/Will Larson

Solving The Engineering Strategy Crisis tl;dr: Will argues that many companies lack a coherent engineering strategy, leading to inefficiencies and frustrations among team members. An effective engineering strategy consists of two core components: (1) "Honest diagnosis that engages with the reality your organization’s current needs and challenges." (2) "Practical approach to move forward while addressing the circumstances raised in the diagnosis." Written strategies are more effective than implicit ones, allowing for feedback, updates, and accountability. Will provides insights into how individuals can drive strategy from both top-down and bottom-up approaches.

featured in #451

Performance & Compensation (For Eng Execs) tl;dr: Will discusses: (1) The conflicting goals between those designing, operating, and participating in performance and compensation processes. (2) How to run performance processes, including calibrations, and their challenges. (3) How to participate in a compensation process effectively. (4) How often you should run performance and compensation cycles. (5) Why your goal should be an effective process rather than a perfect one.

featured in #446

The Engineering Executive’s Role In Hiring tl;dr: Will discusses your role as an executive in your organization’s hiring, the components you need to build for an effective hiring process and provides concrete recommendations for navigating the many challenges that you’re likely to run into while operating the hiring process. He gives you enough to get started, build a system that supports your goals, and start evolving it into something exceptionally useful.”

featured in #444

Gelling Your Engineering Leadership Team tl;dr: Will discusses: (1) Debugging the engineering leadership team after stepping into a new role. (2) Gelling your leadership into an effective team. (3) What to expect from your direct reports in that leadership team. (4) Diagnosing conflict within your team.

featured in #430

Extract The Kernel tl;dr: “I’ve started to notice recurring communication challenges between executives and the folks they work with. The most frequent issue I see is when a literal communicator insists on engaging in the details with a less literal executive. I call the remedy, “extracting the kernel.” Focus on the insight or perspective within the question.

featured in #418

Interviewing Engineering Executives tl;dr: The topics that Will explores are: (1) Avoiding the unicorn search. (2) How interviewing executives goes wrong. (3) Structuring your evaluation process. (4) Focusing on four areas to evaluate engineering executives.

featured in #412

How To Plan As An Engineering Executive tl;dr: Will discusses: (1) Approaching planning as an infinite process rather than a finite one. (2) Discussing the default planning process at most companies. (3) Decomposing planning into three discrete components: financial plan, functional portfolio allocation, and roadmap. (4) Setting the company’s annual financial plan. (5) Defining Engineering’s functional portfolio allocation. And more.

featured in #404

Using Cultural Survey Data tl;dr: Will focusses on reading and acting upon survey data from the perspective of an engineering leader. In this post he works through: (1) Reading survey results. (2) Taking action on survey data. (3) Whether to modify survey questions. (4) When to start and how frequently to run.

featured in #397

Running Your Engineering Onboarding Program tl;dr: Will discusses: (1) Fundamental components of onboarding, including examples. (2) Role of executive sponsor, orchestrator, manager and buddy in a typical process. (3) Curriculum to consider including in your onboarding. (4) Why onboarding programs fail. (5) Whether to integrate with wider company onboarding. (6) When to prioritize onboarding.

featured in #395

Building Your Executive Network tl;dr: Will outlines several tactic for engineers to do this. “Your network is a collection of relationships, and relationships always work best when they’re built before you need them. Set a small goal, like meeting one new person each month, and slowly build your network up over time. Don’t make it your top priority, but don’t forget it either.”

featured in #394