Steve Sitton

Just another blog…

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MeetUp talk: Building a Tech Culture at Medidata

On 30th July I gave talk titled – Building a Tech Culture at Medidata – as part of the TechHeads meetup.

A tech culture can be hard to define and even harder to build. My talk covers some of the approaches used to build a tech culture at Medidata. These include a common mission, core principles, and other initiatives to encourage making decisions and learning together.

Here is the talk:

The live recording that includes Q&A is also available here.

Thank you to Duncan Goldie, Woodrow Mercer Group, and Alex Frois from Pusher for making this possible.

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With the current coronavirus pandemic the majority of us are working from home. As leaders, it’s important that we maintain relationships with the people in our teams during this period so that no one is feeling isolated or lonely. This can be difficult though, in the video below I share some of things we are doing to maintain the social activity while being remote.

There are many other good ideas, what is your team doing?

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Having a First Team mindset is important for the success of an organisation. This mindset is a change in thinking and can go against the natural instinct to focus on the teams you lead. But, once understood, it’s easy to see the benefits this provides to the organisation and individual teams.

I cover this First Team mindset more in my first engineering leadership video…

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TL;DR – Bill Walsh, an ex-NFL coach, had a leadership approach that transformed the success of the San Francisco 49ers. His ‘Standard of Performance’ covers a wide range of leadership traits that apply across industries. Each point offers learning relevant to leading tech teams today.

There’s no hiding from the fact that results are important. If release targets or customer subscription and retention numbers are not met jobs could be at risk. However, as counterintuitive as it sounds, solely focusing on results will probably have the opposite effect!

“Concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results, the process rather than the prize.”

Bill Walsh was an NFL coach whose advanced leadership transformed the San Francisco 49ers from the worst sports franchise to a legendary dynasty. The Score Takes Care Of Itself details Bill’s take on leadership which can apply to any industry not only on the football… Continue reading

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Setting a good impression for new hires is important, we also want to show that we’re organized and prepared as a new person starts their journey with us. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, with our busy days it’s not easy to pass on information in a structured way. At times I’ve forgotten to share or explain certain things at the beginning which then ends up being passed on in an irregular way. This can affect their impression of us, but will certainly impact the onboarding efficiency.

The usual route is to maintain a list of things (an on-boarding checklist) for the new hire. I’ve done this and it works, but either it’s passing a lot of information at once or holding some back and then deciding the right time to pass it on, making it more of a scheduling challenge that is never productive.

I needed to try something… Continue reading

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I don’t follow the NBA much but came across this short video from an interview with Draymond Green from Golden State Warriors that impressed me…

To quote one part:

“You don’t just mistakenly become great at something. You probably at one time believed that you can be great at that and then you worked to get great at that and you reached that greatness.”

I admire the effort professional sportspeople put in to be the best. Some of the workout regimes they commit to are tough but their mindset is also key to their success. In addition, they typically have coaches and training staff supporting, encouraging, and pushing them along the way. This applies to our industry too!

As leaders, are we giving the people in our teams that chance to be great? Are we guiding them to believe in themselves, to have the confidence that they can achieve greatness?… Continue reading

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It’s Monday morning on your way into work, the weekend now over as you look at the day and week head. Do you hope that everything goes smoothly? No production incidents. Deployments run smoothly. Teams working well together steadily delivering features. We like an easy life, but does it really help us?

Think of times when you have learnt the most, either about people or your processes. Is this when things are going smoothly or when problems arise that need investigation, thought, and teamwork to overcome?

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Whatever our career, we learn from our experiences, it is these that help us develop our skills in particular areas. As with a sailor, smooth seas will only prepare you for certain situations, for the benefit of the crew, having skills in difficult circumstances could save lives. As a leader, who has a… Continue reading

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