Posts 1–5 of 48

  • Behind the scenes of my final day Appian treasure hunt challenge


    At the very end of 2023, I made the tough decision to leave Appian where I’d worked for 21 years. In January, I moved over to Capital One to expand my experience with big data and serverless technologies. Leaving Appian was incredibly emotional since so much of my adulthood was tied up with the company and I had tons of great relationships. So to bring a little levity into my departure, I decided to leave behind a fun challenge for my now ex-colleagues. This is the story of how I challenged my ex-colleagues to compete in a treasure hunt challenge on my last day.

  • Coaching high performing, senior engineers to grow by doing more Great Work


    Coaching high performing, senior engineers is challenging because often there’s nothing they obviously need to improve. To coach them, you have to identify new opportunities which will challenge them and force them to continue growing. Oftentimes managers are able to identify these opportunities for their directs, but I’ve found it’s also possible to encourage high performing, senior engineers to work on identifying their own growth opportunities. This often leads to more exciting opportunities and more engaged engineers.

  • People are the hardest part of software development. DISC can help.


    Have you ever stopped to wonder why some people were easy to work with and why others annoyed you so much? The secret is that we all have different behavioral styles when it comes to work, and when we work with people who have similar styles, it’s easy-breasy, but when we work with people with diametrically opposite styles, it is very, very frustrating. DISC shines a light on those different styles and helps you work better with others and helps your team work better together.

  • How status quo bias makes it hard for us to embrace change, personally and at work


    When we are faced with change, most of us react with skepticism, hesitancy, reluctance, and maybe even downright hostility. This may seem natural, but why do we react this way? The reason is that we are humans. We have emotions and biases. In this case, there are 3 cognitive biases that come together Voltron-style to create a default bias towards the status quo. But understanding them can help us overcome them.

  • There's no manual for how to be a software engineering manager. But these will help.

    Image from BPTrends

    I definitely didn’t know what the heck I was doing when I first became a manager way back in 2004. I was just the least bad person to fill a needed role. But over almost 2 decades of managing technical teams, I have read a lot and learned a lot from great managers around me. I’ve come to believe that there are a dozen+ resources that hit all the key points on how to be a great manager. I think these form the basis of a learning track for engineering management. I've listed them below, divided based on different stages of maturity.