Hi there, welcome to the week!
This issue of Tech Manager Weekly is curated by CTO Craft member and author James Stanier, SVP of Engineering at Brandwatch, whose book, Become an Effective Software Engineering Manager, has just been released and is a must-read.
Over to you, James!
Thank you to Andy for letting me take the reins of the newsletter during one of the worst years for continual global crises that I can remember. If I'm honest, it feels unsettling being here primarily because my book came out. It's a shallow victory against a stage backdrop that is incandescent with flames.
However, one redeeming quality is that I feel that what I wrote about is still incredibly important, even though my project started in 2019. Our industry needs managers, leaders and allies that are able to support their staff through times like these, both now and in the future. As diligent members of this community, you know that. But the path for others to get to where you currently are is difficult and is often forged through trial and error. Sometimes those that end up in positions of leadership didn't even intend to be there in the first place. That's why I wrote this book.
Many moons ago, when I first became interested in managing people and running a team, I found that the resources that were available to me were hit and miss. Some were written by CEOs (I wasn't a CEO), some were predominantly narrated by stories and anecdotes (how should I implement this?) and few covered issues such as stress, diversity, mental health and politics in the workplace. As I myself learned by trial and error, I started writing a blog called The Engineering Manager to document what I knew. Over the years I wrote a lot, and was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to turn it into the book I wish I had on my desk when I first started.
I'm hoping that it can help a new generation of managers and leaders become empowered to make a positive change in our industry.
If you'd like to purchase it, then I've compiled the links to the DRM-free eBook and the physical copy (via Amazon) below.
Where to buy it, including some praise from people that are smarter than me.
If you read it, let me know what you think. I'd love to talk. Find me over at @jstanier on Twitter, or on the CTO Craft Slack community.
Note: Text bylines under the links below are written by me, not the original websites.
Reads of the Week
If you want to be a leader, then it helps to see how other exceptional leaders react to crises. The written word is powerful. We can all aspire to be as composed and clear as the former President.
Culture & People
Cities often survive crises because the talented people remain. Think 9/11, 7/7, and the stock market crashes in 2001 and 2008. However, Covid-19 and the shift to remote working may make people question areas of high urban density in the future. What becomes of cities then? What about NYC?
After reviewing and giving feedback on over 200 CVs, Gergely summarizes some of the common issues and how to make them better.
Again, an example of great leadership and setting the right tone for the times we find ourselves in. We've reused this in our own workplace.
How not to support your remote employees right now. And if I get invited to yet another pub quiz...
Leadership & Self-management
A guide to how to communicate in emergencies. Short, concise, actionable, practical.
An article that helps leaders understand and respond to large-scale diversity-related events like the one we find ourselves in. There are many practical and actionable points in this article and it was extremely useful to me.
Are you in the privileged position of still being able to hire new people? Why not find some incredible people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic? All opt-in lists of laid-off startup employees together in one place. Ability to filter by location, role, and more.
I thought I'd share the career progression framework that I helped create at Brandwatch. It details our individual contributor and management tracks, and the competencies and levels throughout. There are many ways of detailing career progression in technology, and this is what seems to work for us. But I'd love to talk about them more with you, or to see your own. They're available with others on progression.fyi.
Agile, Engineering & Product
During the seismic shift toward remote working during the pandemic, Zoom has been incredibly reliable. How? Why? Is it all blowing up repeatedly behind the scenes? How would your own software cope with 15x the amount of users being on-boarded in just a few short months? Some collated notes. Fascinating.
This is so, so useful. Especially if you find yourself lost in acronym soup. Short, concise descriptions of what each of the services do.
Now, if you know me, you know that I love a bit of computing nostalgia. Let's take a short trip down memory lane and remember gentler, warmer, rosier moments of the past.
An oldie, but a goodie. A reminder of simpler times, when everything was all but simple. Small team, big dreams, 90's hair.
I was absolutely transfixed by this software as a child. It still looks incredibly cool to me. Software can actually stand the test of time when it has a compelling design and concept.
Google co-founder Sergei Brin is a guest in this episode. Brin talks about the new search engine called "Google". It'll never catch on... Brin's interview starts at around 18:18.
That’s it! If you'd like to stay in touch with James, he's on Twitter @jstanier.
Thanks very much, James!
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Have an amazing week!