Earlier this month I attended New York’s LeadDeveloper conference which is dedicated to empowering engineering managers and scaling technical-organizations. The panels were well balanced with a mix of strategy and low-level tactics. I tend to prefer tactical talks as of late, but a mix is good and I wrote a set of takeaways and highlights on my favorite talks.
What I came to understand by its moniker The Glue Talk, was by NYC native Tanya Reilly. This was first time hearing the term glue, but it aligns with what I value in a growth-minded engineering team. It was a compelling story about a developer that provides that glue layer: tracking the feature work across team(s), unblocking contributors, ensuring documentation is written. End the end, they ensure the story work moves to Done. When the bossess gather to hand out promotions, the code-focused contributor(s) are promoted. The glue-focused developer has their contributions de-valued and over-looked. The message from management that your contributions weren’t technical enough. And Tanya, points out the tendency for these glue roles to be volunteer driven, and in our gendered team these roles are disproportionately filled by women. I encourage anyone that is in a leadership/hiring position to learn from this talk. …
The best teams consist of growth-minded individuals focused on collaboration and learning. Small teams aligned on these principles can achieve what large-teams are incapable. That is building differentiated products that customers love.
Hiring growth-minded individuals isn’t enough. An organization needs to champion a set of principles and values. These are some of the values I focus on and tactics for implementing them.
Everyone does support. Empathize with your customers. Learn from their challenges.
There are organizations that discourage engineers talking to customers. …