A product leader was asking me how I approach management. Confidently, I answered, “I believe in autonomy. I try and translate the needs of the business to the team and then give them the autonomy to make the right decisions.” He nodded and asked me which decisions. I stumbled. I didn’t really have an answer. What does the right amount of autonomy look like?
I’ve spent the past 18 months as an engineering manager managing against the learnings from Google’s Project Aristotle. Project Aristotle is Google’s multi-year research project to determine what traits and habits make their most successful teams successful. Each trait builds upon the one before it, like a pyramid, and so teams should focus on developing the base habits first before moving up the pyramid.
Somewhere in the middle of 2017, I set a goal of reading 30 books by the end of the year. I finished Book 30 sometime around 5pm on New Year’s Eve. Here are my favorite ten in chronological order.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to catch For the Win’s panel on scaling teams. Scaling 101: How to Grow Your Team Without Losing Your Culture was a panel consisting of leaders from engineering, HR, and recruiting discussing lessons learned from scaling teams at Meetup, Managed by Q, and others. The panel covered recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding in a tight hour. Here are the three lessons I took away from the panel.
I was recently in a one-on-one with a tech lead when we began talking about how his team was doing. His team had recently added one member and lost another, so the chemistry of the team was a topic that was on our minds. He mentioned how he felt the team was coming together, and I found myself asking a question that I’ve been reaching for a lot lately: “What are your signals?”