A greatest bits collection of important ideas and resources for aspiring technical leaders and engineering managers.
Indispensable Ideas / Metaphors
If you’ve worked with me for more than a few days, you’re likely already tired of me referencing these ideas but I couldn’t imagine comprehending team dynamics without them and I hope you find as much value in them as I have:
- Trust Battery - the best metaphor for understanding individual and team issues. Without trust, all solutions to problems fail.
- RACI - Responsible/Accountable/Consulted/Informed. A fantastic and intuitive framework for handling ownership and responsibilities. Very important once you scale beyond a single group that can know about everything.
- Glue Work - crucial for growing your team and an area to help prevent gender stereotypes from settling in
- BICEPS Model for humans at work, psychological safety, and earning (and burning) trust
- Managing up & down - Balance is key here. Often when we don’t find someone effective, it’s because they are focusing too much on one direction at the expense of the other. With Engineers, we often spend too much time managing down or across to peers, and too little on perceptions of us and up toward the business leaders.
Short Content with Great Advice
- How to Hire Bootcamp Grads or The design of engineering teams - makes a great case for specialized hats, rather than having five surgeons wielding scalpels around a patient
- Engineering Management: The Pendulum or The Ladder - why management is not a “One Way Door” and something you might want to try out to build your skills, but not for too long…
- Dealing with surprising human emotions: desk moves - if you’ve ever been through a forced seating move, this will ring true
Top 5 Books 📚
Many of these are aimed at people managers, but they are also helpful for anyone who wants to lead and influence others.
- Deep Work - Inward Focused, rather than team-focused. How to work on the stuff that matters instead of drowning in your Inbox/Calendar
- Peopleware by DeMarco & Lister - from the 80’s but timeless
- The Coaching Habit - short & sweet tactical guide from a coaching consultant
- Resilient Management by Lara Hogan (former Director of Engineering at Etsy)
- Crucial Conversations - Better in Workshop format than read alone, but this has proven indispensable in my career. Start with heart!
- Weekend Reading Weekly Mailing List - A funny and amazing digest of tech tweets / blogs