Technical Lead Articles and Blogs

Sunday, 28 July 2013

There are many insightful views on what makes a great Technical Lead in blogs and articles across the net. Below are some that I feel offer really powerful guidance.

Great Mistakes in Technical Leadership is a wonderful article, but hard to track down. Luckily it has been saved from digital rot by a few kinds souls across the net. Of all the articles this is the one to read, it's great stuff.  In the same vein, Classic Tech Lead Blunder lays out how important is it to build up your team and their strengths.

There are lots of different ways to be a Tech Lead. David Byttow takes more of what I see as a Surgeon / Aviation pilot viewpoint in being effective. Johanna Rothman lays out the differences between Management and Tech Lead skills, whilst James Allspaw's definition of a Mature Engineer covers a great deal of the engineering practises that I think are essential.

Looking wider, there's some really interesting material out there. Rae Ann Fera's Tips for managing Creative People is a great list of challenges for team leads. Though its not written specifically for us I think it has loads to teach.
In the mid 2000s the Ken Blanchard company performed a study to find what was identified as the most critical leadership skills. Communication skills were, by far, the most critical skill and the biggest area of mistakes, and something I want to write about soon. Alfie Kohn's Cooperation Instead of Competition challenges the idea that racing to win is the only way to perform.

I couldn't complete this article without looking at what my colleagues have written about. Being at Thoughtworks for 11 years, many of these people have influenced my thinking, so expect parallels, but also challenges.
Sam Newman posted about the role in the 2000s, laying out his Tech Lead manifesto. More recently Pat Kua talked through his Geek's Guide To Leading Teams at the GoTo Conference earlier this year and ran an Open Space at XP2013 collecting points of view.
In addition, Anne Simmons has written about her first try out as a Tech Lead last year, David Morgantini has laid out his anatomy of a great Tech Lead, whilst Frankie Trindade looked into what the Tech Lead is doing?

Do you have an article that sums up Technical Leadership for you? A blog that takes a new and refreshing angle? I'd love to read it, let us all know.

4 comments :

Robert Watkins said...

Are the underlined words meant to be links? They don't appear to be...

Dan Abel said...

Should be fixed now

Lesson learnt!

Mark Needham said...

I'm not really qualified to give Tech Lead advice but I thought Gerald Weinburg's 'Becoming a Technical Leader' book was pretty good if you're looking for something longer to read -> http://www.geraldmweinberg.com/Site/Technical_Leader.html

Dan Abel said...

Mark, yes, completely agree, its a great book.

I couldn't find any chapters online, which counted it out of this list, but I would recommend it, and I should read it again.