Blog posts

These are some notes from insightful blog posts on what it takes to be an effective tech lead.

Effective Technical Leadership

What makes a badass TL is broken down into three A's: attributes, activities and actions.


Over time, you should always be increasing three attributes: Knowledge, Speed, and Awareness.


The two most important things that a tech lead can do also happen to be exact polar opposites: block and unblock.


There is a long assorted list. Here is an attempt to put its items into buckets:

5 Tips for Being an Effective Tech Lead

Learn to Delegate

Find Time to Code

Visualise Your Architecture

Spend Time 1-on-1 With Team Members

Learn to Speak the Language of the Business

What It Takes to Be a Great Technical Lead

1:1 meetings

Plucky 1:1 Starter Pack | Plucky 1:1 Manager Pack: "Conversation cards" for those awkward moments of silence in a 1:1. Highly recommended.

T-Shaped People and Academia: "... academia is doing a disservice to ‘T-shaped persons,’ i.e. persons combining deep expertise in one or more fields with an ability to collaborate across areas. T-shaped persons are often contrasted with I-shaped persons, commonly known as experts. Given the state of the art in the software industry, T-shaped people are a sought-for commodity: the current ‘framework du jour’ might be obsolete in a few years, but the horizontal bar of a T-shaped person ensures that they can also contribute to other aspects of a project, and quite likely will develop new vertical bars, i.e. new expertise over time."

9 Questions for 1:1s

(by Claire Lew, CEO of KnowYourCompany)

  1. "Are you afraid of anything at work?"
  2. "Have you seen something recently and thought to yourself 'I wish we'd done that'?"
  3. "Is there something we should measure in the company that we currently don't?"
  4. "Is there any part of the company you wish you were able to interact with more?"
  5. "Are there any benefits we don't offer that you'd like to see us offer?"
  6. "Is there an area outside your current role where you feel you could be contributing?"
  7. "Is there anyone at the company you wish you could apprentice under for a few weeks?"
  8. "Have you seen someone here do great work that's gone unnoticed?"
  9. "Are there things you don't know about the company that you feel you should know?"

1-on-1 Toolkit

"The 1-on-1 Toolkit is my mission control for managing my teams; it's where we define actionable goals that are tied to specific sections of the career ladder, track progress towards each goal, set 1:1 agendas so that time is well-spent and focused on clear objectives, and capture kudos—all in one place.

  1. "A partnership agreement". Agree on what matters for you and your managee and what you expect from each other.

  2. "Organized meeting notes, action items, reminders. Keeping these agenda items up to date is critical to maximizing our 1-on-1 time."

  3. "An up-to-date development plan." It can be revisited quarterly and followed closely to ensure you keep sight of the employee's goals.

  4. "A Hype document." A repository of everything the employee has achieved, all the praise they have received, and other small items that show and hype their impact.

  5. "Learning resources." You will often end up recommending readings, courses, or other resources. This page is an invitation to capitalize on them.


Ashlee Clifton (Rocket Mortgage) 1:1s

Tags: reading   management  

Last modified 20 January 2023