I started writing I.M. Wright’s Hard Code in 2001, spoofing the type-A arrogant dev managers of that time. In the years since, the persona has mellowed but the advice and opinions remain. Below are selected posts about career development and effective management.
Adventures in career development
What differentiates the engineering career stages? Which is the first stage that you can plateau?
Why do you need to manage your management? How do you manage up with authenticity?
What are the three purposes of a resume? How do you make your resume and interview more memorable and compelling?
What are the three key questions an interview answers? How do you best prepare, introduce yourself, solve design and code problems, answer behavioral questions, and reflect after an interview?
How do you rise as an individual contributor? What does it take to gain friends and influence people?
When is a job transfer worth doing? How much will staying or going cost?
How do you choose the right group? What is the key to a successful interview?
What five steps can get you quickly up-to-speed and give you instant credibility? Why should you publicly admit your limitations?
How do you find opportunities to grow? What kinds of opportunities exist?
Why do writing more code and working more hours fall short of delivering more value? What should engineers be doing?
Which dynamic dominates as your scope expands? Why does politics come into play?
What are the three ways to reach the senior band? How do you establish yourself as an expert?
How do you think strategically? What is the growth curve for strategic insight?
Why does Senior not prepare you for Principal? What is the whole problem and how do you solve it?
What should you do if your expertise is now obsolete? What expertise survives constant change?
How do you avoid getting shafted by a lame feature assignment? What do you do to get an unfair advantage?
Why doesn’t your work speak for itself? How do you become more visible without grandstanding or appearing desperate?
When and why do people actually get promoted? What is a business need?
Being a manager, and yet not evil incarnate
Where do managers go wrong? What two simple things can you do to become a good manager?
What three mind shifts must first-time managers make? Are you overfunctioning?
What five behaviors must group managers master? How do you best use your time between escalations?
What should you do first when taking over an existing team? Which improvements can transform your group into a high-performing team?
What causes team members to sabotage instead of support one another? Do managers invite competition or is it inherent in our culture?
Why is feeling safe so critical to doing your best work? What are the different ways people can feel afraid?
How do you make fair choices and impose fair restrictions? Why wouldn’t you be transparent?
Why is being consistent as a leader important? How do strong leaders deal with change?
How do you break the cycle of habitual poor performance? What can you say that is caring and respectful but will still ensure resolution?
Which two volatile emotions are closely tied to change? What are the five steps for successfully implementing a long-lasting change?
What drives and sustains culture? Are there algorithms for changing culture?
Is recognition about morale and motivation? What are the keys to great recognition?
What three rules help you write great performance feedback? Which part of your feedback is the most important?
How do you run a great people discussion? What common mistakes to managers make in people discussions?
What purpose do one-on-ones and morale events serve? How often should you have them?
What makes a good code question? How do you get recruiters to setup loops quickly?
How do you grow your team with flat headcount? What can you do to avoid chaos when senior people transfer?
How will I transfer the knowledge of the departing employee? What should I do to help my team cope with the loss?
What’s wrong with seeking your ideal candidate? How should you differentiate candidates?
How do you fill open positions with great candidates in three weeks? What makes an effective job description?