Level Up

By Patrick Kua

Level Up delivers a curated newsletter for leaders in tech. A project by https://patkua.com. Ideal for busy people such as Tech Leads, Engineering Managers, VPs of Engineering, CTOs and more.

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110

issues

#114・

Level Up - Issue #114

Which problems are you solving?Earlier this week I was helping a leader navigate a conflict they were in. They wanted to take one technical approach but found a peer pushing for an alternative approach. They were stuck and couldn't agree on how to move forw...

 
#113・

Level Up - Issue #113

Tech is an amplifer. Are you being responsible?It was hard to go by this week without hearing something about Facebook. You probably heard about their major outage (and a second one) or about their whistleblower, Frances Haugen, who aired on 60 minutes (vid...

 
#112・

Level Up - Issue #112

Getting better at saying noAll leaders struggle to find enough time. Effective time management is a keystone habit for great leaders. If you don't have enough time to reflect, plan and take care of your to-do list, you'll end up in a negative reinforcing lo...

 
#111・

Level Up - Issue #111

Finding leadership opportunitiesI meet a lot of individual contributors considering what their future looks like. Many of those people ask, "How do I get to practice leadership if I don't have a formal leadership role?"I like to remind people that my favour...

 
#110・

Level Up - Issue #110

Treat interviews as a two-way processIn speaking with different technical leaders this week, everyone is talking about how hiring is so difficult at the moment. At the same time, I hear a lot about the so-called “Great Resignation” on LinkedIn, so it seems ...

 
#109・

Level Up - Issue #109

UncertaintyOne of the hardest shifts for developers stepping into technical leadership roles is dealing with uncertainty. Developers are used to a high degree of certainty in their day. Examples include a test passing or not passing, a build working or not ...

 
#108・

Level Up - Issue #108

What is a CTO?I was lucky to join two other seasoned CTOs (Christina Scott from News International and Shaun Pearce from Gusto) on a panel event called "Journey to Become a CTO." Before jumping into the journey, we all shared the same perspective that the C...

 
#107・

Level Up - Issue #107

In person contact is importantAs more countries increase their vaccination rate I'm hearing from more and more leaders meeting with others "inperson" in the office after an extended period of remote working. Many sound relieved. Their reactions is completel...

 
#106・

Level Up - Issue #106

Good decisions don't guarantee good outcomesI had a recent conversation with a technical leader about opening up a technical decision. About 6 months ago, their tech team decided to review their front-end web framework as they are moving from a desktop clie...

 
#105・

Level Up - Issue #105

Leaders manage state transitionsIn my coaching sessions with leaders, I often return to the idea that leaders are responsible for managing state transitions. Some of these transitions might be personal such as trying to break free of a chaotic schedule full...

 
#104・

Level Up - Issue #104

When to carve out rolesI had an interesting conversation with a leader in a scale-up this week and we were exploring when is a good time to carve out an explicit role. Their team included people with a mix of experience (from 6 months-10 years) who shared a...

 
#103・

Level Up - Issue #103

"I'm not allowed to write tests"I was in a coaching session with a technical leader this week who was frustrated. They said, "My Product Manager (PM) won't allow me to write tests." I hear this statement and variations like this quite often. As I explored t...

 
#102・

Level Up - Issue #102

Leading a quieter teamIn one of my mentoring sessions this week, someone asked, "How can you encourage a quieter team to speak in meetings?" Here is some advice you can use to encourage quiet people, who you think are maybe introverted or shy to equally con...

 
#101・

Level Up - Issue #101

Dealing with bad daysEveryone has bad days. It's natural that we sometimes wake up, find ourselves in bad mood, or experience a bad situation and feel frustrated by this. Since all leaders are naturally multipliers, it's even more important to build habits ...

 
#100・

Level Up - Issue #100

The Magic of Round NumbersFirstly I want to thank you for subscribing to Level Up. My hope is that you find at least one interesting article in each issue. Secondly, we've hit Issue #100 🥳🎉 and it's hard not to reflect on such a number. The number 100 remin...

 
#99・

Level Up - Issue #99

Avoiding the phrase, "That's obvious"Technical folk are often very harsh with their feedback. When working with software teams, I often hear the phrase, "You didn't know that? That's obvious." As an experienced leader, I'm very careful about using this phra...

 
#98・

Level Up - Issue #98

"I don't like it" is a perfect example of poor communicationOn one of the slack communities I'm on, there's normally a #help or #advice channel where people ask for advice. I recently answered a question by pointing someone to a "lessons learned" article th...

 
#97・

Level Up - Issue #97

Control and InfluenceIn one of my workshops this week, I received a common question that sounds like, "How do I make X do Y?" Examples might include "How do I make my Product Manager invest in quality?" or "How do I make my team do TDD?" In this particular ...

 
#96・

Level Up - Issue #96

Where are your hidden dependencies?A lot of organisations today use quarterly planning for their teams such as agreeing on quarterly Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). I generally like the OKR approach, when done well, as it increases the transparency of te...

 
#95・

Level Up - Issue #95

Using Role-Playing Games (RPGs) to explain leadership growthMost RPGs allow you to build a unique character by overcoming challenges and receiving character points to allocate to specific traits. In an RPG, you might build a fearsome berserker by allocating...