Notepad and Coffee

Eight years ago I wrote about how meetings are poisonous. At the time I was the senior developer on my team and I was getting pulled into 4-5 meetings a day. This killed my productivity and made it difficult to get any of my IC work done. I struggled for many months until I realized that I could just say no to meetings. Since then I’ve transitioned from developer to manager, manager to director and then back to manager. My feelings on meetings have changed over the years but the general advice from eight years ago still stays the same

Coffee and Paper

Last week I was talking with a group of friends about what their “perfect workday” would be. A number of scenarios were discussed when one person said “an entire day filled with meetings”. I began asking them questions about why they felt this way and what their meetings entailed to try to get an understanding of why they would want an entire day of meetings.

After a brief conversation, I came to the conclusion that meetings are poisonous and should be removed from the social norm of the business world.

Being a manager can be extremely hard, it can feel isolating at times especially if you don’t have a good support network of peers. But how do you cultivate this team of peers when your days are filled with 1:1s, meetings, code reviews and other things you need to get done?

Earlier this year I was struggling with this question. I needed to expand and nurture my peer group but was too busy with the day to day tasks of leading multiple teams to do anything regularly. That’s when I found this excellent post on starting an engineering manager book club by Daniel Na. I asked my peers if they’d be interested in starting a book club for engineering managers. They said yes and I got started thinking about what it could look like.

When I was getting started early on in my career I made a lot of mistakes. I was unhappy, working for people who didn’t respect me and I was lost. I was unsure as to whether or not I wanted to continue being a developer and for a while, I was unsure if I’d ever be able to make it. I was working my butt off and burning myself out for a company I didn’t believe in.
These are the four things I wish I had known when I was just starting out.

Old school fore hire

Hiring is hard. It’s a stressful process where you’re trying to find a good fit, both personally and technically, all in a few short hours. Over the last five years, I’ve hired numerous developers and while they haven’t all worked out, I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to work with some excellent people.

Notebook on a wooden table with a coffee

In early 2013 I transitioned from a developer to a manager of a team of 3 when my manager left suddenly. It took me over two years (and doubling the team size) until I felt like I really understood what it meant to be a manager and thought I was adding value. Here are a few things I’ve learnt and tips others gave to me.

Laptop and books with sun shining against the wall

Welcome to Procrastinating Manager, the second site in the series. For the better part of the last decade I’ve been an Engineering Manager (EM) and Director of Engineering (DoE). I’ve learnt a number of ways that don’t work when it comes to leading people and a few ways that do and I’d like to share them with you.

In 2019 I read 26 books. This was 9 less than the goal I set in 2018, this was due to a busy personal life (I had a second kid) and changing roles at my company. I also think I got a little burnt out from reading after a fairly quick start.

In 2018, I read 42 books. This was the first time in over 15 years that I really set out to read a lot of books. I used to curl up on a couch or hang out in my bedroom all day reading until my parents forced me to go outside or come to dinner. Then high school, university, work, parenthood and numerous other things got in the way and I never got back into reading.