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Resources

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

Level up

What differentiates the engineering career stages? Which is the first stage that you can plateau?

Get yourself connected

How do you rise as an individual contributor? What does it take to gain friends and influence people?

A change would do you good

When is a job transfer worth doing? How much will staying or going cost?

Get a job: Finding new roles

How do you choose the right group? What is the key to a successful interview?

The new guy

What five steps can get you quickly up-to-speed and give you instant credibility? Why should you publicly admit your limitations?

Opportunity in a gorilla suit

How do you find opportunities to grow? What kinds of opportunities exist?

Making the big time

Which dynamic dominates as your scope expands? Why does politics come into play?

Individual leadership

What are the three ways to reach the senior band? How do you establish yourself as an expert?

Lead, follow, or get out of the way

How do you think strategically? What is the growth curve for strategic insight?

Solving the whole problem

Why does Senior not prepare you for Principal? What is the whole problem and how do you solve it?

Proactive obsolescence

What should you do if your expertise is now obsolete? What expertise survives constant change?

Life isn’t fair–The review curve

How do you avoid getting shafted by a lame feature assignment? What do you do to get an unfair advantage?

You don’t need a publicist

Why doesn’t your work speak for itself? How do you become more visible without grandstanding or appearing desperate?

Confusing promotions with rewards

When and why do people actually get promoted? What is a business need?

Being a manager, and yet not evil incarnate

I can manage

Where do managers go wrong? What two simple things can you do to become a good manager?

Never been manager

What three mind shifts must first-time managers make? Are you overfunctioning?

A manager’s manager

What five behaviors must group managers master? How do you best use your time between escalations?

Taking over

What should you do first when taking over an existing team? Which improvements can transform your group into a high-performing team?

Beyond comparison–Dysfunctional teams

What causes team members to sabotage instead of support one another? Do managers invite competition or is it inherent in our culture?

Is it safe?

Why is feeling safe so critical to doing your best work? What are the different ways people can feel afraid?

Fairness rules

How do you make fair choices and impose fair restrictions? Why wouldn’t you be transparent?

Spontaneous combustion of rancid management

Why is being consistent as a leader important? How do strong leaders deal with change?

The toughest job–Poor performers

How do you break the cycle of habitual poor performance? What can you say that is caring and respectful but will still ensure resolution?

Things have got to change: Change management

Which two volatile emotions are closely tied to change? What are the five steps for successfully implementing a long-lasting change?

Culture clash

What drives and sustains culture? Are there algorithms for changing culture?

I hardly recognize you

Is recognition about morale and motivation? What are the keys to great recognition?

Give it to me straight

What three rules help you write great performance feedback? Which part of your feedback is the most important?

One to one and many to many

What purpose do one-on-ones and morale events serve? How often should you have them?

Out of the interview loop

What makes a good code question? How do you get recruiters to setup loops quickly?

Go with the flow–Retention and turnover

How do you grow your team with flat headcount? What can you do to avoid chaos when senior people transfer?

Everybody leaves

How will I transfer the knowledge of the departing employee? What should I do to help my team cope with the loss?

Hire’s remorse

What’s wrong with seeking your ideal candidate? How should you differentiate candidates?

Permissible poaching–internal recruiting

How do you fill open positions with great candidates in three weeks? What makes an effective job description?