In the echo chambers of time the phrases “Are you on mute?” and “Can you hear me?” will reverberate as an eternal reminder of how much precious time is lost in meetings. Many look back in despair at the time spent in awful meetings, it’s time that is lost forever! Has all hope disappeared for meetings? Are the mental scars of bad meetings too deep to repair? Do we even care anymore?!
It’s difficult to say how much time is used (or even wasted) in meetings, various studies report anywhere from 15% to 30% of our time is in meetings. Certainly, the higher the management ladder you are the more meetings you can expect. But my concern is with engineers and engineering managers whose focus is on implementing and delivering features for customers. If we are ‘wasting’ time here then it is directly impacting what is delivered to customers and… Continue reading
Here are a few blogs I recommend reading from this month…
Maslow on Management
Challenging blog looking into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Motivation. “The famous Golden Rule, to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, is a failure of empathy.” Leaders of a team have the responsibility to meeting each person where they are and challenge them from there.
5 Things to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed by Your Workload
We all feel overwhelmed at times this covers a few pointers that may help. Checking your assumptions against other people’s priorities is worth doing. Also, I feel writing down a to-do list with notes is important so you don’t have to remember details, there is also satisfaction is crossing them off when done!
Research: To Be a Good Leader, Start By Being a Good Follower
Being a leader is being part of the group, sharing the… Continue reading
Some blogs I recommend reading from this month…
How to Manage an Employee Who’s Having a Personal Crisis
Whether we like it or not people in our teams will go through difficult times, this covers good points for supporting those people in the right way.
The 4 questions you should stop asking during your one-on-one meetings
I ask the “How’s it going?” quite often, even “How’s life?” too, these are questions people expect when starting a 1:1, particularly the first. They are a good way to start, but then be open how the person responds and flow from there. You will have questions prepared and variation is important, where this blog can help. Questions that are specific helps to avoid those vague answers.
Our days are busy, filled with meetings, status updates, future planning, risk assessing, decision making and the rest! The people in our teams are busy too! Above all we’re human, we have lives that impact our mood and outlook. To the point, we have bad days which means we can act in undesirable ways sometimes, but that doesn’t always mean there is a lack of respect. Sometimes a manager needs to let it go!
A few examples where people behave unexpectedly could be:
- Snapping a response back to a question
- Turn up late for a meeting without saying anything
- Raising a voice at you or someone in the team
- Someone storms out of a team meeting or 1:1
No question, some actions can be disrespectful but there are different ways to deal with them. The relationship you have with the person is important as you draw from that experience. As… Continue reading
Some blogs I recommend reading this month…
7 Traits That Make a Great Software Developer
There are many “great developer trait” lists and I don’t think there is anything new here. I’ve included the link because it’s important for leaders to guide and coach each developer that directly reports to you on these traits. You may see some as more important than others but it’s about the needs of each person and working together on improvements.
Don’t Hire Remote Workers Who Can’t Nail These 6 Interview Questions
Recruitment is one of the most important jobs for a leader and the teams so I like finding new interview questions that can help understand candidates better. I would say that most of these questions are not only for remote workers.
Some blogs I recommend reading this month…
The Two Traits of the Best Problem-Solving Teams
Having teams that are cognitively diverse that also have psychological safety are probably on most leaders’ wish list. It is the leaders and their behaviour that are key to this.
Talk: Building Great Engineer Cultures from 0 to Scale
Fast-paced from Marty Weiner with lots of content. Whether you’re scaling your teams or not there are good takeaways for any leader. I like the active listening technique he references and especially the “Communicate the “why”” so that others don’t need to assume my motivations.
Blind Spots That Plague Even The Best Leaders
We are all human and therefore none of us are immune to mistakes. This is a good post about managing 5 visionary weaknesses. I believe leaders need to show good self-awareness over their blind spots and to listen and learn from others to… Continue reading
I’ve been a manager for a number of years now but still enjoy getting my hands dirty in the code. There’s a buzz I get from understanding a problem and delivering a solution! Full-time coding is difficult to let go of for many engineers moving into management, the challenges moves into finding the right balance. Staying close to the code is important but there has to be a different mindset, especially for the sake of the team!
There’s a simple rule I follow – don’t take on feature stories. Feature stories are a business priority so the risk is too big if I cannot give them my full attention because of other commitments. These stories must stay with engineers, but managers can still remain close to the code with code reviews, refactoring, bug investigation, etc.
Work on tech stories
Non-blocking tech stories are a lower priority than feature stories, usually,… Continue reading