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General

A learning from today’s simulation

I’m leading a Technology Leadership workshop in San Jose at Velocity Conference this week.  Thanks to the Experiential Learning Bundle by Jerry Weinberg (and his generosity to walk me through them), I’m pleased to report the first day went very well. We did a wonderful simulation from the Invention book called the “Tinkering with Toys” which…

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“How do I get sales to quit making bad deals?”

Casey asked this question today: “I find that taking on these clients makes it more stressful for everyone in the long run, but sales will take them on anyway…for the sale. I’d like to think to curate our clientele intentionally would weed out the bad seeds, but what about the business? How do I convince…

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Do you bite or hide?

Does this sound familiar? <start> January: “, I’m super excited to hire your team to build this.  Let’s do it!  When do we start?” February: “Hey, I’m too busy to meet this week.  Just email over what you have, and I’ll let you know how it looks.” March: “Hi, about that last the invoice…  Yeah, sorry, I’ve…

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Task or Relationship focused?

Quick trick question: Which is more important when running your team: being task focused or relationship focused? Of course, you know they both matter. As a technical leader, you can’t afford to neglect either one. But I sometimes didn’t balance very well, because I was better at one than the other. For example, I’m a…

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Decision delegation done wrong

Kendall wrote in with this question and was kind enough to allow me to share the answer with y’all. Hey Marcus, I’ve experienced that sort of thing where my boss delegates a decision back to me, but then I’m not afforded the time-capacity needed to learn more. The client wants an answer now, and if…

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Hokey Pokey-er to Ballroom Dancer

  Brad emailed me, ”Marcus, you bastard, tell me what you did! :)” Okay, okay.  Here’s what I did. I learned to delegate decisions to my team. And that simple change made all the difference. See, my team had become too dependent on my presence and had stopped thinking for themselves.  That made me feel…

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Are you doing the hokey pokey?

“You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out.  You put your right foot in, and you shake it all about.” That dance reminds me of the average day of a Technical Lead.  I was constantly jumping between everything that needs to get done right-the-hell-now, like… Code reviews. Coding. One-on-ones. Planning meetings. Interviews.…

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But I miss building things…

(This guest post is by Karen Degi.  Karen is new enough to software leadership that her idealism hasn’t yet been worn down. You can find more of her writing at https://medium.com/@sheearan. If you are interested in writing a guest post, email me at marcus@marcusblankenship.com) As a manager, it’s easy to feel helpless, randomized, and like you…

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Changing Jobs, Changing Roles

Changing Jobs, Changing Roles By Max Schubert, guest columnist I was one of two technical leads on a software development team at my previous employer that grew from 2 engineers to 14 over the course of 6 years. We had a manager who gave us a lot of autonomy, coached me very well, and who…

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[Video] Stop coding production tasks, seriously.

I know it’s hard, but you can’t be an effective COACH if you’re still acting like a PLAYER. Can you imagine if Michael Jordan split his time between coaching and practicing basketball?  He wouldn’t have been a great NBA player, and probably wouldn’t have been a good manager either. If you’re leading a team, you…

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The Real Work of (Software) Management

I recently received an email from a reader, Anton, asking this question: How do I balance management with real work? This is a common question. What Anton wants are tools to help him manage his time and his workload. He’s having trouble “doing it all”, which is a symptom of a larger problem. The problem…

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Which developer on your team is looking for a new job?

Have you thought how expensive developer turnover is? In this Stack Overflow article, Rachel Malady dicusses studies that show the cost of losing an employee is about 2x their salary, and the cost of onboarding new employees is 6-9 months of their annual salary. Yikes! The costs of losing people are high, and not just…

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