At first glance, achieving happiness and effective engineering leadership don’t seem to have much in common. Marcy’s talk and my personal experience working with her as an executive coach, have proven that these concepts coincide.
“While I have not had the privilege of managing any engineers, I often find myself leading engineers in various capacities.” This is why I found Cornelia Davis’s presentation “On Management and Leadership” so impactful. Cornelia is a Senior Director of Platform Engineering at Pivotal working on the Cloud Foundry team. In her 25 years of experience, she has probably managed “less than she can count on [her] two hands”, but she exudes leadership qualities. Cornelia simplified her approach to leadership into seven easily digestible concepts. All the concepts are great, and I picked my top three to dig into.
In her Calibrate talk “Paying Down Cultural Debt” Carbon Five’s Sonya Green explores the ways we confuse culture with culture’s byproducts. Rock walls, artisanal beer tastings, and dog-in-the-office policies may reflect aspect of culture, but they aren’t the thing itself. Culture, as Green explores, is the way workers talk to each other, treat each other, and make their most important decisions.
As a manager, developing the team is now one of your responsibilities, and you’ve decided, based on the research, that you want that team to be diverse. From sourcing diverse candidates into your pipeline to facilitating an inclusive work environment for your minority reports, Megan Anctil, an Operations Engineer at Slack, provided some excellent recommendations at Calibrate for building a diverse team.
Kelley RobinsonEngineering Team Lead, Optimization
Sangeeta Narayanan runs an engineering team at Netflix where she’s worked for five years. She spoke at Calibrate 2015 about her experience getting and giving feedback, both good and bad. She took the approach that giving feedback is a muscle like any other that needs to be trained and maintained.
Getting new hires productive as quickly and smoothly as possible is one of the most important jobs for an engineering leader. Too often this gets left to chance or to a “sink-or-swim” philosophy, even at larger companies. Speaker Peter Kinmond’s talk outlines why it’s important to create and refine an engineering onboarding program and explains how to design one from scratch.
This is the first of a twelve-part series covering the sessions from Calibrate, an engineering leadership conference held September, 2015 in San Francisco. Content will be posted at a regular cadence throughout the month of November.