/Will Larson

Weak And Strong Team Concepts tl;dr: A strong team concept is where "ownership, work, and accountability are generally assigned to teams." In a weak team, work is assigned to individuals and is driven through "interpersonal connections rather than process." Will reflects on both, and how our environment is geared towards strong teams.

featured in #219


Managing Staff-plus Engineers tl;dr: Will's tips on managing staff-plus engineers include: (1) sponsor and support more than direct.(2) Help redefine what success. A staff engineer’s "flywheel of feedback" is less immediate and that should be managed accordingly. (3) Give frequent feedback and explain why.

featured in #217


Does The Title Even Matter? tl;dr: Title gives a sense of seniority amongst peers, a seat at the table of higher engineering discussions, a bump in compensation at larger companies and potential access to interesting work. Pursuing title alone can be counter-productive, and "focusing on developing your approach and skills will be far more impactful."

featured in #215


Managing Technical Quality In A Codebase tl;dr: Will runs us through his "toolkit" to maintain technical quality, including prioritizing leverage points, establishing a technical quality team, and more. Underlying any approach is the philosophy to "start with something small, and iterate on it until it works."

featured in #214


Being Visible tl;dr: "One of the most effective ways to get luckier is to be more visible within your organization." Will outlines ways to create internal and external visibility for yourself.

featured in #207


The Saint-Exupéry Of Metrics tl;dr: At Calm's monthly all-hands, Will was motivated to "boil each project down to a single well-formed metric that told the story: a target, a baseline, a trend and a timeframe."

featured in #198


Stuff I've Learned About Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Over The Past Few Years tl;dr: Current best practices around D&I aren't necessarily impactful. Will believes the following result in genuine progress (1) Don’t tokenize others (2) Don’t center yourself (3) Don’t be comfortable, and focus on what actually works.

featured in #189


Trapped in a Values Oasis tl;dr: A Value Oasis is when a team's values misalign with the org's. This can be "messy," especially when the team's leader - who created the Oasis - is no longer present. An effective leader can use the "model, document and share” method to effect wider change within the organization.

featured in #187


Your First 90 Days As CTO Or VP Engineering tl;dr: Covers the following areas - priorities and goals, making the right system changes, tasks for the first 90 days, learning and building trust, building a support system, organizational health and process, hiring, execution & technology. 

featured in #170


How Stripe Invests In Technical Infrastructure (Video) tl;dr: Prioritization is especially challenging for infrastructure engineers. Will presents his approach as Stripe scaled, discussing when to firefight, work on new features and more.

featured in #164