Early in my career the idea of moving from an IC role to management sounded crazy. But, one thing led to another and I found myself on the management path despite my best efforts to avoid it, and it turns out it can be pretty awesome!
Let’s face it, management is not seen by many as a sexy profession. Whether you’re reading Dilbert or watching Office Space or enjoying the first act of The Matrix, managers are depicted as universally incompetent, do-nothing overhead that only get in the way of the “real work”. And even if you recognize that this is just a stereotype and that strong management brings real value to the table, anyone paying attention will notice all of the crap they have to deal with, including hiring and firing, handling performance issues, and ultimately being accountable for their team’s effectiveness.
Who would want to be that person?
During the first ten-plus years of my career, certainly not me! Just let me code, maybe lead something with a few other sharp team members. Who would want to do anything else?
But then I was presented with an offer I couldn’t refuse: the opportunity to take the lead in building a new Product Management organization. And, of course, that meant not just managing the product but building a team and managing people.
And I was terrified.
Well, it turns out, for someone like me–and let me be very clear, here, this is not a career path for everyone–it couldn’t have been a better move.Continue reading...
Re-reading “Product Leadership” by Banfield, Eriksson, and Walkingshaw, and I can’t figure out if I just unknowingly internalized a ton from my first reading years ago, or if I ended up learning all the same lessons, but after ten years in the role, it’s definitely been an object lesson in confirmation bias…
It’s official, I’m no longer an INVIDI employee. Let the sabbatical begin!
This is a copy of the note I posted to LinkedIn announcing my resignation from INVIDI. Since I didn’t syndicate my last blog post there, you’ll forgive a bit of overlap in the subject matter, but I liked what I wrote and wanted to preserve it on my blog. You know, Own Your Data and all that.Continue reading...
After 21 years in my job at INVIDI I realized I needed a change, and in that moment of change, some space to reflect.
For many of the folks I know, twenty-one years is a long time in a career, let alone in a single company.
But the strange thing is that, while on the resume it looks like I’ve had just the one job, in reality I had the great fortune to have experienced a remarkably diverse series of roles, and it seemed like every time I started to get a little antsy, a little bored, in need of a change, INVIDI offered me another opportunity, another challenge, another path to walk.
And it has been quite the journey, though one that has come to its natural end.Continue reading...
The last few months have me thinking a lot about technology, disruption, and the metaphor Chesterton’s Fence, or why you need to think about systems before reforming them.
In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: ‘If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.’
In the context of his writings, G. K. Chesterton was using this as an argument in favour of certain socially conservative views (hence the title of the essay “The Drift from Domesticity”). But the core principle–that it’s important to understand systems before you change them–is far more broadly applicable (and apolitical!), and is something that I think the technology industry would be wise to adopt.Continue reading...
1 of 2