Episode 285: Staying technical as a manager and skill over seniority


In this episode, Dave and Jamison answer these questions:

  1. In the past couple of years I transitioned from a freelancer, to a full-time software engineer, to a product owner, to a manager of a small product development team. Due to the relatively rapid changes, I feel I have not had enough time to go particularly deep in my knowledge and experience with any of these roles.

    I’m currently focusing on developing the soft skills needed to be a better manager. I have this nagging feeling though that I should still be developing my technical skills. But in the grand scheme of things, is it still useful for a manager to continue to develop technically in order to provide useful input/guidance on technical decisions? Or would it be better to leave the technical decision-making to the team and instead focus purely on building up the team, supporting members in reaching their career goals, and improving processes? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

  2. Hi! Love the show and recommend it to everyone, even if they’re just asked for directions…

    I’m the Front End Lead at a fast growing startup. I really want to start delegating more, so I decided I’m going to appoint a front end tech lead on each of our teams. I already have my tech leads picked out, but…..

    My problem is with one of the teams. The person most fitting for the job is a very talented, yet very junior developer. This team also includes a very senior developer, which I believe is not fit for the job at all. But the senior developer is looking for a promotion.

    I’ve consulted with my managers and they think passing over the senior dev is basically forcing them out of the company (or at the least, making them a very disgruntled employee).

    Right now i’m holding back my decision just because of this. Please help me!

    Thanks :-)

Show Notes

  • https://www.lesswrong.com/tag/paperclip-maximizer
  • https://www.decisionproblem.com/paperclips/
  • https://charity.wtf/2019/01/04/engineering-management-the-pendulum-or-the-ladder/
  • https://charity.wtf/2017/05/11/the-engineer-manager-pendulum/
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