Issue #344, 28th June 2019

This Week's Favorite


The Truth About Boundaries, Curiosity, and Requests
8 minutes read.

Jessica Katz shares a framework I want to practice more often, to control the way I act when my feelings are taking over: "We can’t achieve curiosity while our amygdala is active. [...] Lean heavily on questions that start with “what” or “how” Specifically, avoid questions that start with “why”. “Why” typically moves a person into defensiveness psychologically, and we’re trying to reduce the amygdala reactions." - I highly recommend reading both parts of Jessica's post as it can give you practical tools that can serve you well.

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Culture


First Week in a New Codebase
1 minutes read.

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

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Technical Debt: Poor System Understanding While Time Constrained
5 minutes read.

Every software company is dealing with the question of "how should we deal with Tech Debt?". Like having bugs in production, I like to think about it as an axiom, and as such, the question is how to keep it in control. I believe that like bugs, Tech Debt leads to emotional problems and not (only) a technical issue. It's the framework you decide to apply, and how you create visibility, prioritization, and effort that get people to trust the system or search elsewhere. With bugs - customers might leave you. With Tech Debt - employees might leave you. Danny Mican offers you a way to look at it via "System Understanding / Time Tradeoff."

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Things I Learnt the Hard Way (In 30 Years of Software Development)
18 minutes read.

So many useful gems in Julio Biason post, with these as my favorites sections: "Future thinking is future trashing", "Documentation is a love letter to your future self", "Cognitive Cost is the readability killer" and "Don't tell It's Done when it's not"

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Startup Idea Checklist
5 minutes read.

The nice thing about this checklist is that most of it can work just as well for internal products and tools you build. Play with it to practice your writing and how you create buy-in within your organization. Whether you're planning an entrepreneurship path at some point or not, this can be an invaluable skill to master.

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Peopleware


From Engineer to Manager and Back Again
7 minutes read.

Daniel Orner shares his personal journey, moving from a technical lead position into management, and then back. I've worked with many people who benefited from exploring the pendulum of moving between individual contributor and manager a few times during their career (I did it myself). Do what feels right to you now, and where others can benefit most from your unique strengths. It's okay to change your mind and your role. Optimize for impact and happiness, rather than overthinking "what would people say when reading my resume five years from now"?

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Thinking About Productivity and Its Tools (1) Your Email Is What *Others* Think You Should Work On. (2) Your Todo List Is What *You* Think You Should Work On. (3) Your Calendar Is (usually) What You *Actually* Work On. How Much Do They Overlap in Your World? (Thread)
4 minutes read.

I think that calendar optimization is still undervalued practice for managers. You can set clear goals for the week, capturing enough "maker mode" time to execute on them. As a manager, this is even more important to do, as it's so easy to fill many small things into my day while losing focus on the strategic efforts that require my attention. I decide at the end of each week how an effective next week looks like, and I set the calendar accordingly, helping me to stay focused without a lot of mental energy.

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Advice for First-Time Managers: Things We Wish We Were Told, but Learnt the Hard Way :)
5 minutes read.

Aaron Randall and Amy Phillips with a blog post that I wish I could read when starting my first managerial position. I was so clueless in terms of my role and where to put my energies. Share this post with people who just started in their journey, or thinking of becoming a manager at some point.

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Inspiring Tweets


@brianmwang: The Key to Reducing Insecurity While Becoming More Effective at Work Is to Be Internally-Directed, Externally-Focused. the Former Means You Operate From Your Values, Mission, and Inherent Self-Worth. the Latter Means You Seek to Help Others Before You Gain Anything Personally.

@fortelabs: You Spend 11 Hours Per Day Consuming Information of Some Kind; If You’re Not Capturing and Cultivating It Into a Body of Knowledge That Is Uniquely Your Own, Most of That Value Is Just Going Down the Drain

- 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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