Issue #200, 23rd September 2016

This Week's Favorite


How to Eliminate Organizational Debt
5 minutes read.

"Everything, both inside and outside the organization, is changing faster than the organization itself. As a result, our roles, structures, rules, and policies are becoming obsolete all the time. This lack of “fit” with the environment is the interest on the debt, building up over time." -- this is the best description I've seen to simply yet clearly depict org debt. Aaron Dignan's advice for "Launch a bounty program" is a great idea to encourage changes in the design of the organization itself and how decisions and actions are done.

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Culture


When the Engineer Only Reads Half of Your Email About the Design
1 minutes read.

My humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face.

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A Tale of Two Software Engineers and Commitment
3 minutes read.

Gur Dotan with a great post on taking commitment when it comes to delivering a feature or fixing a bug. The ability of a software engineer to commit is critical mostly the sense of trust they can build inside their organization. There is so much overhead when others (read: managers) need to make this sync possible with other teammates or departments. Definitely agree with "stay committed, don’t burnout."

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Three Things Your Children Can Teach You About Management
5 minutes read.

"I find that many of them [behaviors] are not unique to children. They are just more visible in them, because children react more extremely. Adults often have the same reactions, but they do not show them as much" -- Tom Bartel's observations on the language we use to encourage (or avoid active discouragement) our surroundings is critical. Think about your conversations with the team, how many times are you seeing passive-aggressive behavior due to active discouragement on your side, or maybe lack of clear expectations?

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Tool: Google’s Manager Feedback Survey
5 minutes read.

Interesting tool by Google on giving feedback to your direct manager, based on the qualities of successful managers at Google. See if you can apply it in your company, and use it as additional learning tool even if you need to adjust it to your own set of qualities.

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Peopleware


What Great Listeners Actually Do
4 minutes read.

Good article to apply as self-retrospection: how good you are as a listener? My personal favorite takeaway from it: "Good listeners may challenge assumptions and disagree, but the person being listened to feels the listener is trying to help, not wanting to win an argument."

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Engineering Management Is a Technical Discipline
4 minutes read.

"The technical side of engineering management is a combination of being able to quickly identify technical patterns and pitfalls, being able to guide technical decisions by asking the right questions, and knowing which corners are safe to cut." -- There is no doubt that Engineering Managers need more practical guidance when shifting to their new career. Join the slack channel (reply to this email, I'll send you an invite) if you'd like to consult with others about EM's dilemmas.

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Want to Be an Engineering Manager? Know What You’re Getting Into and What to Do to Be the Best You Can Be in This Role
2 minutes read.

Written with a bit of cynism, but a lot of truth in this short post. Are you ready for it? Being an Engineering Manager is a different career path, and you should absolutely aim to be as good at it for your team as you were as Individual Contributor to your codebase.

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Inspiring Tweets


@sadserver: Full-Stack Means "Able to Break All Layers of the System"

@maccaw: Captain America Civil War, and Batman v Superman - Two Movies That Could Have Been Quickly Resolved With a 5 Minute Conversation.

- Oren

P.S. Can you share this email? I'd love for more people to experiment and improve their company's culture.

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