Being a tech lead – Week 1

This week I’m going to try something different. I hope you’ll appreciate it. If you do or don’t, please send me some feedback or leave a comment below!

Trying Something Different: Consistency!

For a few years now I’ve been thinking a lot about the tech lead role. I’ve been publishing stuff here and there a haphazard way on various channels such as the Tech Lead Coaching Network Twitter account, Medium, my personal blog, LinkedIn, through podcasts on the Tech Lead Coaching Network, and I even hit publish on a How To Be A Tech Lead, a free book the weekend before last. 

For a while there, when I was at Red Hat, many were articles I wrote in a hotel bar eating a hamburger after long travel days. I think some of the stuff is pretty good and insightful. 

But so inconsistent. 

And that inconsistency is what I want to solve starting this week. Starting today, I’m going to start sending out content in a (relative compared to the past) organized way and be consistent about posting. Each week I’ll pick a general topic and try to stay with it for the week, posting on, primarily, LinkedIn and Twitter, since this seems to be where tech leads are likely to hang out.

Thankfully I can use tools like Buffer to get it all planned out the weekend before!

This Week’s Topic: Newbie Tech Leads

This week I’m going to spend some time introducing you to the tech lead role—focused primarily at newbie tech leads. I’m going to be talking about what the role is, whether you should really be getting into it or not, and what you should be focusing on in the early days of your tech leadership.

What is the tech lead role, anyway? There’s a lot of confusion in our industry about it. You can read more in my book, but a good way to understand it is the understand WHY managers need tech leads. Fundamentally, they simply cannot manage or lead all the fine grained details that come up, especially if the engineering managers are spread thin across multiple teams. That’s where you come in, but we’ll explore it in a lot more detail this week.

Should you be a tech lead? There are many good AND bad reasons why managers may come and tap you to be a tech lead. The question you need to ask yourself is whether you take on the role. This week, we’ll explore some reasons why you SHOUD NOT but we will also explore some reasons why you SHOULD. Spoiler alert: if the reasons are extrinsic rather than intrinsic, then they’re probably the wrong reasons.

What should you do in your early days? We’ll give you a some ideas about how to adjust to the new role. Probably the most important thing I can tell you, however, is that in the early days you’re leaving behind a lot of the success you had early in the role for an ambiguous, unclear role where you’ve got a lot to learn. Focus on the process of growing into the role rather than any results, especially in the early days of the role.

It’s gonna be a fun week, tech leads! Hope you find it useful. As we go, I’ll try to post links to everything that happened here so you can follow along.

A lot of this content is inspired by my new book, How To Be A Tech Lead. It’s free on Leanpub!


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