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Level Up - Issue #84


Level Up

March 21 · Issue #84 · 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.

Standard of work
At least once during the Shortcut to Tech Leadership workshops, a participant asks a variation of, “How do I convince my Product Manager to refactor/write tests/design?” My standard response is, “Why is this even a discussion?”
Picture yourself in a restaurant (in a country where it’s currently possible 😅) and you order a main dish. You’re paying a premium for the dish, exchanging money for the expertise and time of professionals in the kitchen. This ranges from washing and cutting of ingredients to cooking and arranging the dish. It also includes continuous cleaning of the kitchen, so you can enjoy your meal minus food poisoning.
When developers offer, what I consider, essential activities, to Product Managers, I imagine this restaurant analogy. It’s like chefs offering customers detailed choices about what behind-the-scene activities they would like to pay for. I can’t think I’ve ever seen washing, cutting, cooking or cleaning on a menu.
Remember that companies exchange money (e.g. salary, fees) for time and expertise, or “you know best” how to build software. Developers might share what their standard of work includes (i.e. a shared definition of done, during estimates) but these activities should not be negotiable. What you should negotiate on is what you build (i.e. features) with that standard of work.
Enjoy this week’s edition. If you find Level Up useful, please forward to someone you think would benefit. Stay safe and healthy 🙏
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What is your standard of work?
What is your standard of work?
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Sadly too true 😭
Totally agree 👏
Phil Calçado🧶
Some engineers don't care about the problem as long as they get to use interesting tools

Others don't care about the tools they use as long as they get to solve an interesting problem

Both mindsets are great, but a recipe for misery when misaligned with the organization needs
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