Juri Strumpflohner

Coding Architect

Good Tech Lead, Bad Tech Lead

A very good read and I couldn’t agree more on this. Here’s a quick summary of the main points from the article.

Good techleads…

  • act as team members
  • also do “unsexy” work, clear roadblocks for the team
  • broaden technical capabilities of their team; knowledge not concentrated in one mind
  • have overall vision of technical direction and explains to team
  • trust team members, recognize they are smart
  • encourage debates, lead them, help members to come up with a path to a solution
  • allow themselves to be persuaded with new ideas (don’t enter discussions with foregone conclusions)
  • proactive
  • identify areas of overlapping and possibilities to share work
  • pragmatic, balance between doing right and getting it done
  • details matter, code quality, reviews etc… are as important as shipping on time
  • know effective communication is important, more than just writing code
  • sacrifice personal productivity for overall team productivity
  • constant communication with product managers and designers
  • easy-going but assertive
  • good tech leads emerge naturally, earn respect through technical competence and experience
  • always looking for ways to improve
  • boost confidence of everyone else on the team

Bad techleads…

  • take only high profile tasks and expect to take credit
  • optimize locally without looking at the entire organization
  • believe it is more important to win an argument rather than the team gets to the right decision
  • delegate, but then don’t follow progress (hope it will get done)
  • only focus on being in time, take shortcuts, but increase costs in the long run
  • think they’re only productive when writing code and think communication is just point of distraction
  • do not take ownership of the product
  • confrontational and aggressive
  • arrogant and take pleasure in making their mates feel inferior

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