Sep 17

Imagine you're a member in a close-knit cooperative commune. The commune has been buzzing along for a few years now, and the members know each other well and coexist nicely. However, it is decided that a crucial skill for the commune is missing and new talent is needed. As the natural leader of the commune, you are asked to interview and decide which candidate would bring the most benefit to the commune.

You've seen two candidates. The first seems to be highly skilled in that one thing your commune is looking for. The second candidate also has the same skill, but he may be not as skilled as the first one. Alright, dilemma over, let's pick candidate #1. Or are we really done?

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Jun 17

If you could narrow down the team leader's role to one sentence, what would it be?

Try asking your manager what they think your role is. They may say something like "make sure team members are doing their job". If you're lucky, they may even suffice with "make sure the team releases high quality products on time". Fair enough, both are components of a successful team. But I believe there is a principle that encompasses both of these and many other components that make a team successful. And it's a more positive principle to boot.

This is my answer:

Team leadership is all about making work fun for your team

The premise is simple: If the work activity is fun, people will do it in the best possible way. This includes quality, reliability and crucially but often overlooked, sustainability.

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May 17
Unless you are a one person team, you are working with a process. It can be an explicit and defined process like Scrum or Kanban, it can be something of your own concoction, or even just a set of unspoken rules and expectations among you and your coworkers.
The thing about processes is that they can either be the best thing for your team's productivity, or they can be the reason your team never delivers anything on time. Sadly, most processes tend to gravitate towards the inefficiency end of this spectrum. That's why when people think of processes they usually have an alarm bell going off in their head. They perceive the process as something that gets in their way, stops their flow, dictates their actions and generally just slows them down. And with good reason: Who among us was not victimized by coma inducing meetings, or conventions that consume precious time without actually producing any tangible value?
Process tends to become inefficient in a similar way to how software tends to become bloated: It contains bugs, it accumulates useless features over time, and it gets filled with ad hoc solutions to problems that no longer exist. Process, like software, can easily become cumbersome to the point of embarrassment. Unless, that is, someone cares enough to stop every now and then and clean it up.
This is true no matter what kind of process you have in place. This is why you need to hold retrospectives at regular intervals.

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