Reflecting on a tumultuous but ultimately successful year. Here’s what I’ve learned, re-learned, or cemented in my “2015 things (software engineering) leaders should know”:
- Measure everything, as early as possible.
- Collecting data is cheap. You will not know you need it until after you need it.
- Do not build anything (teams, features, processes) without having a measure for success.
On Team Empowerment
- You can never empower teams enough. Ownership is a force multiplier.
- Convey problems to be solved and jobs to be done, not solutions to be built.
- But: a great, empowered team still needs direction, and can take direction well when required.
- An empowered team without appropriate context and direction will (rapidly, skilfully and with great dedication) create chaos.
- Often mum knows best. Eat your broccoli before you have dessert.
- Coaching skills are the most impactful thing you can learn as a leader.
- You may think you’re a good coach, but you’ll be better if you actively train in coaching.
- Allowing yourself to be coached is a powerful way to improve yourself as a coach.
- Personal feedback is your lightsaber: be mindful where it’s pointing before you turn it on.
- Maintain a to-do list. No excuses.
- If you have people things and tech things on your to-do list, put the people things first on the list.
- If you don’t have a great technical partner (CTO) to help tick off those tech things on your to-do list, make it your mission to get one.
- Put Bronnie Ware’s regrets of the dying at the top of your to-do list.
(also published on Medium)