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Level Up - Issue #126

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Level Up

January 9 · Issue #126 · 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.


Starting 2022 with fresher eyes
I hope you all had a wonderful and healthy end to 2021 and a great start to the new year. Hopefully, you found some time at the end of last year to reflect (see Issue #122 if you missed out) but now is the time to take action.
Here are some actions you might want to try:
  • Declare Email Bankruptcy - If you have lots of unread emails in your inbox that are older than a couple of weeks, will you really get around to reading them? Typically if something is important, it’ll come back so now is a good time to empty your email inbox and try to keep your inbox to a manageable size (aim for Inbox Zero, but honestly I have <10 items I use as reminders).
  • Reset your calendar - You may not be lucky enough to have your CEO remove all your recurring meetings, so try doing this for yourself to get on top of your calendar. Defragment your calendar by grouping related activities to create more focused time. Consider if you need to really add that recurring meeting. Maybe now’s the time it’s better replaced with something that’s asynchronous (and likely more remote-friendly).
  • Commit to a new behaviour for 30 days - Try doing something differently for 30 days and it might become a new habit that lasts throughout the year. It might be as simple as setting aside 15 minutes to read, checking in randomly with a person in your company to build relationships, or practising gratitude.
  • If you have a yearly goal, put in a mechanism to remind you - There are many simple things you can do like adding a sticky note on your monitor or bathroom mirror or reserving time in advance (end of Q1, etc) in your calendar. For me, I sometimes change my computer password to a passphrase as a reminder, and I currently have an email wallpaper with text that reinforces my own goals.
A new year is a great time to try out one small action or do something differently. If you want to share what you’re trying with me, let me know via email.
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? New 2022 dates for “Shortcut to Tech Leadership” are now available, or take a self-paced course at the http://techlead.academy.

Start your year with an experiment
Start your year with an experiment
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Measuring Software Complexity: What Metrics to Use?
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Organisation & Processes
Engineering Manager Forum
Engineering managers: How to reduce drag on your team
Inspection and the limits of trust
Tweets of the Week
You’re probably underinvesting in platform work 👇
Jean-Michel Lemieux
Another common question I’m answering working with scaling tech companies is…

Q. How much of your r&d spend should be focused on platform work?

A. 50%, and most teams are way off what it should be. Let me explain…🧵 (1/21)
Although I’m not sure about the order, these are certainly useful practices to look into (and start using if your team is not) 👇
Lemi Orhan Ergin
IMHO, 5 practices having biggest impact on software quality (in order of magnitude):

1. Pair/Mob Programming
2. Refactoring Techniques
3. Modular Design Principles
4. Test Driven Development
5. Code Review

Practicing all can change the rules of the game.
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? Sign up 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