Digests » 59

this week's favorite

How new managers fail individual contributors

Most companies have carefully created separate senior career tracks that provide details of the differences between being a manager and being an individual contributor (IC). And yet, many people still believe that you can’t get ahead without becoming a manager, and many companies who want more senior individual contributors struggle to promote people on this path. This is a shame; great engineers really shouldn’t need to manage large teams to get promoted, and companies lose out on a critical skillset when they push all of their good engineers into management.

The case for slacking off at work

One of the biggest mistakes organizations make as they scale is they try to optimize for utilization. That's a fancy way of saying "keeping everyone busy."

Engineering teams are just networks

As a manager I like to build teams out of spare parts. I hire candidates who are rejected from other pipelines, I pick up people with middling performance in other teams, sometimes I even hire people whose skills are weak or out of date. My proudest accomplishments all involve teams constructed in such a manner completely out performing best-of-the-best rockstar teams assembled elsewhere. I’ve often struggled to explain how I tell the difference between a diamond in the rough and a mediocre software engineer. It’s an instinct.

Engineering skills for every software architect

Learn eight categories of engineering craft classifications that will help you grow as a software architect to develop depth in selected areas and awareness of others.

The skill of org design

I built my first organisation when I was in high school. It was a debate club, and it died the instant I graduated and left for university. I remember looking back on the experience and thinking to myself: “Hmm, this is interesting. How do you build an org that outlasts you?”

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