Your Managers Are Passing Their Time Cargo-Culting Important Work

During these interesting times where multitudes of tech businesses are busy trying to reinvent how they work together (and sometimes their business models), it is becoming clearer and clearer that there is a big gap between what managers think they should do to what they truly should do. You cannot blame this on the pandemic: […]

What Are You Waiting For?

A scenario I’ve seen several times is one where a person in a leadership position, after deciding and announcing they will be switching jobs, finally starts acting on things they’ve been procrastinating for months and sometimes even years. As if a huge weight has been lifted off their shoulders, they provide feedback, lay out plans, […]

Never Hear an Excuse Again

You’re sitting in a post-mortem or providing an employee some feedback during your 1:1. What follows all too often when you try and give feedback to someone with a technical background is a bunch of excuses. “I didn’t feel well.” “Product should have defined things better.” “No one else does it, either.” A cascade of […]

Over-Engineering Your Organization

Due to the motives and momentum that currently abound in the tech industry, most companies are in a constant state of growth. Every manager and exec has added “We’re hiring” to their LinkedIn tagline. With all this hiring going on, a very common pitfall I see for tech executives is to do Premature Organization. No […]

Fixing Your Decision Waffling

During the Second World War, the CIA created a short manual called Simple Sabotage. It had instructions on how citizens of enemy countries can take steps to harm their own governments’ efforts, in case they didn’t agree to their actions. While containing information about using inadequate tools, misplacing orders, and so on, it contains several […]

Tech Leadership: The Work Is Not the Work

Tech executives, especially those coming from a substantial hands-on background, naturally gravitate towards focusing on rote delivery. In my work, I often see clients toting grandiose roadmaps that boil down to “we will do what Product has asked,” but less succinctly. Of course, delivery is essential. If you don’t deliver, no one cares how nice […]

Stop Mediating

When smart people hear both parties separately and understand there’s a miscommunication, they can seldom stop themselves from intervening and helping them bridge the communication gaps. I have to fight this urge all the time when I’m sitting down at clients and interview several people. When a VP Engineering proudly describes having helped two directors […]

How to Demotivate Your Engineering Team in 10 Work Days

Your team starts a 2-week sprint. You have the sprint kick-off ritual, they commit to a bunch of tasks, and off you go. Putting aside the actual delivery of the tasks, ten workdays have gone by, and now you’re at the end of the sprint. You might have a quick retrospective ritual to come up […]

What If You Never Hire Senior Engineers?

What would you do if you were told you could not hire anyone with seniority? Oh, and that 90% of your employees would leave when they reach three years in the company? That might sound like an impossible task, but that pretty much how the technological units in the Israeli army work. I’ve served there […]

Wishful Leading

Imagine having an IC whose manager describes like so: Doesn’t follow up. Doesn’t communicate when things are taking longer than expected. Rarely even estimates and commits to a time frame. Cannot show tangible results over the past six months. Sounds terrible, right? I’m sure you wouldn’t want to thatperson’s manager. It sure doesn’t seem like […]