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Top Featured Stories for September

Every month we do a roundup of interesting and thought-provoking stories from the community.

Defense-in-depth: a strategy for leading understaffed teams

Defense in depth

Abdulfatai, a Senior Engineering Manager at Twitter, shares ways for team leaders to use a strategy known as "defense in depth." By taking a defensive approach to their workload, teams can continue to deliver value without burning out their engineers.

The typical advice in crunch times is to do less β€” reduce in-progress work, say no to new asks, and cut future projects. These proven practices work but usually are not enough. The defense-in-depth strategy helps leaders achieve more, boost morale, and keep the team going.

The strategy has three steps: stabilize (eliminate surprises), synergize (work with others), and strategize (create a plan).Β 

Engineering Management: An Overview

Overview of engineering management

Omar, CTO at Ejaro, covers many of the main responsibilities of engineering managers, from meetings and mentorship to hiring and delegating. It's a nice roundup of what managers can expect to do on a daily basis. One that sticks out:

You'll need to do things that many people don't want or aren't willing to do. Improving code standards, bug report structures, doing some things manually until they're automated, improving communication between your team and other departments, and so on. Your goal is to keep the team focused and remove obstacles from their way, and those obstacles are often easy/boring tasks that no one wants to do.

An introduction Accelerate, the scientific analysis of software delivery

Accelerate software delivery

Jon Lauridsen, Lead Engineer at the Lego Group, summarizes the key takeaways from Accelerate, a book about taking a data-driven approach to measuring software delivery performance.

Here's the bottomline: Teams that rank high in the Software Delivery Performance model are twice as likely to exceed organizational goals, measured against properties such as profitability, productivity, operation efficiency, number of customers, achieving goals, customer satisfaction, and so on. Twice as likely! And there are improvements to other important high-level models such as Job Satisfaction and Less Burnout, meaning this research is relevant to earn more money and make it more enjoyable to do so. Who can say no to that?

Accepting technical debt β€” and repaying it

Repaying technical debt

Alexsandro Souza, Principal Software Engineer at Deem, reminds us how technical debt isn't necessarily bad. Instead, it's often a natural result of the fact that predicting every requirement before starting a project is a superhuman β€” and nearly impossible β€”Β task.

Because tech debt is not ONLY a result of prioritizing speedy delivery or poor development skills but also a natural result of writing code about something we don't have a proper understanding of the complete solution.

Knowing that, a natural response is to invest more in the design phase. However, in reality, you can not capture and learn everything before [you] start implementing the solution. The future is uncertain and might bring radical changes.


Trust in engineering management

Rui Peres, Head of Engineering at Vital, discusses the importance of cultivating trust as a leader. It is not a one and done process; rather, trust requires consistency and repetition.

Trust is the currency of a manager. It takes a long time to amass and can be lost abruptly. Building it across an organization is your number one priority as a manager. Alongside understanding the company, processes and product, scheduling regular 1:1s with your reports is paramount.

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