Experience leading engineering teams

  • configuring
  • establishing
  • maintaining
  • terminating
  • monitoring
  • securing
  • documenting

A selection of roles described in terms of leadership

I‘ve trudged through a project in which the scenery was changing too fast for us to settle on any useful system of documenting, structuring sprints, or even prioriritising items for a roadmap. We could’ve really used Agile on that one, particularly for its discipline i.e. the confidence to Say No To Scope Creep.

Tools that empower leaders in engineering

Project management:

  • Ticketing system
  • Documentation wiki/repo deployed alongside ticketing system
  • developer-friendly platform like Stack Overflow For Teams enabling transparent problem-solving

Pitfalls to anticipate

  • Dilemma: a system is found to be edit-locked for single users at a time, and one of those users goes on annual leave without taking the proper steps to fully close their Edit window. Everybody else is locked out; impersonating that user’s login is possible only if we have credentials-based login and not SSO.
  • Disruption: a new engineer joins the team; empowered by their fresh/unbiased perspective and eagerness to impress during probation, they suggest a core ETL tooling is not up to the job and should be replaced by a new custom-code solution. The engineer is talented & experienced enough that their initial attempts at custom code go very well, so that stakeholders are divided in their support for the incumbent vs the replacement.

Solutions to try (one-to-one mapping onto pitfalls)

  • Contact the user who has left the session open; if they’re able to open-and-close then all is well and we’ve learned a valuable lesson. If unable, attempt system restore from most recent backup/snapshot. If backup unavailable or restore not feasible, bring in some other priority item from backlog.
  • Empower the new engineer to be heard and understood; you don’t want to lose their enthusiasm. If the consensus is they’ve not quite understood the decision logs backing-up the incumbent tooling, conduct a workshop to help demonstrate its use and append a recording of that workshop into the documentation; lean into the debate as an opportunity for everybody to be reminded of where documentation & standards are accessed.

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Oli Steadman

Oli Steadman

Bass/BV @StornowayBand. DataCat @AstraZeneca. Consulting via StoneStreetProductions.