning. And, most tech debt can make sense to accumulate as a tradeoff in order to get more of the things that lead to winning.
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Have an amazing week!