8 min read

🦧 WFH vs Teamwork, Ambiguity, Managing Managers, Behavioural Interviews, Leap-Year Bugs, Change Freezes, Workplace Stress: TMW #369

Thanks to Unblocked for sponsoring this issue of Tech Manager Weekly - the best way to talk to your codebase, trained on the systems you use

Hello, hello, hello - it's Monday!

We've launched two new Circles in 2024 already, and it looks likely that we'll continue creating a new group every month throughout the year. Members get full access to Campus alongside monthly Circle sessions, where they can ask for input on challenges and areas of development, or just get support on difficult situations. Some of the topics the groups have discussed recently include:

Engineering strategy, entitled engineers, reporting metrics to the board, motivating remote engineers, centres of expertise, working with executive recruiters and onboarding as a new CTO.

Drop us a line if you'd like to know how Circles work - it's the best way to get immediate feedback, create a supportive network and build confidence as a technology leader.

Campus members are in for a treat this week - we have a new course going live, new videos and studies, as well as something very special that we've been working on for some time... If you're not a member yet, now is the perfect time to dive in!

Don't forget: we're running our second Tech Leader Compensation Survey right now - nearly 500 people have already taken part, and it only takes a few minutes. Please do take a peek! We'll be releasing the report in a month or so.

That's it! On with the links, see you next week

Andy @ CTO Craft

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
Zero to CTO – Daniel Bartholomae is in the Spotlight | CTO Craft
Daniel discusses his leadership journey, the three skills every leader needs and his hourglass board game creation.

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 Bytes: Beyond just an OpenAI wrapper
Nowadays, some products and features are indeed “just OpenAI wrappers”. But, to build compelling products that take advantage of GenAi models, there is still a lot of work, thought, and deliberation needed. What techniques and patterns do we need to learn to effectively unlock the potential of this revolution?

Mixers: We have a number of Mixer events coming up shortly in Gothenburg, Sofia, Bristol, Manchester, Bucharest, Munich and Berlin - read more here and book your place. Are you interested in launching a Mixer in your city? Drop us a line!

Reads of the Week

New Engineering Managers Have a High Failure Rate — This Figma Leader is on a Mission to Fix It
Are leaders setting up new engineering managers to fail? Marcel Weekes (VP of Engineering at Figma) sure thinks so. He unpacks his playbook for supporting the tricky transition from senior engineer to people manager and tested tactics for avoiding the common traps.
In-Depth: How Does Working From Home Influence Teamwork?
An exploration of scientific studies and their conclusions about working from home versus working from the office

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

Leadership, Strategy & Business

TBM 274: How Capable Leaders Navigate Uncertainty and Ambiguity
What do leaders who are skilled at navigating complexity know how to do? What do they do differently? What would you observe if a leader had these skills? That’s the question Tom (author of the Innovation Tactics card deck) and John posed themselves in a recent conversation. These skills are typically lumped under “soft skills” and “culture fit”.
Manager of managers — Outcomes over output
As you grow senior in your role as an engineering leader a shift starts occurring. You start being measured on the ‘outcomes’ you deliver…
TBM 275: “Bad” Strategy. Why?
I often speak to people who lament the fact that their company strategy doesn’t match the “good strategy” descriptions discussed in books, talks, research, and popular examples. “With so much information out there, why don’t we have a real strategy?” The delta between what they believe is possible and what exists at their company is wide.
Managing Up — Stories and Guidelines for Working with Senior Leaders
You could rephrase ‘managing up’ as how to work with important people so that they want to work with you more, not less. This is a key skill for career growth for obvious reasons.

Culture, People & Teams

Super Specific Feedback: How to give actionable feedback on work output
“Ninety minutes of your time can enhance the quality of your subordinate’s work for two weeks, or for some eighty-plus hours.” - Andy Grove, CEO of Intel
Tech Works: Embrace Inclusive Leadership Now
Black leaders in tech on how engineering managers can adopt intentionally inclusive leadership practices today.
How to Deal with Negative Behavior
Thoughts on the aspects a manager should take into account when the negative behavior of someone on their team is impacting others - or themselves.
How I build and run behavioral interviews
This is an adaptation of an internal doc I wrote for Wave. I used to think that behavioral interviews were basically useless, because it was too easy for candidates to bullshit them and too hard for me to tell what was a good answer. I’d end up grading every candidate as an “okay, I guess” because I was never sure what bar I should hold them to. I still think most behavioral interviews are like that, but after grinding out way too many of them, I now think it’s possible to escape that trap.

Technology, Operations & Delivery

List of 2024 Leap Day Bugs
Well, it’s 2024 and leap day has come once again. As I’ve done in prior leap years, I’ve captured as many bug reports and outages as I can, along with links to the source where possible. For those have been following along, you’ll notice these have been organized a bit
The Problem with Maintenance Windows and Change Freezes
It seemed like a good idea in 2001, it wasn’t. It’s an anti-pattern for stability.
How to strive for simplicity in an legacy environment
There is no question that a simple environment is the better environment. This is also true for software engineering.
Parkinson’s Law: It’s Real, So Use It
Yes, just set that deadline.

Stress, Wellbeing & Growth

Reducing Workforce Stress in the Tech Industry in 2024
I didn’t have time to write a short letter
Egyptian Stone Hieroglyphs | Credit: Paul Ijsendoorn I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead. Whether attributed to Mark Twain, Cicero, Pascal or Nietzs…
How to Leverage Perspective To Manage Leadership Anxiety – Scott Cochrane
I Took the Gallup StrengthsFinder Test — And Discovered Why I Struggled at Work
It is surprising to see what a 30-minute test can tell us about our career choices.

That’s it!

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Have an amazing week!