SWLW #506: Reduce friction, Getting big things done, and more.

A weekly newsletter by Oren Ellenbogen with the best content I found around people, culture and leadership in tech. You can also read this issue online and recommend this newsletter to your teammates for a great discussion.

Heya,

As always, below you can read my best findings for the week. If you want to support my work or join our SWLW community in Slack - scroll down to the bottom of the email to see how.
 

This Week's Favorite


​​Reduce Friction
13 minutes read.

"Water runs downhill. People always do the thing that’s easiest to do. Your goal is therefore to make the right thing to do the easiest thing to do. If people are regularly doing any end-run around a process to get work done (say, regularly asking for rubber-stamp PRs so they can be unblocked), you have a process that’s not earning back its energy cost. Fix it." -- I love everything in this post regarding the mindset we need to apply, its reasoning, and the operational framework to drive the team to a better place. The only thing worth tackling is defining "how good looks like," as reducing friction is an evergreen effort. If you cannot measure and prove the impact, consider changing how people feel about it by going deeper into the business needs or aligning expectations with the team.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
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Product [sponsored]


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Culture


CI/CD on AWS
1 minute read.

My humble effort to help you start the weekend with a smile on your face.

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Remote Work and the Urban Long Tail
5 minutes read.

Dror Poleg with another interesting analysis on why people will have more options for where to live, yet the most popular cities will become even more popular (as long as they know to adjust and support the talent). Remote work opens up opportunities for cities to become bigger hubs if they leverage the new rules of the game. Miami might be a good example of that already.

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I Was at Amazon When Jeff Sent This Letter to Shareholders. It Was an Extraordinary Time to Develop Resiliency, for the Company and for Each of Us Individually.
3 minutes read.

The framing of a weighing machine versus a voting machine is helpful - Great outcomes are measured in decades, not years. While hard to predict, it's easier to analyze the market (e.g. does it grow X% every year for the past 15 years? Is there a reason why it won't in the next 15?) and then the pain the product solves - is it critical (painkiller) or nice to have (vitamins)? The challenge for all companies is to keep employees engaged and motivated during the struggles we see today in the public markets of 2022. Leaders should repeat the story about the big picture (over and over), while providing tactical decisions to ease some immediate concerns.

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Share it via Twitter or email.



Supercell's Secret Sauce (As a Company)
12 minutes read.

Blake Robbins shares his takeaways and notes from the interview with Ilkka Paananen, Supercell's CEO. Fascinating read to learn how unique leaders build unique companies.

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Jobs [sponsored]


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 Looking to hire for your team? Promote your open positions on SWLW! 



Peopleware


Being Swamped Is Normal and Not Impressive
3 minutes read.

Greg Kogan captures it so well: "I realized being swamped just means I’m stuck in the default state, like a ball that settled to a stop in the deepest part of an empty pool, the spot where rainwater has collected into a puddle."

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I've Been Thinking About What Means That an Eng Manager Is Above Average. Here Are My Ten Points. (Thread)
3 minutes read.

Use João Alves's 10 points to examine your perspective, and consider writing your own 10 points for what makes someone a great Engineering Manager.

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Getting Big Things Done
4 minutes read.

These two insights from Marc Brooker are extremely powerful: "It is important you feel comfortable with the outcome of this exercise, because losing faith in your own work is a sure way to have it fail. Confidence is one valuable outcome. Another one is a simpler solution." and "The best advice I've received about convincing stakeholders is to write for them, not you. Try to predict what questions they are going to ask, what concerns they will have, and what objections they will bring up and have answers for those in the text. That doesn't mean you should be defensive. Don't aim only to flatter. Instead, tailor your approach. It can help to have the advice of people who've been through this journey before."

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
Share it via Twitter or email.



And finally, inspiring tweets...


@foxinthewaves: Heroics are an immune response, not a strategy.

@mmay3r: The ego is bad when it creates delusions. The ego is good when it creates capacities.



p.s. if you're interested in joining SWLW's Slack channel, simply reply to this email and let me know. If you're leading a team, consider writing your Manager README (it's free) or getting my e-book and interviews Leading Snowflakes: The New Engineering Manager's Handbook. You can also support me by becoming a SWLW Patron. Thank you ❤️




Keep reading, keep learning.
-- Oren Ellenbogen.

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