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