Level Up

By Patrick Kua

Level Up - Issue #119



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Level Up

November 21 · Issue #119 · 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.

Moving away from right/wrong solutions
In one of my conversations this week, a technical leader was frustrated they couldn’t convince someone of their “right” solution. I find this is a very common situation where a technical person identifies a problem, lands on a solution and is convinced they are right. I know this because I’ve also fallen into this trap too many times in the past.
Here are a number of traps to watch out for and what you can do instead:
  • A right solution implies you have all of the information. In reality, other people have perspectives and insights that you don’t have. That new information may change what the “right” solution looks like. Avoid this by involving others, gather perspectives and information before trying to problem solve.
  • A right solution implies there is a clearly wrong solution. All decisions have trade-offs. It’s very rare there is a black and white right and wrong answer. In reality, solutions arrive in more of a spectrum where one option may be better than others in some aspects. Avoid this trap by trying to identify the strengths and weaknesses of options and make the trade-offs explicit.
  • A right solution might only benefit you. Solutions often require change. When there is change, others may feel like they lose something. This might be about others losing certainty, losing status or losing an activity they feel is important to them. Avoid this by considering the consequences of a solution and who might “lose out” in what ways.
Technical folk are often submerged in a world of right and wrong. The test goes green/red. The compiler works/doesn’t work. The CI build passes/fails. Unfortunately, solutions that involve people don’t work this way. Appreciate the shades of grey and watch out for the traps above.
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? Watch out for future dates of “Shortcut to Tech Leadership” in 2022, or take a self-paced course at the http://techlead.academy.

Start to look for the shades of grey and move away from considering solutions "right" or "wrong"
Start to look for the shades of grey and move away from considering solutions "right" or "wrong"
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Tweets of the Week
Too many of these teams! 👇 Congrats to Randy for doing the homework and calling it out 👏
Randy Elzinga
@tottinge @PragmaticAndy @eikonne @tastapod @mbeddedartistry After about a year of working on an agile team, I decided to look up the manifesto. I was not working on an agile team. It was a "half of scrum done badly plus Jira" team.
Very good point! 👇
Katie Sylor-Miller
I've seen growing business-speak use of "let's align/ensure alignment with team/person x", and I had an epiphany: You can *align* with someone without *agreeing* with them - Alignment means pointing in the same direction, but the path to get there is up to you.
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
If you enjoyed this newsletter, please send me feedback and share it 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