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Developer's guide to selling your soul

Developer's guide to selling your soul

In almost every developer's life there comes a time at which he/she has to choose.
To go into management, or to stay in development.
Now, if you're a "my concept of fun is reading about monads and category theory" kind of developer, this will probably feel like you're selling your soul to "The Man".

But here's the hard truth.
No matter what you want to achieve in your professional life, chances are you'll need help from other people to do that.
So doing at least some sort of management is not an option, it's a necessity.

In this talk I'll tell you about my experience of going through this transformation.
I'll try to sum up my ups and downs into a quick and easy cookbook you can use in your day-to-day operations.
So that you still have time to do what you love the most, develop!

Hrvoje Crnjak

May 14, 2019

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  1. Q4 – So why should I waste my time on

    this? A Because no matter what you do in life, you’ll always need to work with other people
  2. The No Asshole rule • Don’t • Be an asshole

    • Encourage assholes • Breed assholes
  3. The No Asshole rule • Am I a workplace asshole?

    • Imagine your colleagues looking back at the encounters you had • From their point of view, did you do right by them? • Or if you have a kid… • Would your kid be proud or ashamed of how you treated those people?
  4. The Peter Principle "In a hierarchy every employee tends to

    rise to his level of incompetence." • Employees promoted based on • The success in their current position • The skills they posses for their current position • Not everyone is fit to be a manager!
  5. The Peter Principle • Am I fit to be a

    manager? • Do people think I’m an asshole? • Do I posses the necessary people skills? • Am I organized enough? • Do I understand the domain? • Am I prepared to take on the responsibility?
  6. No better than anyone Your success directly depends on the

    success of your people • You’re not almighty and all-knowing • You’re not the smartest guy in the room • You’re just the guy making sure it all runs smoothly
  7. It’s all about responsibility “Once upon a time a team

    had a very important job to do. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.”
  8. It’s all about responsibility You’re in charge and it’s your

    responsibility to make it work • And your failure if it doesn’t! • It might be someone else’s fault, but you’re responsible! • The higher you go, the bigger the responsibility
  9. It’s all about responsibility • A member of your team

    messed up production • You’re responsible! • Your team delivered a wrong thing because the specification was incomplete • You’re responsible! • Your team missed the deadline because of lack of resources • You’re responsible! • A member of your team is underperforming • You’re responsible!
  10. No democracy • A simple test of workplace democracy •

    Get 10 developers into a room • Let them agree on something on their own • And then check how they execute the plan the came up with
  11. No democracy There’s no democracy in leadership, only enlightened absolutism

    • You should still • Listen and seek opinion and advice from your people • Give out as much autonomy and responsibility as you can • But the final decision (and the responsibility) is yours! • You’re here to “steer the ship” • And to make sure things get done
  12. No “should” in leadership When was the last time you

    attended a management meeting with absolutely no concrete outcome? • The outcome must always be an actionable decision on how to proceed further! • We’re going with this approach instead of that one • We’re not sure, XYZ will acquire more info, and then we’ll decide • We’re not going to do anything • Stick with what you decided • Not doing so will have a very negative impact on your people • A lot of times it’s just educated guess • Don’t get into analysis paralysis!
  13. No “should” in leadership “In any moment of decision, the

    best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt
  14. Clear goals and expectations • There pillars of success •

    Can s/he do it? (competencies) • Does s/he want to do it? (motivation) • Does s/he know exactly what s/he needs to do? (expectations) • Provide answers to • The what, the how, the why • No free lunch! • Check and re-check everything is understood and keep tabs on the progress
  15. Not all waste is garbage Think of mistakes as opportunities

    to improve • Nurture a culture of admitting and fixing mistakes • It’s normal to make mistakes and no mistake is too big to admit • Always define steps on how to stop the same mistake from happening again • Unless it’s pure neglect, don’t be too quick on punishments! • It’s truly a mistake only if you don’t learn anything from it (otherwise it’s a learning experience :)
  16. Feedback is the king Feedback is the single most valuable

    tool in your toolbox • Reinforcing or redirecting • It needs to be • Regular, frequent, timely • Focused on the specific behavior/event not the person! • Specific - what exactly is wrong • Focused on learning for the future • Balanced – positive feedback should not ne forgotten! • Praise publicly, criticise privately • Worst feedback is no feedback!
  17. Transparentness is next to godliness • At any point in

    time there needs to be a clear understanding of • Priorities • Deadlines • What exactly needs to be done • Who’s doing it • Current status • Open questions, blockers, delays, etc. • Biggest enemies • Tribal knowledge and “common” sense! • Write down whatever seems relevant and always explicitly agree on things
  18. Transparentness is next to godliness MON TUE WED THU FRI

    Peter Jim John TASKS ------------------------------------------- | Loan Account Bug (LAB) | New Share Type (NST) | Client Config Update (CFU) | Import Speedup (ISP) FLAVOUR OF THE WEEK -------------------------------- NST, ISP OPEN QUESTIONS ------------------------------------------------ Jim – LAB – What about the fee? John – NST – Which name to show? TO DOs -------------------------------------------------- Peter – CFU - Merge into main branch Team Weekly Board LAB CFU NST NST NST CFU
  19. All eyes on you • A simple test • Start

    using some strange term in your daily communication • See how long it takes for your people to start using it themselves • You’re setting the bar • Commitment to work • You don’t care about the job -> Why should they • You care and make it work -> So will they • Standard of behaviour • You’re being an asshole –> They can be assholes to each other • You’re polite and respectful -> They better be polite and respectful!
  20. All eyes on you • You’re setting the bar •

    Mood • You’re nervous and frightened -> They’re updating their CVs • You’re calm and confident -> They’re doing their work • Don’t spread FUD! (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) For better or for worse, your actions and behaviours are always under the microscope. Be a good example to your people!