Lead Dev 2016 London: What I wish I knew as first time lead dev
- Patric Kua (Toughworks) @patkua
1. as a developer
Job was looking at code and wanting to deliver.
What was cool :
- fast feedback (UT, monitoring…)
- problems are solved rapidly (in hours, days)
- building systems to make an impact
How to make the move from developer to lead developer ? What does it mean ?
2. First time as a lead dev
It was scary. As a developer, learned a lot everyday. What to do do now ? He felt like an imposter.
The path os rocky, with a lot of mistakes. As a tech lead, your impact is amplified.
Mistakes not to do:
- writting code all the time (because it feels safe)
- make all technical decisions (you don’t have all the info). What is left for the others ?
- people is someone else’s problem
- the team known what they are doing. Your responsability is to make everyone aligned, resolve problems as a team (with concensus)
3. A wiser tech lead
- the world will no longer be binary
- feedback takes days, weeks
- don’t know if it’s the right action
- -> the trap is to (re)act too rapidly
- you don’t need to have all the answers: the whole team is there to back you up
- expose your vulnerability
- help people grow
- “I don’t know, let’s ask someone who knows.”
- your role is not to be liked by everyone (example, fable from Esope “the man, the boy and the donkey”)
- you are not alone
- as a dev, you were part of a team
- as a lead dev, you are a little out of the team. They are other people outside the team to help you. -> build your own support network
- non tech areas are as just as important
- less instant gratification
- invest time in all areas
- people are complex. don’t think of developers just as a collective group. Think of each person individually, what are their passions, what they do on theirs week ends… It takes time (it’s a lot of conversations). Create a feedback culture.
- you can’t do everything yourself. Use the situational leadership model.
- two axis, supporting, and directing
- 4 phases: sell, tell, participate, delegate
- how do you progress people between these phases ?
- they are many ways to be a leader
- coach: asking questions to let people connect the dots
- shepherd: help people along the path
- shaman: (story telling ability) why things are the way they are
- champion: protect the team, to give them space
- you have a secret power: saying no. Focus on where there is the most value. Important things before urgent things.
- your role gives greater impact
4. the journey never ends
Continue to learn