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Level Up - Issue #106

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Level Up

August 22 · Issue #106 · View online

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.


Good decisions don’t guarantee good outcomes
I 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 client to a web application. They explained their decision-making process, which seemed very reasonable to me. Before starting their migration, they mapped out a number of options, described characteristics of a good solution, evaluated them through experimentation and trials and made a decision based on the data they collected. 6 months into their migration, work was progressing and the team was moving ahead well.
A recent event involving people triggered this technical leader into thinking they should re-open the decision. All leaders face this struggle all the time, asking questions like, “Did we make a good decision?”, “Is there a better decision to make now?” and “Why didn’t we consider this option when we made this decision?
Our conversation reminded me of some lessons learned from the book Thinking in Bets. Don’t confuse a good decision with a good outcome. Luck and timing always plays a role, whether or not a good decision results in a good outcome. Focus on the things you can control such as the decision-making process. Don’t see decisions with a binary lens (yes/no, right/wrong, black/white). Instead, consider adding a confidence factor about when you make the decision ( 30% confidence is very different from 80% confidence).
If you’re curious about how the conversation turned out, it seemed like the recent event shook their confidence about the decision, but like many architecturally significant decisions, opening up the decision would have many more downsides than the potential 5 or 10% increase in confidence they felt they might find.
Your challenge this week is to look closer at what decisions you and your team make. Does your decision-making process help you improve your “bet”?
Enjoy this week’s newsletter and be sure to pass it on to a friend or colleague. Want to level up your technical leadership skills? Sign up for the online workshop, “Shortcut to Tech Leadership” or take a self-paced course at the http://techlead.academy.

Leaders make sure decisions get made in a timely fashion
Leaders make sure decisions get made in a timely fashion
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Tweets of the Week
A great thread about turning failure into learning
Nivia roots for the oppressed and the melanated.
Yesterday I had a skip level mentoring session w/a less experienced engineer. They were sharing w/me that they were the culprit of a major incident last week.

At first we talked about the usual: feeling embarrassed, ways to add better guard-rails in the future. But then 1/4
Read this thread for some good classic lessons learned
Adam McKerlie
Hey you, the developer who just got promoted to management, I've got some advice to help you out. I did this journey 8 years ago when my boss left and I was the most senior engineer. Here's a few things I wish I knew then 🧵
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
If you enjoyed this newsletter, please send me feedback and share with others!
Want to level up your technical leadership skills? Watch out for future dates for the Shortcut to Tech Leadership online workshop, or check out self-paced courses at the Tech Lead Academy.
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany