SWLW #603: The most dangerous phrase, The documentation tradeoff, 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.

Like always, sharing my best findings for the week. 

 

This Week's Favorite


I've Been Thinking About Tradeoffs All Wrong
3 minutes read.

In the past couple of years, I have learned and used the "Even Over" framework for tradeoffs (e.g. X and Y are both good, but at this point, we want X even over Y for some reason). Observing tradeoffs only from a downside perspective can save you some time in figuring out the type of pain you feel you can tolerate at this moment. This pain won't be tolerated at some point in the future, requiring you to change your stack or architecture accordingly.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
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Culture


PMs During Their Interview
1 minute read.

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

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The Documentation Tradeoff
4 minutes read.

The goal is to be able to change the code to support business needs with minimal friction. Documentation is part of that effort, just like having proper tests. Looking at it from this lens of "what would make it easier to understand the code and change it safely" makes documentation investment easier to reason about. This is where you often find that information flow and high-level architecture don't change frequently and enable excellent orientation.

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Communication, High Performers, and Keeping Up With Expectations
6 minutes read.

"People in the vacuum of information will fill the void with their fears and assumptions." -- Andrew Winnicki shares many gems worth considering to increase effective communication with your teammates.

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The Most Dangerous Phrase (Video)
50 minutes read.

"We've always done it this way" can trigger a healthy debate among the team to break out of reactive thinking. Remind the team that you'll almost never have a perfect understanding of why a decision was made. In complex systems, capturing the context in which the decision was made (and the team you had available) is challenging. Writing ADRs helps with that. Daniel Terhorst-North with an inspirational talk I highly recommend.

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Peopleware


The #1 New Manager Mistake: Tolerating Underperformers
3 minutes read.

This is a wonderful take and a common mistake not only new managers make: "We often put the individual over the team. That's our ego convincing us we can fix people. We usually can't. (1) Would a star struggle similarly? (2) Would output go up if they left? (3) Would I rehire this person today? If you're asking, you know the answer."

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Jeff Bezos on Handling Stress (Video)
2 minutes read.

"Stress comes from things you're ignoring that you shouldn't be ignoring" is an excellent way to map out areas of investment. Then, doing almost anything to progress (break it into 10 tasks, complete the first 2) can reduce some stress as you regain control.

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How AI Will Help Us Connect With Ourselves and Each Other by the Creator of BabyAGI (Video)
8 minutes read.

I've been following Yohei Nakajima's work for the past year, and his side project, BabyAGI, is fascinating with his observations and insights. "Taking complex parallel ideas and representing them in a linear fashion is not a walk in the park." What a statement! It made me smile and wonder how Yohei grasps LLM utilization to help us take steps forward in understanding ourselves.

Read it later via Pocket or Instapaper.
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And finally, inspiring tweets...


@hnshah: Without a single killer core use case, product/market fit is just a dream diluted by product features.

@RyanHoliday: Nobody is thinking about you. They're too busy thinking of themselves.


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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Older messages

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