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Level Up - Issue #68


Level Up

November 29 · Issue #68 · 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.

Focus on only one more thing in 2020
With about four weeks left before the holiday season, you are all no doubt under lots of pressure. Uncertainty or rapid change caused by COVID-19, forced remote working or regional politics is certainly not helping. What can help in this situation is being very clear about your top priority for the rest of 2020.
Ask yourself, what is the one most important thing for you and your team to finish before the end of 2020? Having a north star is super important, but a short timebox like four weeks doesn’t give you a lot of time. Not having a lot of time is actually helpful because it forces you to be realistic about what you can achieve. Here’s some tips to do so:
  • Focus on being specific - e.g. “Complete 4 end of year reviews with team members” vs “End of year review”
  • Break big steps into smaller concrete, actionable steps - e.g. “Write first draft engineering principles in week 1. Share and gather feedback on engineering principles in week 2. Update draft engineering principles and share again in week 3. Publish engineering principles to whole company in week 4” vs “Work on engineering principles”
  • Be ruthless in priortising distractions and learn how to say no - If you get incoming requests, as yourself it moves you towards your team’s most important thing? No? Add it to a list and ask the requestor to work with you at the start of 2021 on if and how you can help them with it.
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 🙏
The online guided workshop, “Shortcut to Tech Leadership” is all sold out for 2020. Watch out for announcement for future dates 🎉 in next week’s newsletter!

What is your #1 priority for 2020?
What is your #1 priority for 2020?
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What Tech Leads do at the Financial Times
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Why AWS loves Rust, and how we’d like to help
How we designed Dropbox ATF: an async task framework
Why it's good for users that HTML, CSS and JS are separate languages
The DevOps Reading List: Choosing your next DevOps book
Want to sponsor an issue or advertise a leadership role?
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Organisation & Processes
A System for Email
Leveraging a Manager Weekly Newsletter for Team Communication
Naming NuGet, A Lesson In Distributed Decision Making
Germany’s immigrants rise to fore of start-up scene
Interesting tweets
Click through for a short twitter thread 🧵 where Ryan Rumsey shares 6 things that all leaders struggle with.
Ryan Rumsey
There are so many things about moving into a management or leadership role that, on paper, are simple when, in reality, are really freaking hard.

Here’s a short list of simple things that are really hard to do well.
This is hilarious (they’ve also iterated over the kit several times since I first saw it) 😂🔥 Click through to watch a live feed of emails into a dumpster fire.
Jason Fried
LAUNCH: 2020’s been a dumpster fire. Can email be a conduit for catharsis? If you could write an email, press send, and see it being consumed in an actual dumpster fire, would it help reclaim a little bit of what we've lost? Let’s find out:
Simple and effective!
Tom Peters
COVID19/Seven Leadership Commandments: Be kind. Be caring. Be patient. Be forgiving. Be positive. Be present. Walk in the other person’s shoes. (And: Happy Thanksgiving. Stay safe. Keep others safe.)
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? Watch out for future dates for the Shortcut to Tech Leadership online workshop, or check out 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