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Finding success on a team with a first-time tech lead

Finding success on a team with a first-time tech lead

First-time tech leads face the challenge of learning a new role while guiding a team. Tech leads need to have space both to succeed and to learn from their own mistakes. Teammates, particularly more senior teammates, have to be prepared to provide support without micromanaging.

Don’t remember the challenges of tech leading for the first time? Take a walk in the shoes of a more junior colleague. Follow the story of a first-time tech lead as they navigate ill-defined requirements, uncertainty about measuring progress, and ever-looming deadlines. Learn what they found helpful: mentorship, meeting cadence, team feedback, and self-reflection.

Whether you’re stepping into the tech lead role for the first time or looking to support a colleague in that position, this talk will offer practical solutions for guiding the team to success under the direction of a first-time tech lead.

Bekah Suttner Cheek

October 26, 2022
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Transcript

  1. Supporting a First-Time Tech Lead Bekah Suttner Cheek

  2. Tech Lead What’s a tech lead?

  3. TL Is The Person Who • Understands how the technical

    pieces fit together • Is responsible for preparing technical work for the team • Answers questions on technical direction and vision
  4. TL Is The Person Who • Understands how the technical

    pieces fit together • Is responsible for preparing technical work for the team • Answers questions on technical direction and vision TL Is Not Necessarily The Person Who • Has the deepest technical knowledge • Holds the most senior title • Has the most years of experience
  5. Challenges Of Being a First-Time Tech Lead

  6. Challenges 1. How do I measure progress? As a First-Time

    Tech Lead
  7. Challenges 2. When is a story ready? As a First-Time

    Tech Lead
  8. Challenges 3. How do I fight perfectionism? As a First-Time

    Tech Lead
  9. Advice For a First-Time Tech Lead

  10. Advice 1. Establish Momentum For a First-Time Tech Lead

  11. 1. Establish Momentum - How You Can Support • Pair

    on backlog work • Record a walkthrough video
  12. 2. Ask Questions Regularly Advice For a First-Time Tech Lead

  13. 2. Ask Questions Regularly - How You Can Support •

    Schedule regular touchpoints ◦ Keep the time on the calendar initially • Start a running shared document ◦ Set aside dedicated time to respond
  14. 3. Keep the Team Involved Advice For a First-Time Tech

    Lead
  15. 3. Keep the Team Involved - How You Can Support

    • Schedule weekly refinement meetings • Compile a list of stories to review by a certain time
  16. 4. Take Good Notes Advice For a First-Time Tech Lead

  17. 4. Take Good Notes - How You Can Support •

    Think about note-taking system up front • Consider what makes notes good ◦ Searchable ◦ Easy to reorganize ◦ Easy to copy into other tools • Ask about favorite note-taking tools
  18. Advice 1. Establish Momentum 2. Ask Questions Regularly 3. Keep

    the Team Involved 4. Take Good Notes For a First-Time Tech Lead
  19. Supporting a First-Time Tech Lead Bekah Suttner Cheek mail@bekahcheek.com