Level Up

By Patrick Kua

Level Up - Issue #163



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Level Up

September 25 · Issue #163 · 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.

Autonomy is not a binary thing
A lot of technical leaders struggle with the term autonomy. I often receive a variation of the question, “How do we give engineers autonomy but still be aligned in a single direction?” I like to remind people that autonomy is not a binary thing. Rather, there are degrees of autonomy and some aspects of our autonomy are bounded. For example, countries have laws that permit/do not permit certain behaviours.
As a leader, it’s your role to help people understand those boundaries of autonomy but also help people understand why they exist. For example, a team code style reduces accidental complexity, making it easier for team members to work across different parts of the codebase. Instead of focusing on differences in personal style, team members can use their creativity/autonomy to decide how to approach solving a new business problem or feature.
Your challenge this week is to listen carefully to your team to hear unclear boundaries and add clarity by providing context. Organisations often have standards and rules for good reasons but often those reasons are never explained.
Join an upcoming Engineering Manager Essentials workshop (fully remote) or Shortcut to Tech Leadership workshop to level up your technical leadership skills or invest in self-paced courses at the http://techlead.academy

Remind yourself that autonomy has many different shades, colours and dimensions
Remind yourself that autonomy has many different shades, colours and dimensions
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Tweets of the Week
A very good approach 👇
Gabriella Gonzalez
How I avoid repeating myself as a technical lead:

1. Write it down in a public document
2. Link to the document anytime someone asks
3. Don't ask people to read the document ahead of time

For the last point, I mean I will only present the document when the reader actually cares
Sebastian Bille
The single most expensive phrase in software engineering:

"Maybe we should just build it ourselves instead?"
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
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Want to level up your technical leadership skills? Sign up for online interactive courses like Shortcut to Tech Leadership or Engineering Manager Essentials or check out self-paced courses at the Tech Lead Academy.
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany