Issue #320, 11th January 2019

This Week's Favorite


The Great CEO Within
11 minutes read.

An online book (as Google Doc) by Matt Mochary that you should absolutely check if you consider yourself a leader in your organization. Even if you're short on time, at least read "Part III — Group Habits" as it covers some of the most important aspects of getting a team to work well together.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.


Culture


So My Family Plays White Elephant With a Twist: You Have to Challenge Someone to a Mini Game if You Want to Steal Their Gift... With a Huge Family It Gets Out of Hand Pretty Quick. A Thread of Our Games:
1 minutes read.

My humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face. I want to join this family for the holidays, they're awesome.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.


Service Ownership @Slack (Video)
50 minutes read.

I really enjoyed watching Holly Allen's talk about Slack's journey to build a robust organization. I'd skip to minute 14:37 if you want to hear specifically about how Slack shifted from a centralized operations team and shifted it to all teams. My takeaway (we don't have ops team) is to make sure you align the incentives of different departments in the organization. For example, if you have a group (e.g. product engineers) who don't feel any pain for causing an operational glitch (e.g. waking up due to downtime at 2AM) then they will never be motivated to learn new skills, improve their code and increase its robustness. If management doesn't allow engineers to invest time in the system's robustness (reduce the likelihood of incident to reoccur), following up on BetterNext/post-mortem action items, then engineers won't be motivated to come up with ideas and offer suggestions.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.


7 Components of an Actionable Team Charter
6 minutes read.

Using Team Charter can be a powerful exercise to do with your teammates (or even with a bigger group, working on the same domain) to set explicit expectations. It can reduce the natural tendency of organizations of having zero-sum games (someone needs to win, and someone needs to lose), mostly due to misalignment on expectations and clear processes to deal with roles, responsibilities, decision making, and conflicts resolution process.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.


A Pirate's Take on Strategy vs. Tactics
5 minutes read.

I like the simplicity (and great story!) offered in this post by Diogo Mónica as you cannot really have one without the other - "Strategy is important, but not more important than the tactics that support it." - The way I see it, the strategy is the inspirational part of the journey ("why are we here") while the tactics provide confidence in the leader ("there is a good likelihood of this plan to succeed").

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.


Peopleware


Growth Loops: Circular Causality Is Real
5 minutes read.

Wow, just wow. Jessica Kerr with a remarkable post that would make you think about your team, your code, your skills, your product and your life: "Circular causality is real, and it powerful. In biology, in our lives, and in our teams, it feels stronger than linear causality; it can override individual competition and incentives. It forms ecosystems and symmathesies and cultures. Linear causality is valuable to understand, because its consequences are universal, while every loop is contextual. But can we stop talking like the only legitimate explanations start from atoms? We influence each other at every level of systems. Circular causality is familiar to us. I want to get better at seeing this and harvesting it in my work."

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.


Thread for Junior Developers/Engineers: Bad News - The Ability to Be a Master/Elite Coder Is Only the First Step in Your Career 😞 You'll Soon Find That Coding Is the Easy Part. Some of the Hard Parts - If You Want to Progress as a Software Engineer/Developer - Are: (Thread)
4 minutes read.

James Hickey with a thread I wish I could read when I only started writing code for a living as 16 years old n00b. I think I would have ignored it completely, as I thought that skills alone would take me anywhere I wanted. Still, if I could go back in time I'd leave this thread as a letter with a note saying "read it and take it seriously as it's going to push you further than anything else you'd learn this year."

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.


Feedback Is Not a Dirty Word
5 minutes read.

As someone who's currently in the process of bi-yearly Performance Review at my company, I can relate to Alex Maccaw's thoughts: "At a macro level, pockets of disagreements within feedback-lacking organizations grow, causing resentment, distrust, and ultimately organizational failure. At a micro level, feedback is the only way to achieve true personal growth. You are not objective enough about yourself to grow effectively without external feedback." -- I wrote a blog post about it with the title "Three Axioms Engineering Managers should use for Meaningful Performance Reviews" as I believe it can provide immense value to your teammates if you invest in it by thinking of them.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.


Inspiring Tweets


@ctbeiser: Under-Appreciated: ~Nobody Has a Statistically Significant Experience of What Is a "Normal" Organization. Most People Work in Maybe a Couple Types of Departments Through Their Career. Nobody Sees the Full Range.

@avivby: 💡 A Measure of Delegation and Autonomy: Do the People on Your Team Understand the Motives, Reasons, and Value to the Company Behind the Projects They're Working On, or Are They Simply Being Fed Jira Tasks?

- Oren

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

Subscribe now & join our community!