Blitz-Watch: Lead Dev Part 1

2 months ago
This post is part of an effort to distill my binge-watching experiences into easily consumable pieces of useful text. Featured here: Lead Dev conceptual talks.

Lead Dev is a Youtube channel of a great community with content to improve your teambuilding and leadership skills in the software development business. I watched some of their recorded speeches (selected purely by personal interest in titles) and took extremely terse notes of the concepts I found important. This part features high-level talks, more technical talk notes will follow. Ratings are very subjective; use them as a litmus test of whether my taste is similar to yours so that you can decide whether to follow this series.

1. Communicating and documenting architectural decisions | David Ayers (2018)

What it's about: minimalistic bureaucracy that could be useful in an enterprise setting to capture large-scale system and tech wisdom.

Key timehashes: ADR – Architectural Design Record (4:50); SIG – software interest group, engineers researching and documenting best practices (16:40); Guilds; how to socialize decisions and discoveries (20:20); doing reference application with baked-in best practices (22:56) that serve as a beachhead into new tech; how you should commit to maintain those reference implementations (25:20); connecting your architecture desicions with the simplest possible implementation is a Tracer Bullet/Steel Thread technique (28:49).

Rating: a lot of to unpack; close to a must-watch.

2. Eiffel's Tower by Nicholas Means (2018)

Key timehashes: "Networking and promotion" = "Making friends and telling stories", these are politics and politics is important, because there is always politics where people work together (28:14). You can negotiate anything (31:18). Build shields for your developers but give them some access to politics (34:14).

Rating: engaging and interesting but by no means a must watch.

3. A team in ten minutes | Steve Williams (2019)

Key timehashes: Cynefin framework by Dave Snowden (4:12); "let run, let fail" (10:10).

Rating: not really much to take away for me.

4. Navigating Team Friction | Lara Hogan (2019)

Key timehashes: "Forming -> Storming -> Norming -> Performing" cycle happens whenever a team is created or changed (latter, on a smaller scale) (5:10). Normalzation is critical stage of social dynamics. Part of the brain that's responsible for analyzing threats might overcome the rational person (8:20); there are 6 core needs for safety at work: Belonging (threat of social rejection), Progress/Improvement, Choice, Fairness/Equality, Predictability, Status/Significance (BICEPS). Feedback equation (18:00): observe behavior + explain impact + genuine question; it has high success. Feedback medium is also important. Team processes are about the Norming -> Performing (24:15). How (tech lead) + Who (eng manager) + What (product manager) = Why, a "North Star" of the team dynamics that should be explicit.

Rating: an absolute must watch, even if you're not into psychological aspects of the industry / "soft skill stuff".

5. Engage teams to achieve high performance | José Caldeira (2019)

Key timehashes: 5 steps. Goal: important how people attach to their goals (1:20), bold, quantitative, and simple; Constraints (3:10) are things we cannot do, we must define them or life will define them; Principles or decision models (5:20), e.g. fast or structured; Pitch (7:00) – even engineers need to sell; Storytelling (8:05) creates empathy (storytelling is a huge pet peeve of mine – A.B.).

Rating: it's fine I guess but it doesn't exactly open any third eyes.

To be continued: in the next part, I’ll summarize more technical talks. Stay tuned!