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Being an [Effective] Tech Lead

During a long drive the other day I did what I usually do, fumble through the usual technical podcast distribution sites until picking a talk that catches my eye.

I landed on an episode of Software Engineering Radio that most developers would glance over and move on in the search for a more buzz-wordy topic, but I gave it a chance. It was so informative that I listened to it again on my return trip… The episode was “Becoming a Tech Lead” with Pat Kua

What Leads Should Do:

Keep developers working effectively together and moving in the same direction

  • Hold tech huddles, group code reviews, or mob programming
  • Reduce code silos
  • Strive to have code appear to be developed by a homogeneous coding strategy/style
  • No developer should work on two feature areas at one time

Build trust between the technologists and the business

  • Present to the business opportunities in value produced by the team’s technical decisions
  • Keep tabs on Risk and isolate it
  • When pitching projects have an exciting opportunities breakdown for the business.

Fight the Hero Effect

  • Don’t always assign the best developer to the important features/tasks
  • Get devs in areas of the code they aren’t accustomed to
  • Give devs feature-lead roles promoting ownership and accomplishment
  • Challenge code, don’t rewrite it

Maintain Interaction with your team

  • Understand your dev’s goals
  • Contribute code. Devs respect others when they can see quality code they produce.
  • Get feedback from employees about yourself
  • Understand how you cope with stress and adapt to negativity
  • Tech leads that give ALL the answers are not being effective

Pat Kua’s book: Talking with Tech Leads

By Parker Gordon

As a Software Engineer working in Finance, Manufacturing, HR SAAS, Travel aggregate solutions, and more, Parker Gordon has gone through the pains of designing, deploying, hosting, and maintaining high throughput system. Visit his blog parkergordon.io, follow him on twitter @parkergordon_io, or email him at parkergordon.io@gmail.com.

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