Get my email lessons on how you can build a tech team you can depend on.

Posts by Marcus Blankenship

Key Three: The relationship with your team as a group

Thus far we’ve discussed getting your footing with yourself and taking the first step with your team. Now it’s time to get your team together. Though you’ll be building individual relationships with each person, you need to see how the group interacts. We don’t act the same in a group as we do in 1:1…

Read More

Most of the system is hidden from view

(Today I’m taking a quick break from the Four Keys series. It will resume tomorrow.) Most of my life I’ve been confused by others actions and reactions. If you’ve ever heard yourself muttering “What the heck were they thinking?” you might have experienced the same confusion. When I feel confused, too often, I label the…

Read More

A bit more about that first key relationship…

Last week I told you there were 4 key relationships to attend to when you’re taking over a new team. You can read the first post here: Key One: The relationship with yourself In my excitement I forgot to mention an important element of the first key. You’ve got to stop managing, and start leading.…

Read More

Priorities for a new development manager: The Four Keys

Earlier this week Pat asked, “What are the priorities for a new development manager.” I side-stepped the question but will return to it over the next few days. (You can read my first answer here.) First, let me define how I’ll be using the word “new.” I will not be talking about someone who’s taking the…

Read More

Chewy Motivation

In 1996 I started programming Character Mode UI ERP applications at my last job. We referred to them has “ChUI” apps (pronounced “Chewy”). This was in the 90s when desktop apps were all the rage, and the web wasn’t really a thing yet. By the time I finished working on that platform in 2002, the…

Read More

A new question for your 1:1’s

In your next 1:1 meeting, try asking this question: “What past project or success would you love to build on if given a chance?” This is a great way to understand what excites your developers. It also helps you know them better and build a more motivating environment. You might not be able to give…

Read More

Is teamwork like pulling teeth?

Next month I’m holding a 2.5-day live workshop in Medford, Oregon which I think you’d find useful. It teaches you how to work better with your team. And it teaches your team how to work better together. Wait, I know – “improving teamwork” sounds about as much fun as “improving root canals.” Most of us…

Read More

Currying decisions

In functional programmers, currying is the technique of translating a function which takes multiple arguments into a sequence of functions, each with a single argument. For example, a function like: go_to_lunch?(time,place,person) might be curried to the form: go_to_lunch?(time)(place)(person) In this case, go_to_lunch take a single argument (time) and returns an anonymous function which takes a…

Read More

Fame not included (or necessary)

Today I was asked a question I’ve never heard before: “When it comes to engineering management, who do you look up to?” I stammered a bit, naming off authors of books I’d read — the usual suspects: Michael Lopp, Camille Fournier, Ron Lichty, Johanna Rothman, etc. Afterward, I realized I hadn’t been truthful. I didn’t…

Read More

When you do nothing it leads to the best somethings

Today you will hear someone pose a problem. Immediately, a solution may jump to mind. It might be a good solution, too. A solution you know will work – tried and true. Maybe even the best solution. Today, when the moment comes, do nothing. Be silent and still. If you’re able, raise an eyebrow: “What…

Read More

A one-second experiment about words

Today let’s run a one-second experiment about words: First, read this quote from a study: “Research shows that taking two deep breaths helps to clear the mind, reduce stress, and improve problem-solving abilities. Often participants aren’t aware of their shallow breathing until prompted.” Did you notice any change to your own breathing as you read…

Read More

Where did the motivation go?

Smart people, like programmers, are motivated by solving problems. The challenge is what motivates them. The popularity of video games, role playing games, and escape rooms testify to this. Lucky for us, building software well is a difficult challenge. Why, then, do so many programmers feel bored with their jobs? There is still software to…

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest