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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

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  2. Tech Lead
    What’s a tech lead?

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  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

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  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

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  5. Challenges
    Of Being a First-Time Tech Lead

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

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

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

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  9. Advice
    For a First-Time Tech Lead

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

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  11. 1. Establish Momentum - How You Can Support
    ● Pair on backlog work
    ● Record a walkthrough video

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  12. 2. Ask Questions Regularly
    Advice
    For a First-Time Tech Lead

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  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

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  14. 3. Keep the Team Involved
    Advice
    For a First-Time Tech Lead

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  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

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  16. 4. Take Good Notes
    Advice
    For a First-Time Tech Lead

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  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

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  18. Advice 1. Establish Momentum
    2. Ask Questions Regularly
    3. Keep the Team Involved
    4. Take Good Notes
    For a First-Time Tech Lead

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  19. Supporting a First-Time Tech Lead
    Bekah Suttner Cheek
    [email protected]

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