Hey there! Hope 2020 has started well for you
Watch out for some big CTO Craft news next week... In the meantime, here's your weekly dose of leadership and technology reading (and watching) material. As always, if you've written something you'd like to feature in TMW, just let us know
Reads of the Week
The CEO of Shift7—and former CTO of the United States—on solution-making, team-building, and establishing technical ecosystems outside of the private sector.
It’s never easy to run a company, let alone start one. But right now might be a particularly hard time to lead one. Much in the world is changing rapidly, including the relationship we have to our jobs, work, and careers.
Culture & People
Now that I am a free agent and am talking to many companies about job opportunities, one of the first questions I’ve been asking them is how they are organized. What follows are some thoughts on this issue and why it’s important.
A friend is six months into supporting a sixty person engineering group. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of their teams believe they have urgent hiring needs.
How would you scale a distributed engineering team? It doesn’t involve just hiring more people, but also scaling communication, defining processes, making the culture strong enough and defining the vision, so you can build the new team on a solid foundation.
OKRs provide focus, united the teams behind a single strategy, and makes all goals into stretch goals. If want to get your entire company to execute like the hounds of hell are behind them and the gates of Valhalla are open before them, try the OKR approach out.
Patrick Kua shares lessons learned sowing the seeds and fertilizing an environment to cultivate high performing teams in a hypergrowth environment. He looks at balancing structures to maximise autonomy and alignment, explicits trade-offs in centralized versus decentralized thinking and how they’ve managed to rapidly expand a team and still ship product at a rapid pace.
Leadership & Self-management
The higher you ascend professionally, the less time you have to code and interact with your company’s product or technology. Hector Aguilar, President of Technology at Okta, believes that all managers should make time to stay immersed in coding.
When something goes wrong, where do you look? If you’re a good manager, you start by looking in the mirror. You ask yourself how you contributed to the problem, no matter what.
The foundation of successful leadership is a set of specific skills. You may have earned a leadership position through a combination of knowledge, aptitude and hard work, but once you get there you need new skills and attributes as well. Here are some of the most important: Security in yourself.
When we first start our careers as software engineers, we tend to focus on improving our coding skills, a.k.a. technical skills. This includes, but is not limited to, mastering a specific tech stack, adopting best practices, and studying architecture designs.
Do you know what your weaknesses are? How are your personal weaknesses reflected in your team? And what do you need to do to start working through those weaknesses to become a better leader?
Agile, Engineering & Product
I recently read John Ousterhout‘s book, Philosophy of Software Design (PoSD). This blog post includes my commentary on some parts that stuck with me. In the last post we talked about eschewing complexity, handling special cases, and example choices in software literature.
A retrospective where no one speaks is about as useful as an NBA playoff game where no one plays. Yep, it’s that useless. Just a room full of silence and stares, as if the facilitator is speaking a foreign language.
Cooking the books is not the way.
In our domain there is one problem, though, that is almost universally a pain in the neck. Not only does it exists but people would love to see a reasonable solution. The problem is estimation...
Broot, a new way to navigate directory trees on linux, made in rust
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