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Camille Fournier

The Manager's Path

# Chapter 1 - Management 101

  • Your first management experience is being managed
  • Benign neglect is better than actively bad or micro management

# Minimum Responsibilities of a Competent Manager

  • One-on-One Meetings
    • create human connection that provides a baseline to identify when things are bugging you, or outside concerns are impacting your life, changes in energy & attitude
    • provide a regular opportunity to speak privately about whatever needs discussing, outside of status updates (beyond critical/strategic projects)
  • Feedback and Workplace Guidance
    • behaviour feedback on an ongoing basis
    • ideally: public if praise; private if criticism
    • feedback immediately after the act trumps waiting for the appropriate forum
    • review prior to presentations, feedback on drafts of written documents
    • Ally for your role and career plan
    • Identify and assign stretch projects
    • Show value of work that might not be fun or glamorous - bigger picture
  • Training and Career Growth
    • liaison between team member and company bureaucracy
    • finds & possibly provides mentorship and training
    • Understanding promotion and compensation

# How to Be Managed

  • Think about what you want
    • areas of interest
    • what is your 2-5 year plan RIGHT NOW?
  • You are responsible for yourself
    • bring agenda items to your 1:1
    • ask for roles, tasks; advocate for your interests; seek out feedback (and separate receiving feedback from accepting it!)
  • Understand that managers will make mistakes and help when you can
    • develop a strong interpersonal relationship over time
  • Choose Your Manager Wisely
    • consider who your manager will be as part of career moves
    • differentiate between strong engineers who make good early-career mentor-managers and later stage advocate-managers. What do you need?

# Chapter 2 - Mentoring

  • The first act of people management is likely informal (then explicit) mentoring
  • mentoring allows someone to explore managing in a relatively low-risk environment
  • when mentoring temporary workers (like interns) it's more important that they love you and the company than you love them, as their experience will be widely shared
  • term-based project provides a measureable goal and anchoring vision for their experience
  • cycle of listening, communicating expected actions and adjusting based on responses
  • careful listening is a requirement to developing empathy, itself a core management skill
  • unspoken communication dwarfs spoken; listening is a full spectrum activity
  • new hire mentoring is a critical part of onboarding
  • allows you to view the company through a fresh perspective
  • jump-start connection with various human networks
  • mentors you be explicit in their expectations of their mentees
  • mentors have an opportunity to be more candid than official managers but still need to be professional
  • mentees should give some thought as to what they want from their mentor relationship
  • when managing a mentor define what you wish to achieve by creating these relationships
  • recognize the additional responsibility assigned to the mentor and accommodate accordingly
  • mentorship can be used to train and reward future managers on the team

# Chapter 3 - Tech Lead

  • Tech Lead is a set of responsibilities that any senior developer can take on vs. a point on the career ladder
    • may or may not include direct people management
    • technical mentorship and guidance
    • strong technical project manager
    • delegation without micromanagement
    • team-level productivity
    • influencing without authority
    • balance personal technical commitments with whole team needs

# Maker's vs. Manager's Schedule

  • Potential Roles:
    • systems architect
    • business analyst
    • project planner
    • software developer & team leader
  • take time to explain in a clear, non-threatening, non-condescending way
  • comparing technical and management tracks
  • envisioned ideal life of a Senior IC:
    • deep thinking, hard technical problems
    • autonomy in projects
    • code-centric
    • technical authority
    • respected
  • reality:
    • slower promotion
    • less greenfield projects than anticipated
    • new developers are too needy or too cocky
    • manager is not supportive of all your ideas and viewpoints
    • lots of meetings
    • support of legacy projects and day-to-day process

# Process oriented management

  • belief that on true process exists that will solve all problems
  • zealot for how more common activities in SW Dev should be run
  • often found in QA, helpdesk and PM groups
  • detail oriented but inflexible
  • Agile-implementers vs. Agile-oriented

# Chapter 4 - Managing People

# Building Trust & Report

  • Do people on the team prefer public or private praise?
  • What are their work motivators?
  • What are their work demotivators?
  • What are disliked manager behaviours?
  • Are you providing clear career goals and allowing investigation of unclear areas of interest?

TIP: Have new hires contribute to onboarding documentation

  • Communicate your expectations
  • Get Feedback from Your New Hire

# Delegating Effectively

  • Use the team’s goals to understand which details you should explore
  • Gather information from the systems before involving team members
  • Adjust your focus depending on the stage of the project
  • Establish standards (ed: consistent expectations?) for code and systems
  • Open sharing of information, both good and bad, should be presented in a neutral to positive way

# Chapter 5 - Managing a Team

# Basic Attributes of Dysfunctional Teams

  • Not Shipping
  • People Drama
  • Unhappiness Due to Overwork
  • Collaboration Problems

Team cohesion destroyers to identify and address:

  • The Brilliant Jerk
  • The Noncommunicator
  • The Employee Who Lacks Respect

# Chapter 6 - Managing Multiple Teams

# Decisions and Delegation

Quadrant of Tasks:

  • Delegate simple and frequent tasks
  • Handle simple and infrequent tasks yourself
  • Use complex and infrequent tasks as training opportunities for leaders in training
  • Delegate complex and frequent tasks to develop the team

# Challenging Situations: Strategies for Saying No

  • “Yes, and”
  • Create a consistent policy for the justification
  • “Help Me Say Yes”
  • Appeal to budget
  • Work as a team
  • Don’t prevaricate

# Measuring the Health of Your Development Team

  • Frequency of Releases
  • Frequency of Code Check-ins
  • Frequency of Incidents

# Chapter 7 - Managing Managers

  • Skip-Level Meetings
  • Manager Accountability

# Dysfunctional Organizations

  • Have a Hypothesis
  • Check the Data
  • Observe the Team
  • Ask Questions
  • Check the Team Dynamics
  • Jump In to Help
  • Be Curious

# Chapter 8 - The Big Leagues

The role differences between a VP of Engineering and the CTO?

Two key areas of focus:

  • Changing Priorities
  • Setting the Strategy


  • Do a Lot of Research
  • Combine Your Research and Your Ideas
  • Draft a Strategy
  • Consider Your Board’s Communication Style