No Perfect Reorg

Changing your organization is always at least a bit daunting. Even if you are genuinely excited about the improvements the change will make possible, executing a reorganization is complicated and taxing. Due to that, many executives waffle for too long, fearing to make a step forward. The common fallacy here is that we try and […]

Traits of Successful VPs of Engineering

Since I talk to so many tech executives and am exposed to a lot of companies of different sizes, I often get asked what makes the best stand out. Even though this is definitely a frequently-asked-question for me, I refrained from putting this into writing earlier as I felt like this is straightforward. Recent discussions […]

Authentic Leadership: Embrace Uniqueness

When it comes to taking charge of an engineering organization, it can be daunting. It is perfectly natural and fine to seek guidance, talk to others, and collect advice. Nevertheless, I often see this taken to an extreme, resulting in a mishmash way of doing things and a culture that feels “generic,” and sometimes even […]

Controlling Your Time

Time is the one resource that we cannot readily get more of. Alan Weiss always says that you can make another dollar, but you cannot make another minute. Time is of the essence, especially for executives. There are only so many work hours in the day, and you want to make the biggest impact on […]

Forget It and Set It

Being a consultant, you won’t be surprised to hear that I am often involved in helping companies go through changes. One common aspect that I see, either as I’m working with my clients or when they tell me about their failed past attempts, is that the executives often hold a much too simplistic view on […]

Promotional Material

A few times, I’ve come across companies where managers were reluctant to engage in discussions about their employees’ growth. Leadership tried to avoid it, and the managers never initiated those sorts of conversations. Digging further, the underlying issue is often that they know a significant portion of their employees will want to discuss different promotional […]

On The Catwalk

Frequently, leaders are disappointed with their team’s behavior, the developing culture, and collective habits. They don’t get why people come to meetings unprepared, or think that talking aggressively is acceptable. As someone who often sits as a fly in the room (or Zoom) to watch firsthand how companies operate, I often see a common source: […]

Lowering Org Debt: Spotting Org Smells

The higher up the organizational ladder that you go, the farther removed you get from the code being your focus: the team is your precious project now. Refactorings give way for re-organizations. New frameworks and tools are out, new processes are in. Architecture diagrams step aside, you now deal with the org chart. There are […]

How Not To Get Fired As A CTO

Over the past month or so, I’ve consulted several CEOs who have had trouble with their tech executives. Some are now with or searching for their third or fourth CTO/VP of Engineering. More often than not, these mismatches are not the fault of just one of the parties: both sides need to be better vetting […]

Growing Engineering: Resiliency Trumps Experience

As R&D groups grow, it becomes harder to maintain a high-quality bar and a fast pace of delivery. We tend to blame pure growth (too many people have to coordinate) or the inability to keep hiring strong people at the required rate. While those factors are true, having worked with companies globally, I see that […]