The ancient art of leading teams

The ancient art of leading teams

TL;DR Even today, many treat leading teams as a modern form of livestock herding. Limit the information (to avoid distraction), assign tasks, make a checkpoint each week, force controlled crunch before deadline, rinse & repeat. Fortunately, we can do so much better than that, if we manage to break some basic mental barriers - first: leading can (& should) out-scale; second: leading doesn't have to take ownership from team members; third: leadership is about communication (hence: understanding), credibility (hence: trust) & initiative (hence: driving actions). There are some topics that never stop popping up: even if in different contexts,…

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Bossless: why neo-feudalism in IT is passé

Bossless: why neo-feudalism in IT is passé

TL;DR Surprisingly many engineers prefers to be explicitly told what to do, be given a clear end-to-end specification & the worst of all - have someone else representing them to the end of the world, translating "the current state of things" into the language everyone else understands. IMHO it's one of the effects massive outsourcing has on IT industry. In this way, many engineers, on their own wish, "pidgeonhole" themselves not as real knowledge workers (or as some would say - creative workers), but as pure "coders" -> conveyor belt operators who…

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My notes on looking for Software Engineering Manager job

My notes on looking for Software Engineering Manager job

TL;DR - These are not just great times to be a Software Engineer - it's even better to be a Software Engineering Manager. Plenty of open development opportunities help in shaping your own, individual professional profile. Physical world borders are far less constraining in that industry. True engineering expertise (& individuals who can apply it within whole organization) gets noticed & appreciated. And in the end, you don't have to work for Amazon or Google to build top-notch products, quite the contrary - in many cases small, companies with the headcount of few dozen are capable of things that…

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Scoundrel Leadership: an unexpected (?) praise of

Scoundrel Leadership: an unexpected (?) praise of

TL;DR - commoditization of agile methods have brought a shift in thinking about managers' role & leadership in general, industry seems enchanted with idea of servant leadership, self-organizing teams & Management 3.0. But ... in fact the most successful examples of leadership represent a category of "scoundrel leaders" - ruthless, narcissistic manipulators who subdue everything (& everyone) to their vision & style. Let's find out why. "Leadership BS" Few days ago I've finished reading "Leadership BS" by J. Pfeffer. Not the first & surely not the last one book on leadership I'll read,…

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Where do you belong? Straddled between teams

Where do you belong? Straddled between teams

Once in a while I try to catch up on some classics I've somehow omitted to read. One of them is (was) Lencioni's "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team". Title may cause setting some wrong expectations, subtitle is crucial here - "A Leadership Fable". Why so? It's written from executive's perspective & its intended audience is mainly executives (of various levels). Don't flee just yet, I'm not going to review it here :) but there's one particular observation / remark I've found particularly interesting, so I've decided to turn it into a blog post. Straddled At some point,…

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Trapped in a groupthink

Trapped in a groupthink

Have you heard about groupthink before? If you didn't, this blog post is for you - better to know such vicious enemy before you actually encounter him ... The most clear (& still concise) definition I've found goes like that: "Groupthink occurs when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. It causes individual members of the group to unquestioningly follow the word of the leader and it strongly discourages any disagreement with the consensus." src: https://www.psychologytoday.com It's a psychological phenomenon that turns smart people into flock of apathetic, mindless drones -…

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The pitfall of imposed leadership

The pitfall of imposed leadership

I was chosen by Heaven. Say my name when you pray. To the sky! See Carolus rise. (...) No man alive or dead commands me, I answer to the Lord! Hear my orders, question me and die. What I say was set in Heaven, and so it shall be done! Sabaton "Carolus Rex" Anointed by the gods We have a huge problem with leadership in enterprises. The bigger company is, the more severe problem appears. Quite ironically, it's a problem we barely notice - partially because we've get used to the status quo, but more importantly - because in…

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When I say 'Jump', you say 'How  high?'

When I say 'Jump', you say 'How high?'

While browsing various job offers (grin) on-line, I've found something I consider a a bit funny. Some guy was posting job offers for tech people of various levels - not as an intermediary, it was his own company. Requirements were quite clear & straightforward, but in 'expectations' section I've found a very interesting point (marked as a-must-have): loyalty Hmm, what exactly is loyalty? The definition may be a bit helpful, so let's head to Wikipedia, the one & only source of truth ;P https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyalty "Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country,…

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