2015-04-05

Coaching Engineers on Management

(paraphrased, from a real email attempt)

Hello chaps, here are more inexperienced candidates for our consideration. This is not necessarily a bad thing. For what it's worth, if you think candidates aren't worth X salary... by all means consider offering them:

  • less than X
  • a very narrow scope
  • short-term contracts
  • internships
Let them learn at their own pace without too much responsibility. More hands on deck means there's less time for you to have to deal with menial stuff.

Try to get into the mindset of running a team... i.e. growing an organisation of people.

"Ways of work," which are sometimes called "processes," may be briefly implemented with the following algorithm:

  1. design
  2. test
  3. document
  4. delegate
  5. monitor

You get to do more smart stuff at (1-2) because you have the privilege of being leaders (by virtue of experience level). These are where technical learning happens. (Talent is "scaling up.")

Then there's (3-5) which may be tedious, but which are definitely worth your while in the long-run... this is more soft-skilling and where organisational learning happens. Doing this enables scalability, which ensures that you get to reap more of (1-2) for yourselves. (Talent is "scaling out.")

At some point, the limits of an organisation may curb your (1-2) no matter how much (3-5) you do, and that's when you know it's time to:

(a) pivot the organisation
(b) settle for less learning
(c) switch organisations.

[ Of course, all of this presumes that we have an innate interest in learning things. :)]

Let's keep the conversations open, about team structure and hiring strategy.

The effective management of our talent pipeline is critical to the success of the organisation that we are all a part of. And it should have an extremely high priority.

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