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Create a Career Ladder for Real People: Vertical and Lateral Movement

Create a Career Ladder for Real People: Vertical and Lateral Movement

Many career ladders assume that people have linear careers. They move “up” to a new role. However, many people don’t have linear careers. They bounce between a technical role and management—often several times. Even after they bounce, they might not make a permanent career decision. Worse, most career ladders nudge technical people into management. Instead of pushing people “up” into management, why not support people as they experiment in their career, such as “over” to a different role?

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Johanna Rothman
PRO

March 14, 2021
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  1. Johanna Rothman @johannarothman www.jrothman.com Create a Career Ladder for Real

    People: Vertical and Lateral Movement
  2. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Current Career Ladder Problems •

    Only go in one direction: Up • But many people have non-linear careers • Few organizations have effective parallel tracks • Many senior people become “managers” because they get more money • Based on personal “deliverables” (achievements) instead of team-based deliverables 2
  3. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman “Personal” Deliverables Drive Rewards •

    How many principal or consulting engineer slots does your organization have? • Many fewer than the manager roles • The only real way to move up/more money is to take a management role. 3
  4. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Problems with Only Moving to

    Management • Two losses: • Team loses a great technical contributor • Person might not want management, so might not want to be a manager • Too few people realize management is a career change 4
  5. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Personal Deliverables: Anti-Agility • Bold

    statement: No one works alone on any product • Especially not on an agile team 5
  6. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Solo Achievements Ignore Agile System

    • Agility: • Short feedback loops • Team works together in flow efficiency 6
  7. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Flow Efficiency Shortens Feedback Loops

    • Resource efficiency slows work • You wait for the next piece of work. • Work queues behind experts. • When we optimize for individual busy-ness, we slow the team • When teams work in flow efficiency, they finish as fast as possible. 7
  8. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman See Flow Efficiency with Value

    Stream Map 8
  9. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman When Team Works Together 9

  10. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Change Our Language • Stop

    saying, “Individual Contributor” • Start saying, “Team Member” • Humans are not “Resources”—they are resourceful people 10
  11. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman What About Technical Leaders? •

    They lead a team, informally or formally, often through influence 11
  12. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman We Need “Agile” Career Ladders

    12
  13. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Career Ladders Serve Several Purposes

    • Where to hire a person into the organization? • When to promote someone • Criteria for the behaviors you want to reinforce and reduce 13
  14. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman (Agile) Behaviors We Want to

    Reinforce • Collaboration to learn and deliver together • Feedback and coaching (to create psychological safety) • Ability to ask for help • Experimentation (to increase learning speed and feedback loops) • Adaptability • Influence (not coercion) 14
  15. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Agility Requires Collaboration & Influence

    to Drive Rewards 15 Less influence More influence
  16. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Three Key Areas for Collaboration

    & Influence • Technical Ladder: • Code and product • Process Ladder (got a better name for me?) • Code and process • People Leadership • Organization and product • When we clarify the areas of leadership, we can create a jungle gym for a ladder 16
  17. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Several Types of “Technical” Leadership

    17 Less influence More influence
  18. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Influence • When we show:

    • Competence • Trustworthiness • Build small wins every day • And we build rapport • Base influence on: • Mutually agreeable outcomes • Short- and Long-term objectives 18
  19. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Technical Team- Product- & Process-Based

    Influence • We can always control our actions • When we collaborate with others, we expand our influence • How much do we work inside the team, across teams, and across the organization? 19
  20. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman What Technical Influence Might Look

    Like • Primarily code- and product-based leadership • Collaboration inside the team and across teams (pair, mob, …) • Model asking for help & experimentation • Inside the team (technical lead) to entire organization (architect) • Architects participate with the team(s) • Technical facilitation (coaching and feedback) • What did I miss for influence? 20
  21. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman What Process Influence Might Look

    Like • Team, product, and organizational process issues • How to support team’s collaboration (cycle time, item aging) • How teams work (not specifics, but the facilitation) • Influence the way team, product and organization uses agile approach • What did I miss for influence? 21
  22. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman What People-Based Influence Might Look

    Like • Culture • Maybe some process influence, but primarily around guidelines and constraints • What did I miss for influence? 22
  23. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Leadership Influence Circles • The

    more you exert your leadership, the more influence you have • The circles “collapse”— you have more total influence • Leadership defines and refines the culture • What people can discuss • How they treat each other • What the org rewards 23
  24. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Why Influence Can Work •

    You can influence if you: • Build rapport with other people • Show your competence • Work together • Achieve shared goals and achievements 24
  25. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Consider These Possibilities • Create

    at least three tracks in your current ladders • Move from “up” thinking to “over” thinking • Rethink achievements via influence: • How the person helps the team, product, organization • Who would you need to talk with first? 25
  26. © 2021 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Let’s Stay in Touch •

    The books: • https://www.jrothman.com/mmme • https://www.jrothman.com/hiring • Blog series: https:// www.jrothman.com/careerladder • Pragmatic Manager newsletter: www.jrothman.com/pragmaticmanager • Please link with me on LinkedIn 26