Issue #331, 29th March 2019

This Week's Favorite


Defining a Distinguished Engineer
6 minutes read.

"I personally believe you don’t need a high title to take on a hard task, you just need the support and faith that you are capable of handling it. That support should come from the distinguished engineer and be reflected in their behavior towards others." -- A must read by Jess Frazelle, that you should share with any individual contributor (not just engineers) in your team. This can serve you well, being a good set of behaviors and values you'd like the team to act upon.

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


Culture


I've Started Turning Programming Puns Into Movie Posters
1 minutes read.

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

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


How to Evolve an Engineering Organization
6 minutes read.

Will Larson's thinking and frameworks are always fun to read and experiment with. I think that learning how to measure an engineering organization's effectiveness and happiness can be one of the most important skills to develop. It's hard because what you need to measure often holds a lot of emotions in it, i.e. how people feel about alignment and execution speed, and not only how many "story points" (or other metrics) the team has accumulated. My advice is to agree (team leads & product managers) on how a great outcome looks like in advance, say on a quarterly cadence, while taking the time to challenge (read: argue) the "must have" vs. the "nice to have" before you start.

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


Name It, and They Will Come
4 minutes read.

The art of storytelling is a skill that we should all practice and be measured on as we grow in our career. It's how you promote a new product to the world, and how you create internal buy-in inside the team to promote a change you'd like to see happening. Dan Abramov with an excellent story to learn from.

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


Why Data Science Teams Need Generalists, Not Specialists
7 minutes read.

"With data science, you learn as you go, not before you go." -- the entire post is useful for (almost) any development of software, even more so during pre-product/market fit. One thing that I'd change is the title - we should aim for building autonomous teams, not to broadly prefer generalists over experts. As a leader, you should understand how to build a puzzle and a team, where coordination and empathy are part of the equation.

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


Peopleware


Jessica Livingston’s Pretty Complete List on How Not to Fail
6 minutes read.

Anyone who's interested in product and business should follow up Jessica's tips, and translate it to fit your context. While every situation is a bit different, sticking to a few rules can serve us as helpful constraints: build something people want, remember that headcount is a vanity metric, focus on growth around one number (e.g. revenues), know whether or not you're "default to live" etc. Use these constraints to help your team focus, and reduce the burden of making hard decisions.

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


I Am Actively Soliciting Ideas and Advice for Recovering From Burnout. Thoughts? (Thread)
3 minutes read.

Sarah Myhre with a thread I think many can benefit from, taking ideas you can try out to restore balance in life. My personal favorite is this advice: "Help someone else. Get outside yourself. Immerse in creativity." by Linda Susan. It often helps me to find my balance and feel good about my contribution.

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


It’s Not Enough to Be Right—You Also Have to Be Kind
5 minutes read.

Empathy at work is still an undervalued skill, I see it in the questions we ask for while interviewing people - we tend to look for and appreciate IQ and personal achievements over EQ and mentoring of others. Ryan Holiday writes it beautifully: "Reason is easy. Being clever is easy. Humiliating someone in the wrong is easy too. But putting yourself in their shoes, kindly nudging them to where they need to be, understanding that they have emotional and irrational beliefs just like you have emotional and irrational beliefs—that’s all much harder."

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


Inspiring Tweets


@karen_meep: Treat Your Insecurity as a Super Power. It’s What Drives You to Verify Facts, Enable You to Play Your Own Devil’s Advocate, Keeps You Open to Opinions and Ideas Different Than Your Own. It Helps You Gain Trust, It Makes You Humble and Keeps You Human.

@RyanQualtrics: If It Takes Longer Than You Think It Should, You're Probably Doing It Right.

- 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!