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Level Up - Issue #44


Level Up

June 14 · Issue #44 · View online

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

In Issue #40 of Level Up, I shared how I had a fun conversation with the lovely folks from Human+Tech Podcast (@HumansPlusTech). The podcast is now out and you can find it here (and the 🤣 drawing of me!) There also have a full transcript for those that prefer to read the conversation 🎉👏.
I’ve had a few exchanges this week with people early in their leadership journey. A common question is, “What should a [Tech Lead/Engineering Manager/VP Engineering/CTO/etc] do?” Role descriptions are a useful model to share expectations. A challenge with leadership roles is that dealing with vagueness or uncertainty plays a key part. A few mantras have helped me explain this in the past: “Leaders create something out of nothing”, “Leaders craft clarity from chaos” and “Leaders find more certainty in uncertainty.” These are certainly pithy statements but if you’ve played a leadership role, you know the truth in them.
People are unsuccessful leaders when they expect answers to be given to them, or when they expect to follow a playbook or set of rules. Successful leaders see uncertainty and embrace it. An act of leadership is often about finding a way path through uncertainty, but people must have safety and courage to act. This is why I believe everyone can be leader.
I hope you enjoy this week’s content. If you find it useful, please forward to someone else and send me feedback. Stay safe and healthy 🙏
Level up your leadership skills with better time management. Register for the new online course, “Time Management for Technical Leaders” from the Tech Lead Academy 🎉

Hand drawn picture from the Human+Tech podcast
Hand drawn picture from the Human+Tech podcast
Seeking Sponorship (NEW)
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Making teams work in volatile and uncertain environments
Why managing uncertainty is a key leadership skill
5 Engineering Manager Archetypes 5 Engineering Manager Archetypes
Signs Your Software is Rotting
This is a really interesting open source tool appropriately named from Spotify providing a dashboard of services at scale. You can surface information about services through the use of plugins. You can now visualise the state of services - super handy for those in the land of microservices. This youtube video shows the tool in action where you want to track how well teams and services update their dependencies. It shows how much better it is than tracking this information in pesky spreadsheets. Very cool 🤯
HSBC moving from 65 relational databases into one global MongoDB database
Speeding up a Git monorepo at Dropbox with <200 lines of code
Facebook's TransCoder AI converts code from one programming language into another
IBM quits facial recognition because Black Lives Matter
Organisation & Processes
The Open Feedback Circle (OFC)
Drawing good architecture diagrams
California bigwigs rule Uber, Lyft dial-a-ride drivers are employees, not contractors
Open source software vulnerabilities see huge rise
Interesting tweets
I also remember “trunk” or “main” before the world of git.
Jason Yip
Before git, the mainline was called the trunk. Note the tree metaphor: trunk and branches. Master branch is an odd way to say trunk.
A great list of alternate terms to use 👏
Matt Auerbach
are you a documentation owner? think about using more inclusive language. some suggestions 👊
Applying these terms is sometimes not too difficult 🎉
Lucas Garron
Our team at @GitHub just changed our project's main branch to `main`! We're not the only ones, and there's growing momentum to change the default across the company. 😱 It's no defunding the police, but it's nice to see progress against such entrenched practices.
Thanks for making it this far! 🤗
If you enjoyed this newsletter, please send me feedback and share with others!
If you’re interested in growing and supporting technical leaders in your company, get in touch about my “Tech Lead Skills for Developers” course or check out the Tech Lead Academy online course on “Time Management for Technical Leaders”.
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany