Issue #301, 31st August 2018

This Week's Favorite


Growing Up Tech Leads: Notes on Running a Skill Share for Your Peers
6 minutes read.

Charity Majors shares a framework for creating a peer group of tech leads, and this is something you should definitely check out: "Leadership is a muscle that every one of us has to exercise. It helps to have a set of peers you can be radically vulnerable with, who you can swap stories and experiences with and hold each other accountable." -- I created something similar with https://downleft.com/ while taking a bit different approach. If you take part in such group, I'd love to hear more about your experience on our SWLW Slack channel - just reply to this email if you want me to send you an invite.

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Culture


When the Design Team Loses a Debate With the Legal Team.
1 minutes read.

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

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Why Elon Musk’s “People as Vectors” Analogy Resonates
5 minutes read.

Like Rand Fishkin, the "People as Vectors" mental model stuck with me for many months, thinking about how to apply it to my life (both family and work) to drive maximum impact. My biggest takeaway from reading Rand's post and from my experience in the past year or so is to put things on paper (well, virtual "paper" such as Google Doc). Having it available to others allow people to read without trying to come up with a great response while others talk. They can pause and think, leave comments, and re-read later on. It's something the team can iterate and change over time. Then, have a discussion to make sure things are clear and explicit, so people can explain when they disagree if it's a matter of flavor or a core issue that they're unwilling to compromise on.

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Documenting Decisions in a Remote Team
3 minutes read.

"it’s tremendously less time and effort than having your team not know what’s going on. Constantly putting out fires, re-doing work, and repairing relationships because people weren’t on the same page is far more time consuming than communicating intentionally." -- This practice is something that often co-located teams fail to do, and then you can see a lot of 1:1s spent on providing those decisions and mostly the context behind them to mitigate frustration in the team. All teams, remote or co-located, should consider that practice as a scalable approach to create stronger alignment.

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What’s Your Most Unpopular Opinion? (Thread)
5 minutes read.

An excellent thread with many thought-provoking ideas. Try asking this question inside your organization and listen to what people say. Be curious enough to understand where it's coming from without judging it based on your own set of beliefs: When did it start? How they reached that conclusion (what happened)? Can they explain the fundamentals behind it? What are they doing differently than others on the day-to-day?

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Peopleware


Getting a New Manager (zine)
2 minutes read.

Another beautiful and useful as always zine by Julia Evans, with helpful tips to cope with a new manager. A few more ideas to try would be to ask "What do you see as our team's main challenges for the next 6 months?" and "How do you believe I can help us get there?"

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A Year Ago, I Stepped Away From a Leadership Position. Here Are 7 Things I Learned From That.
7 minutes read.

Tom Bartel shares his journey, moving from management back to engineering position "After two and a half years of leading up to 22 people, would I be able to make that mental switch back to IC?" -- Tom's lessons learned can serve others who think to shift into the IC role, even if it's for a few years (pendulum), and afraid to take this step. One of my favorite takeaways is that "Leadership experience makes you a better employee." -- you get to act as an IC but make decisions and act with your manager hat when needed.

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The Most Common Leadership Mistake? Being Nice.
3 minutes read.

"Let go of the expectation that every single interaction with our team should feel good." -- Powerful reminder by Claire Lew, as often we avoid negative (even if constructive) feedback due to our desire to stay away from conflicts. Align towards mutual success, win their respect (you’re on their side) and say things as they are. Clearly and explicitly, with “What do you suggest doing to improve on that front?” and if needed “Here is what I suggest that you’ll try next.”

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Inspiring Tweets


@mrtazz: It’s Gonna Be Hilarious When 4000 Years From Now Archeologists Discover Our Git Commits and Coin Our Time the Era of “fixed a Minor Bug”

@nrmehta: Common Reaction to a Teammate Resigning: 1. Why Are You Leaving? 2. How Can We Keep You? 3. Do You Know You're Going to Regret It? Alternate Golden Rule Version: 1. Thank You for Your Service 2. Congratulations on Your New Job 3. What Can We Learn?

- 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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