A collection of technical, management and other thoughts from this week.
Life happened and I’ve missed a couple weeks but I’m back at writing these.
I changed roles in January, moving from a management role to a developer role. I choose an engineering role partly because I wanted to learn and grow my technical skills again, but partly I just wanted to feel like I’d done something at the end of each day.
As a manager, I often finished the day wondering what I’d done or feeling like maybe I didn’t actually do anything useful at all today. I only recently realised thats a common experience for many new managers. It’s harder to see your impacts as a manager, and part of becoming a good manager is figuring out how to judge your impact.
I’ve recently found myself in a similar place again. I’m not managing a team, but we’re in a phase of open-ended exploratory work. Once again, it’s hard to tell if what I did today was useful. Did I read anything that gave me insight into the product, or customers needs? Even if I did, was that enough? Is it actually moving us closer to a profitable business? I’m just … not sure. In abscence of a concrete deliverable ie. a working bit of code, it’s hard to see my impact.
I’ve read a couple of good pieces talking about this, and I’ve started trying out some personal processes. I’ve set high level goals: pick an idea in 2 weeks, build and test a prototype in a month. My daily tasks are partly reactive: follow up X, and partly driven by those goals: sketch a lean canvas for Y idea or answer a question about idea Z. It’s early days but it’s helped a little. I have some idea if I’m seeing progress now.
Hiring and the market for lemons. An interesting analysis of broken hiring practices. I’m not sure I agree with all of it but it’s worth a read.
How not to disagree. A good piece about how to handle managing a team through changes you don’t agree with.
Fire fixation. I’ve definitely had teams stuck in a place of fighting so many fires we couldn’t get any new work done. It’s a hard place to get out of.
Remote mob programming. A good guide, not something I can use right now but saving it for future reference.