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Showing posts from 2019

Core Competencies

We talk, and I mean A LOT, about what technical roles are and what is required to succeed as an individual contributor. Core Competencies: those things you must, MUST have in order to be good at whatever it is you're doing.

As an IC, anyway.

Managers... seem like a different matter. We know, in theory, what a good manager looks like, if only by pointing at our experiences with previous or current managers and saying "well, not that; whatever the opposite of that is." But negative space with regards to core competency isn't actually all that helpful. And a big piece of whether we think a manager is "good" or not boils down to "did I like this person, and did they appear to like me?" in the end. And while that's an important part of being a manager (and arguably an important part of being a good manager), it's probably not actually how we should be measuring.

I'm not as curious about what executives think makes a good manager, because th…

Nerdy Ninth: James Spader

So ages ago, my friend Curt rolled out the idea of "Nerdy Ninth", which is where we take the ninth day of the month every month to unabashedly talk positively about the things we like. It's a positive-feedback-only idea - no yucking other people's yum, and if you have something good to say, say it with enthusiasm. If the thing being discussed doesn't roll up your socks, then skip it; go play in your own sandbox if you wanna lay turds. I like it: it gives people the space to be positive about stuff, which sometimes in modern nerditry isn't something that happens often. It was a big thing on G+ for a while, and now that G+ is going away I'm going to try and drag that over into my own blog for a chance to talk about things in a positive way. So here's a Nerdy Ninth post to get started.

This month for Nerdy Ninth I'm going to go back to my roots and talking about something I like (in this case, someone):

James Spader.

James Spader has always been an odd…

Managing Difficulties.

The single biggest speedbump on my transition from Individual Contributor to Manager is the realization that I need to hire people that have skills that I don't have, but I'm not sure how to test for those skills to make sure I'm hiring correctly.

Listen, hiring is HARD. It's hard, y'all. Interviews are difficult and as far as I can tell don't actually give a good measure of how a person is going to react or what a person knows. Technical interviews can only do so much, especially when you're hiring for niche positions. Eventually, you just have to make a call and trust you do it right. Sometimes, you get to take a chance on someone who maybe doesn't exactly fit the background, but you like their spirit and you want to give them an opportunity and so you get a great self-learner who is eager for each task and really knows her shit and is working actively to learn more. And that's great!

And then sometimes you give into time pressure and you go with …