In many cases tech leaders have to figure out what are their responsibilities and how to “do” their job by them selves. There is very little literature on the topic and you won’t find many if any trainings. I compiled list of books and activities that can help you prepare for the role. It will be helpful no matter if you want step into the role or you’re already in. Before I continue I propose two readings that will help you make your goals straight. First make sure that whatever you’re doing is in the best interest of your clients, company and yourself:
It’s a great read no matter if you’re just developer and you want be just developer or you’re tech lead. Second read this book where over a dozen of tech leads talk about their role:
Now if you still interested in the role (you see what I’m doing there ? :D) look at below advices.
Look for help
First you can ask peers at lead position for advice. They already discovered ins and outs for this role and also since they are working in a similar environment they will have advices most relevant to you.
Talk with your line manager. Line manager won’t help you with technical side of the role but they can help you a lot with soft skills and aspects of the role.
Got to local meetups. It doesn’t have to be specifically about leadership. Go to software craftsmanship or architecture meetup. Find other tech leads in the audience ant mingle with them. They will be more than happy to share their experience. I find it one of the most powerful tool when comes to building working understanding of complex topics. In the end you may be able to avoid mistakes made by others. Remember to contribute back to community :).
Take more active role in development process. It’s more help yourself kind of advice. Try take part in all parts of development process: analysis, design, running retrospectives, facilitating discussions, mentoring juniors, ramping-up new joiners. Basically stick your fingers in every part of development process from idea to maintenance.
Somehow it’s forgotten way of learning at least in development which is shame because it’s quite effective. Not everything in IT is changing so quickly that there is no good read on it. Reading list for tech leaders contains more books on soft skills then on technology or methodologies. Except two books I mentioned at the beginning look at below list:
- Managing humans
- Becoming a Technical Leader: An Organic Problem-Solving Approach
- Notes to a Software Team Leader: Growing Self Organizing Teams
- Driving technical change
- Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less
- Carrots and Sticks
- Agile estimating and planning
- Planning Exreme programming
- Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
- Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
- Blink: The Power of Thingking without thinking
This is one of the posts in my sudo series about technical leadership , see also: