8 min read

🌊 Backlogs, the Trifecta, Trade-offs, Broken Teams, Tech Gambles, Flow Metrics, Developer Burnout: TMW #364

Thanks to Vention for sponsoring this issue of Tech Manager Weekly - partnering with innovative companies from startups to Fortune 500s, lending AI engineering expertise to propel them to new heights and the edge to outpace the competition.

Hello again! It's Monday!

We've seen huge interest in our Circles for technology leaders since the start of 2024, and will be starting our second new Circle of the year in the next few weeks, bringing the number of active groups to 12, each with 8 - 10 members. That's a lot of people!

Circles are peer groups of senior technology leaders who meet monthly with one of our coaches to discuss topics that are relevant to them at the time, everything from managing work relationships to handling redundancies to cloud architecture to engineering strategy to avoiding burnout. It's a safe space to discuss the parts of leading software teams that offer the biggest challenges, and get validation, support and insights from people in the same position as you. Think of it as a curated support structure, and a chance to build real connections and learn with other technology leaders. Check out more about Circles at the link below:

Mentoring Circles for CTOs - join a Community of Practice and accelerate your leadership development
Learn about how a Mentoring Circle can help you build leadership skills as a technologist; super-charge your leadership skills in a Community of Practice for CTOs and other Technology Leaders

Don't just take it from us - Circles work. Some Circle members say...

  • "Having an experienced coach facilitating discussions between engineering leaders from different backgrounds who are facing similar challenges has been incredibly valuable."
  • "I'm able to raise a bunch of real-time challenges and get the group's take every week, practice and report back the week after on results (CI with people!). By the end of the Circle I felt more confident, capable and equipped to discharge the role of CTO."
  • "It's a great way to find new and practical solutions to various real challenges I have faced. Overall a fantastic opportunity to learn from others, who have been through similar experiences and can share their thoughts and advice."

Drop us a line if you'd like to discuss joining one of the upcoming Circles.

That's it - on with the show!

Andy @ CTO Craft

CTO Craft Events

CTO Craft Con: London | 8-9 May 2024
CTO Craft Con will bring together over 500 Chief Technology Officers and other senior technology leaders from the most exciting start-ups, scale-ups, unicorns, and big tech companies to elevate their engineering culture in London, May 2024
CTO Craft Mixer: Amsterdam
Network and learn with fellow CTOs, CTO Craft community members and aspiring tech leaders in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
CTO Craft Mixer: Edinburgh
Join CTOs and aspiring tech leaders for an in-person CTO Craft Mixer in Edinburgh, Scotland!

Reads of the Week

Backlog size is inversely proportional to how often you talk to customers
Lessons learned from a year of startup life.
TBM 269: Three Organizational Design Principles
I have been thinking a lot about organizational design lately and how it relates to how we collaborate and how managers/leaders collaborate. I have come to understand three principles: Principle #1: Hierarchical Collaboration Parity To be sustainably successful, the level of collaboration and alignment among managers or leaders in an organization must be equal to or greater than the level of collaboration required among their respective front-line team members to complete a task successfully.

From our Sponsors

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AWS, Albany Partners, Code Climate, Coherence, HeadChannel, Google Cloud, Jellyfish, Kata, Polly, Skiller Whale, Softwire, Sema, Uplevel, Vention, YLD, 101 Ways

Campus by CTO Craft: The Go-to Resource for Senior Technology Leaders
Created for CTOs, by CTOs: A transformative learning community for senior technology leaders in startups and scale-ups

Leadership, Strategy & Business

Trifectas go all the way up
Yes, right into senior leadership.
Why You Should be Afraid of ‘Great Execution’
The Dark Side for Customers
Manage like an engineer
If issues, pull requests, and project boards are the best way to develop software, should they not also be the best way to manage software development?
Useful tradeoffs are multi-dimensional.
In some pockets of the industry, an axiom of software development is that deploying software quickly is at odds with thoroughly testing that software. One reason that teams believe this is because a fully automated deployment process implies that there’s no opportunity for manual quality assurance. In other pockets of the industry, the axiom is quite different: you can get both fast deployment and manual quality assurance by using feature flags to decouple deployment (shipping the code) and release (enabling new functionality).

Culture, People & Teams

How To Fix Broken Teams
Most teams break in very similar ways. And, even more luckily, most teams can be fixed in similar ways. So, let’s talk about diagnosing and fixing the most broken of teams.
Balancing Engineering Cultures: Debate Everything vs. Just Tell Me What To Build
Lessons from leaders at New Relic, Credit Karma, Reforge, Hubspot, Trulia, Intercom, VSCO, and more
Quantifying the impact of developer experience | Microsoft Azure Blog
Microsoft, GitHub, and DX conduct joint study on the business impact of optimizing developer experience. Learn more.
Technical Skills Are Overrated. Focus on Your Attitude.
When interviewing, particularly for technical positions, many people over value their technical preparation, and don’t consider the importance of personality and leadership preparation.

Technology, Operations & Delivery

Tech gamble
Overengineering, premature optimization, resume-driven development, hype-driven development, gold-plating, cargo-culting, etc.
Cost of Poor Software Quality in the U.S.: A 2022 Report - CISQ
The Cost of Poor Software Quality in the US: A 2022 Report seeks to quantify the impact of poor software quality on the United States economy, referencing publicly available source material.
How Product Managers can help their Engineers make Better Estimates
“When is that going to ship?” If you’ve been a PM for more than 5 minutes, you’ve heard this question, which is much easier to ask than answer. Making matters worse, the que…
How GitHub’s Developer Experience team improved innerloop development
Instead of bringing the developers to the ecosystem, what if we brought the ecosystem to the developers?
Flow Metrics and Why They Matter to Teams and Managers - Johanna Rothman, Management Consultant
I continue to work with people who have trouble with their agile approach. They tell me their relative estimation isn’t working for them. They continue to roll over items, from sprint to sprint. They’ve rolled over some items for six months or longer. The people feel demoralized. And the Scrum Masters or agile project managers […]

Stress, Wellbeing & Growth

Developers experience burnout, but 70% of them code on weekends
Three-quarters of developers have experienced burnout, quit learning program or course and almost three-quarters of them code for fun during weekends.
Using The Fisher Change Curve to Build Empathy
In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods spoke to John Fisher, a constructivist psychologist, about the Fisher Change Curve and its relevance to technologists as bringers of change and in coping with change themselves.
Beyond the Drama: How to De-Escalate an Emotional Conversation at Work
Powerful phrases to help you de-escalate an emotional conversation at work, so you don’t have to resort to burning a fish in the microwave.

That’s it!

If you’d like to be considered for the free CTO Craft Community, fill in your details here, and we’ll be in touch!


Please do remember to share this link if you know of anyone who’d like to receive TMW:


Have an amazing week!