/Leadership

Making Engineering Strategies More Readable

- Will Larson tl;dr: “A complete engineering strategy has five components: explore, diagnose, refine, policy, and operation. However, it’s actually quite challenging to read a strategy document written that way. That’s an effective sequence for creating a strategy, but it’s a challenging sequence for those trying to quickly read and apply a strategy without necessarily wanting to understand the complete thinking behind each decision.” Will covers: (1) Why the order for writing strategy is hard to reading strategy. (2) How to organize a strategy document for reading. (3) How to refactor and merge components for improved readability. (4) Additional tips for effective strategy documents.

featured in #516


Getting Buy-In To Get Things Done

- Nicole Tietz-Sokolskaya tl;dr: “One way to get people to go from agreeing it should happen to actually doing the work is to get buy-in. When you have buy-in, people will actively work toward the goal instead of just agreeing to it. Getting buy-in is hard. It's also extremely rewarding, and it's how you get real work done as a leader. Without it, the work falls away when you're not around. With it, everyone will push forward together.”

featured in #516


Delegating Gets Easier When You Get Better At Explaining Your Ideas

- Wes Kao tl;dr: Wes developed the framework below when explaining projects to direct reports, dotted-line reports, vendors, agencies, contractors, recruiters, and anyone she’s managing formally or informally. Here are five areas to cover: (1) Increase comprehension: Am I explaining in a way that’s easy to understand? (2) Increase buy-in: Am I getting the person excited? (3) Derisk: Am I addressing obvious risks? (4) Confirm alignment: Am I giving them a chance to speak up? (5) Feedback loop: Am I creating the shortest feedback loop possible?

featured in #516


Delegating Gets Easier When You Get Better At Explaining Your Ideas

- Wes Kao tl;dr: Wes developed the framework below when explaining projects to direct reports, dotted-line reports, vendors, agencies, contractors, recruiters, and anyone she’s managing formally or informally. Here are five areas to cover: (1) Increase comprehension: Am I explaining in a way that’s easy to understand? (2) Increase buy-in: Am I getting the person excited? (3) Derisk: Am I addressing obvious risks? (4) Confirm alignment: Am I giving them a chance to speak up? (5) Feedback loop: Am I creating the shortest feedback loop possible?

featured in #515


How Should You Adopt LLMs?

- Will Larson tl;dr: “That context makes LLM adoption a great topic for a strategy case study. This document is an engineering strategy document determining how a hypothetical company, Theoretical Ride Sharing, could adopt LLMs.”

featured in #515


Sensible Benchmarks For Evaluating The Effectiveness Of Your Engineering Organization

- Rebecca Murphey tl;dr: A lot of engineering leaders are looking for benchmarks to understand what “good” looks like. The problem is, most benchmarks out there offer a long list of metrics and encourage spending time on areas that are already going well. In this blog post, you’ll learn how we landed on the five fundamental metrics in our benchmarks and how you should use them to drive meaningful change in your engineering organization.

featured in #515


A Useful Productivity Measure?

- James Shore tl;dr: James is using value-add capacity i.e. the % of time on value-add work, as a productivity proxy for the eng organization. While this number is easily prone to gaming, it shifted the conversation from constantly pressuring the eng team to deliver more, to helping it reduce the time engineers spend on non-value-adding activities. 

featured in #515


What Causes New Engineers To “Sink Or Swim”?

- Lizzie Matusov tl;dr: Consider these tips to more effectively ramp up new teammates: (1) Structure early learning opportunities. New engineers can more quickly ramp up to the context and domain knowledge required to do their work. (2) Be clear about role expectations. Establishing clear expectations for the role is often overlooked in the chaos of growing a team. (3) Prepare the first few tasks ahead of time. Give engineers a series of tasks that build on organizational and system context so they can apply their knowledge more directly and build confidence.

featured in #514


Getting An Engineering Executive Job

- Gergely Orosz tl;dr: Gergely covers the following from Will Larson’s book: (1) Deciding whether to pursue an executive role. (2) Why each executive job search is unique, and how that will shape your process. (3) Finding executive roles externally and internally. (4) Navigating the often chaotic executive interview process. (5) Negotiating an executive contract. (6) Deciding whether to accept an executive offer once you have it. 

featured in #513


Managing High Performers

tl;dr: (1) Don't neglect managing high performers. (2) Recognize and value high performers, notably through career planning. (3) Establish higher expectations. (4) Provide constructive feedback. (5) Pay them very well. (6) Focus them on their strengths. (7) Address behavioral issues immediately. (8) Help them through growth plateaus. (9) Recognize when they've stopped growing. 

featured in #513