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I transitioned into a tech lead role around 9 months ago and I didn’t quite know what to expect. I thought I would share some of the things that I have learnt since then in case it helps anyone else looking at that role. The tech lead role is varied and these learnings come from the particular flavour of role that I am in, so mileage will certainly vary. Furthermore, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that as a white male I will undoubtedly face fewer challenges moving along this path than people with different genders, ethnicities and abilities.
One on ones with your direct reports are one of the most important meetings you’ll have as a leader. But it’s not enough just to have them. How you approach your one on ones, and what you focus on during them, can be the difference between wasting time or providing huge benefits to both you and your team member.
I’ll start out by talking about a “backwards” approach to learning that I think a lot of you will recognize (do projects first without fully understanding what you’re doing, fill in missing knowledge after), and then talk about I try to teach in a way that works better with that mode of learning.
When faced with the need to replace existing software systems, organizations often fall into a cycle of half-completed technology replacements. Our experiences have taught us a series of patterns that allow us to break this cycle, relying on: a deliberate recognition of the desired outcomes of displacing the legacy software, breaking this displacement in parts, incrementally delivering these parts, and changing the culture of the organization to recognize that change is the unvarying reality.
Like a sales or fundraising rejection, every startup founder and recruiter knows the disappointment of rejection from an engineer who you've pitched and gone through the interview process with. In this article, I'll share my experience with closing engineering candidates, my own insight into how engineering candidates make decisions on job offers from startups, and advice for other entrepreneurs trying to grow their teams quickly.