Amazing CTO Newsletter
🚀 Issue 15.1
by Stephan Schmidt
let’s talk politics. Not those, but company politics. Recently I’ve talked to a coachee who reached an executive level in a larger company for the first time. Just like me he was naive and assumed people acted in good faith and played by the rule.
But in larger organizations, many people get ahead by politics. And those best at it, get to the top. In development, we believe in rules (often too much so) and are more susceptible to falling victim to politics than others. We are then flabbergasted by the moves others make, like saying yes, then doing nothing, when a CTO would say “no, this is a bad idea”. Or making sure decisions are made even before a meeting happens, then you show up expecting a real discussion. Or actively sabotaging projects by adding their people who don’t work on the project but stall it. Compared to that reopening a decision when the opposition is on holiday is relatively harmless. As CTOs we hate politics. But we need to understand that others use it as a tool to get ahead. I’m not saying you should adopt politics, but don’t be surprised. And you will not be able to change others or the company.
On to the insights. This week’s insights include
- A 📚 book recommendation about breaking rules
- How motivation works
- Why 🤖 Big Tech doesn’t use Scrum
- There will never be enough 👨💻 developers, why?
Good reading, nice weekend ❤️ and until next week,
Article of the week that changes your life
Action Leads to Motivation
The biggest mistake about motivation is the belief that you need to motivate yourself (or others) to start. You need to start to motivate. Motivation follows action not the other way around. This insight helped me a lot in the past with new things.
Stories I’ve encountered last week
How Big Tech Runs Tech Projects and the Curious Absence of Scrum
No Scrum in Big Tech, wonder why?
Microsoft Announces It Will Include Pay Ranges In All U.S. Job Postings
This is a coming megatrend, transparency about salaries starting with job ads. Recently I’ve asked a CTO what he would do differently in his next startup: Total transparency on salary bands. I couldn’t agree more. Are you prepared for the coming transparency? Did you make the first step and have defined salary bands? Or are salaries willy nilly all over the place depending on when someone was hired? Then you might have some homework to do. Use this article to talk to HR.
The Great Decentralization? Geographic shifts and where tech talent is moving next
Developers are on the move.
39 Pieces of Advice I Gave Myself
I had to include this one, obviously for “Find a mentor and a coach as soon as possible. They are two different people. Without them, you have only realized 30% of your true potential.” (self-plug, I’m a CTO coach ;-) But it’s easy scanning and a lot of reminders of things you already know.
The 3-Day Return to Office Is, So Far, a Dud
Apple rolls back the 3-Days in office policy. I do think in development with hiring pressure the only thing that works is “Work as you like, office, home, Mallorca, we don’t care”.
Why We Will Never Have Enough Software Developers
When I decided to study computer science at the beginning of the 90s, everyone tried to stop me: All the software we ever need is already developed (Word and Windows). But then came the boom years of the dot com bubble. When I became a manager I always hoped recruiting would get easier. But it gets harder all the time. Insightful article on why we will never have enough software developers (lots of data, facts, and graphs ❤️ ).
As developers, we tend to overthink things, because it sometimes is helpful. As managers, we keep overthinking things. “Is even thinking about overthinking, overthinking? “ A deep dive into overthinking, if it happens to you, must-read.
Quantifying the Effects of Working in VR for One Week
Important paper on the work in VR. With more and more remote, one option is doing work in VR.
*“Among other results, we found concerning levels of simulator sickness, below average usability ratings and two participants dropped out on the first day using VR, due to migraine, nausea, and anxiety. Nevertheless, there is some indication that participants gradually overcame negative first impressions and initial discomfort.” The future?
📚 Book of the week
This week’s book is “First break all the rules” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. I took a lot away from that book and from the research that went into it. The book is essentially about employee happiness and questions that help determine employee happiness. The flow through all my coaching, like ” In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?” or “Is there someone at work who encourages my development?” A book that will be helpful to you for the next decades and you always come back to.