This week #6

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.


Satisfaction and progress in open ended work.

How to Make Sense of Your Impact When You’re No Longer Coding.

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.


a16z on healthcare and fintech.

Quick and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on Changelog.