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Clippings Posts

Career development for engineering managers

No one would claim that we have things like engineering roles, levels, and career progression locked down, but it all looks quite mature and well-understood compared to the Wild Wild West that is engineering management. 

Always be quitting

So what does it mean to always be quitting? It means “making yourself replaceable”; “deprecating yourself”; “automating yourself out of your job”. You might have heard these more-popular names (which you’ll need to do your own research) and they hint at how to act.

Clarity is an underrated skill

I think clarity of communication is one of the most underrated skills as a developer. If the ratio of reading code to writing code is 10:11 then the ratio of talking about code to writing code must be 100:1, especially the more senior you get. Being able to define a problem or explain a scenario clearly, precisely and unambiguously should be something that, in my opinion, every developer strives to nurture.

Optimizing Bugs Fix Policy

I am sure you are familiar with the following scenario: a user is reporting to your Support team that something is not working for him as expected. Your Support team investigates the issue and agrees that there is a bug in the system. They open a JIRA bug to the R&D department with all the information they have collected, as expected from them. But then… a furious argument begins on the ticket. Support is saying that they think R&D should solve this bug within a week. The Customer Success Manager is saying this is a critical customer just before renewal. Therefore we need to make all of the effort to solve it within 48 hours, but R&D doesn’t see this as an urgent matter and thinks the bug should be solved within 30 days. Who is right?!

The Speed of Innovation

Bottom line here is: have transparency and clear communication on decisions and tradeoffs, while having flexibility to align with business priorities and meet hard deadlines, if needed.

How to hire an engineering manager: from within or without?

I am a firm believer that you always, always owe your existing team first crack at any and every opportunity that arises from within. It may not always be possible; you may need someone with more experience or a different skillset than you have on your team, but you owe it to your team to seriously explore the possibility, every time, before you give in and begin to explore outside possibilities.

10 questions to ask in a job interview that will really expose a company’s culture

Culture is felt through the behaviors that are reinforced or discouraged on a day-to-day basis on teams. If you want to get a sense of the story of the leader and team’s culture, use detailed questions. You will get a much better sense based on the responses, especially if the leader struggles to think of what to say. If you are a manager, prepare to answer detailed questions that illustrate your team’s culture.