Hello.

How to support

and grow your dev team

You will only see improvement if you have many honest conversations with the people you want to grow

Crash course in maturity

People have different

levels of maturity

  • "keep my head down, don't stand out"
  • "I'm good at what I do"
  • "I wonder how they feel about this"
  • "They'll feel better if I do it like this"

People will react differently

  • Joe will prefer you being direct
  • Fran will need small talk and nudging
  • Steve is only there for the money
  • Amy earnestly desires to grow

Where does this work?

Smaller teams are closer teams

6-7 people max

smaller if you can

Turn responsible people

into line managers

How often should you meet?

One-on-one

every 2 weeks at least

  • 1. Starting at 45 minutes each
  • 2. Moving toward 30 minutes each
  • 3. More if you're mentoring

Regular informal conversations with the whole group

  • 1. daily zoom calls (with camera on)
  • 2. optional but encouraged
  • 3. not a stand-up
  • 4. draw people out who are being quiet
    • 5. deep questions and ice-breakers

What should you talk about?

  • Goals

  • Reality

  • Opportunities

  • Way forward

  • Goals

  • 1. Short-term (2-4 weeks)
  • 2. Medium term (1-6 months)
  • 3. Long term (6-18 months)
  • ...In your current role
  • ...In the role you want to be in
  • ...In your career
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound
  • "I want to be better at my job"
  • "I want to be better at my job"
  • "I want to be better at communicating"
  • "I want to be better at my job"
  • "I want to be better at communicating"
  • "I want to have fewer arguments"
  • "I want to be better at my job"
  • "I want to be better at communicating"
  • "I want to have fewer arguments"
  • "I want to understand intent"
  • "I want to be better at my job"
  • "I want to be better at communicating"
  • "I want to have fewer arguments"
  • "I want to understand intent"
  • "I want to understand intent so the team works better together..."
  • "I want to be better at my job"
  • "I want to be better at communicating"
  • "I want to have fewer arguments"
  • "I want to understand intent"
  • "I want to understand intent
  • so we work better together...
  •  ...And, we can review how
  • that's gone in a month"
  • Reality

  • Give yourself feedback:

1. What is working well?

2. What do I need to improve?

In other words:

1. Why should the company pay me more?

2. Why should the company pay me less?

  • Feedback on goals should happen here, but I've found it more useful to focus on them while talking about goals...
  • Opportunities

  • "What is coming up that I want to be involved in?"
  • This is about expectations...
  • What is needed in the next 3 months?
  • What is expected in the next year?
  • 1. This is essential for new team members, and folks working in relative isolation

  • 2. It's a good self-feedback mechanism
  • 1. This shows the team member that you think about where they can grow, not just what they're doing for you now

  • 2. They can align their goals
  • This is one of the hardest parts, because you're doing the work to show them where they're going...
  • You'll need to speak to the people that hired them, the people that defined their role, the people they report to, experts in their domain, the people that will approve their raises...
  • Way forward

  • "What do you need to do to achieve your short-term goals, especially before our next chat?"
  • "What do you want me to achieve, for you, before our next chat?"

Feedback is hard

  • Effective personal growth requires one person to be mature...
  • Giving and getting feedback requires everyone on the team to be mature, at the same time

😓

  • Encourage team members to ask for feedback after everything they produce, share, or prepare for

"What do you think of that meeting I lead?"

"How can I hand work over, better, to you?"

"What do you like about working with me?"

"What things do I do that make it tricky

to work with me?"

Encourage team members to give feedback as often as they ask for it

Find tools that help to remind them to ask for and give feedback

Record feedback so that performance evaluations and raise/promotion discussions matter

Tools don't solve this problem,

maturity and leadership does

How much Agile is enough?

  • Goals:
    • 1. Release early and often
    • 2. Don't over-engineer
    • 3. Define acceptance and measure well
  • Team members can only demonstrate regular progress if they do regular work, and learn to communicate well...
  • Enforcing this behaviour, albeit politely, makes one of two things happen:
    1. their performance improves dramatically, and they get a sense of what they can achieve...
  • 2. or they realise it's not for them and leave
  • It doesn't mean you need to be combative, but it will be hard work.

How to support and grow your dev team (October 2020)

By Christopher Pitt

How to support and grow your dev team (October 2020)

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