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Level Up - Issue #63


Level Up

October 25 · Issue #63 · 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.

Signs of a successful technical leader
I had a couple of Q&A sessions this week with some fresher technical leaders and a common question was, “How do you know you’re doing a good job?” One thing I tend to watch for is a lack of emergencies. Great technical leaders know to anticipate risk, watch for early warning indicators and share bad news before it escalates. An emergency isn’t an emergency if people already know about the state and that there is a plan of action in place. A team with many emergencies smells like the “firefighter” or “heroic” leadership anti-pattern.
A second sign I’d look for is a high-performing team. It’s easy to default to leading a group of individuals but if a technical leader is doing a really great job, then the team should act like a team, helping each other out and working closely with each other. Are people growing and taking on more responsibility? Are people engaged, or do they wait to be told what to do?
A third indicator I would watch for is how well does the team take care of technical quality? A poor technical leader will blame others (e.g. a Product Manager, another team) for the lack of quality practices. If the technical leader isn’t championing technical quality and quality practices, who should? An engineering team who doesn’t care about code quality, test automation, build automation is one who is going to quickly find themselves overwhelmed with quality issues. I see this as the technical leader’s responsibility to champion. They should identify the right level of quality practices and make it easier for the team to constantly improve.
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 🙏
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Today’s Leaders Need Vulnerability, Not Bravado
How do I work best?
Choosing the Management Track
Leading People With Experience
Level up your technical leadership skills with this online workshop. Click the banner!
Level up your technical leadership skills with this online workshop. Click the banner!
The Power of Community
7 Hard-Earned Lessons Learned Migrating a Monolith to Microservices
Failing over with falling over
How to Build Observable Systems - An Introduction to Observability
Organisation & Processes
Getting Big Things Done
Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging at GitHub in 2020
The Evolution of the Agile Coach Role
Aim for Operability, not SRE as a Cult
Interesting tweets
Trish Khoo
@sarah_edo My manager once complained he just kept repeating himself to the engineers until they did the thing. I said I guess he's basically an NPC. Like in a video game. He had this stunned look of realisation and just said "...fuck".
Simple but succinct advice for tech teams
Mario Platt
#Infosec heuristics for Tech teams (simplicity helps agency):

- Check your dependencies
- Protect your secrets
- Scan your code
- Harden your config

Be consistent in these, and you’re a good part of the way there.
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? Join the Shortcut to Tech Leadership remote training workshop, or check out the self-paced courses at the Tech Lead Academy including “Time Management for Technical Leaders” and “Fundamentals of Systems Thinking”.
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Patrick Kua, Postfach 58 04 40, 10314, Berlin, Germany