• Stop Repeating Yourself with the Rule of Three

    It’s Monday. You organize your day, and you double-check your calendar. You go to your first 1:1. Your team member asks why the team is changing your product’s strategy. You share your thoughts. Now it’s Tuesday. You have a 1:1 with your designer who asks the same question. You share your thoughts. Now it’s Wednesday, you meet with your TL who asks about the changes in product strategy. Congrats! You’ve just hit the Rule of Three.

  • As We Know It

    The value of software is largely driven be two factors: productivity gained and distribution. These can be considered as depth and reach. Over the years, distribution has shifted from on site to box to over the wire. And each has led to incentive shifts as the benefits of software became democratized through these increasingly pervasive distribution channels

  • Role Modeling

    When I first became an Engineering Manager, I remember being inundated with blog posts about the subtlety of role modeling. The idea, more or less, is that whenever you are given some recognition or title of any modicum of levity, people around you will begin to model your actions. The subtlety is in that neither you nor they will likely realize that it’s happening. The takeaway seemed to be that it’s important to maintain at least enough self-awareness such that you are netting out neutral in this shadow interaction. And if you can spike on self-awareness, you can even come away with a team that’s operating with a little more excellence than they might otherwise.

  • Taking Notes in In-Person One-on-Ones

    As conditions improve in the US, I’m preparing to return to work from an office. If you’re also in the US, you might already be a stalwart of the office and a few months or weeks ahead of me. Maybe you and your company are waiting it out a bit longer, and that’s fine. A lot of us are remembering old practices in different ways. I am preparing for what in-person one-on-ones will be like after being fully remote for almost 18 months. I had previously built up principles for my one-on-ones that I have applied in my remote setup, and I’m starting to think about how I can combine lessons learned remotely to evolve my in-person one-on-ones.

  • The Art of Hanging Out in the Kitchen

    It’s been about sixteen months since I’ve worked from an office, but my return is around the corner. I’ll have a commute and a routine and not the sketchy mishmash of home and work on which I’ve survived. I have a former coach who advised me to “protect your mornings”. I stand by this advice, and I do my best to heed it. But I get a lot out of the entropy of the start of the workday. As people come into the office, they pinball to and fro, and there’s a benefit to being a pinball, too. And so I learned to appreciate the art of hanging out in the kitchen.

Dan Ubilla is obsessed with the craft of engineering management

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