• 3 Essential Scrumban Metrics For Elite Software Teams
    The first time I looked at scrumban metrics for my team, I felt a sense of relief… I knew something felt off with my team. My team had so much talent. And yet, we struggled to hit our deadlines. Everyone knew what to work on, but we failed to communicate timelines. Sprints sometimes had too … Read more
  • Stop Asking Small Questions
    When I became a manager, I kept asking my team small questions whenever something affected them: Should we estimate this project? What’s the priority of this work? Where do you want to go for lunch? These seem like reasonable questions. I thought I was collaborating – I didn’t want to prevent others from contributing. But … Read more
  • Planning for Project Deadlines so You Can Sleep at Night
    I’ve led many projects with deadlines over my career, but one stands out from how much I learned about planning. My team needed to redesign all five applications within three months. The problem was the sheer amount of work. We needed to re-architect some core UI components and update a ton of code. We only … Read more
  • 4 Tips for Choosing Job Levels when Headcount Planning
    How many times has your boss asked you this question about headcount planning: We have new headcount for your teams! What job levels do you want? There’s no easy answer to this request. We’d love to hire experienced employees, but they’re expensive and take forever to find. Junior people are faster to hire but have … Read more
  • When Should You Over-Engineer a Project?
    How often have you worked on a project that was REQUIRED to over-engineer and be “internet-scale”?  These projects bring a ton of assumptions – handling millions of users, hundreds of requests per second, and massive storage needs. It takes months to build these high-scale features.  Delays will happen. Stakeholders get frustrated. And yet, your team … Read more
  • Who Owns Your Company Roadmap?
    Prioritizing the company roadmap was a challenge in my first engineering job. My team was hungry to create products that delighted people. We had the talent to build software as charming as Github, Asana, and others. There was only one problem. The company didn’t care about the users. What mattered was making a sale. The … Read more
  • How to Write a Mid-Year Performance Review that Inspires Employees
    The first time I wrote a mid-year performance review for an employee was no walk in the park. I knew that performance reviews are one of the most important things a manager does. The decisions one makes directly impact another person’s life. So when I opened a document to write my review, I looked at … Read more
  • Best Practice for Software Testing: Just Enough Tests
    Whenever I think about a best practice for software testing, I ask: How many automated tests should we write? You could declare that your team tests everything. Or nothing at all. Both are simple approaches. I think there’s a better approach. To me, the right amount of automated tests to write is Just Enough. What is … Read more
  • No More Deadlines: Tips for Healthy Project Estimation
    I’ll never forget when project estimation was used against my team. At the start of every project, my team and I went through the normal routine. The project lead scoped the project. We reviewed the plan. The team estimated when we would finish, and our product manager marked the date. Then the project’s scope shifted.  … Read more
  • Bad Manager vs Good Manager: Hank Scorpio
    Was Hank Scorpio, the eccentric CEO of Globex from The Simpsons, a bad or good manager? While one of many that managed Homer Simpson, I saw Hank Scorpio achieve something unique. Hank Scorpio got Homer Simpson to care about his job. How did Hank do this? What can we apply from his managerial skills to … Read more
  • The Secret Life of Your Quarterly Performance Review
    There’s a secret about the quarterly performance review process they don’t tell new managers. You learn how to cheat the system. A new manager made this observation to me after completing his first performance review. And you know what? It’s true. The knowledge of how quarterly performance reviews work is unavoidable for managers. So how … Read more
  • Transform Your Team: Giving Constructive Feedback to Employees in Spades with Examples
    Giving constructive feedback to employees is a core skill of successful leaders. Underperforming teams need to understand your expectations, regardless of how difficult the conversation is. While the emotional burden weighs on your shoulders, you can’t hold back these words. The trick is to give this feedback in the right way. So how do you … Read more
  • How Ted Lasso’s Leadership Lessons Made Me a Successful Leader
    Ted Lasso’s leadership style of servant leadership is rare to see on TV. I expected Ted Lasso to be skits of Jason Sudeikis acting like a bumbling fool. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The show turned out to contain so many… Heartwarming moments. Despite having zero knowledge of English Football, Ted Lasso makes A.F.C. … Read more
  • How to Give Positive Feedback to Colleagues – with Examples!
    When you hear the word feedback, what do you feel? Defensiveness?  Uncertainty?  Anxiety? All of these emotions run through me when I’m about to receive feedback. That’s why positive feedback feels so… Joyful. In this guide, I will show you how to give positive feedback to colleagues in a way they will never forget. The … Read more
  • Change What You Control
    Here you are—leading a team. You see problems, inefficiencies in how work is done. Clearly, there are things to change in your control. Maybe the next project should have more thoughtful planning, or the technology needs to change. You raise these issues with your boss, directors, any leader you meet. What happens in the aftermath of … Read more
  • The Only Types of Agile Meetings You Need
    People in the tech industry are familiar with the many types of agile meetings. Stand-ups, retrospectives, planning – these types of meetings are all well known to us. What if you’ve never been part of an agile team before? I recently encountered this when a colleague of mine asked me: “How do your engineering teams … Read more
  • The Daily Standup is a Waste of Time
    It’s the same daily standup you’ve been attending for years. You show up. Enjoy small talk with your teammates. The facilitator asks how yesterday went with work. Updates are given. Details about one’s schedule in the past 24 hours. They explaining their plan for the current day. Repeat with the next person on the team … Read more
  • How to Manage Existing Engineering Teams
    Here you are, sitting in your regular 1-1 with your boss. You expected it would be a routine check-in with her – “How have you been?”, “What’s the latest status on yesterday’s support bug?”. Then she gets to her update. Dale, a peer manager, has decided to leave the company. You will be leading their … Read more
  • Five Methods of Facilitation I use for Collaborative Meetings
    Facilitating collaborative meetings is a critical skill for leaders. Great facilitators create engaging discussions that have high attendance and prevents boredom. Consistently achieving these goals as a facilitator takes time. Each discussion will put your decision making, time management, and leadership skills to the test. You will mess up, but the experience will provide important … Read more