I queued this post last year when I was a Technical Lead for an outstanding scrum team at HealthEquity. The role was new for me here, although I’ve had leadership roles at several companies over the years.
A Little Background
Our team consisted of six people who had never worked together directly. We not only found a way to meet the requirements of the project, but we also did it on time, on budget, with little overtime, and quite a lot of team fun.
At any rate, the team was very successful, and its success was noticed. It resulted in considerable renown for the team. Credit where it is due: the team’s success belongs to the entire team. My role certainly wasn’t more significant than any other. If anything, it was less important.
I’ve been asked by several people how we did it. My answer, as always, is that we have an awesome team. As a contributing member, I shared some of the load. Maybe my philosophy as a tech lead within the team helped as well. I’d like to think so.
My Tech Lead Philosophy
Top Tier Things To Not Forget
- Principle #1: Respect the opinions of everyone. We are all professionals.
- Principle #2: Make other team members’ jobs easier.
- Principle #3: A tech lead isn’t the only person who has great ideas.
Also Good To Remember
- Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience.
- Give guidance by asking questions. It isn’t always possible, but it usually is.
- Free team members to focus on sprint work by being the first point of contact.
- I choose to address this by sitting at the entrance to our team area.
- Encourage team members to learn by taking tasks that challenge them.
- Take sprint tasks that don’t interest other team members when possible.
Probably Best Not To Do This Stuff…
- Dictating solutions and stifling creativity.
- Taking all the fun tasks for yourself.
- Interrupting people unnecessarily.
- Wheaton’s Law: Don’t Be A (Jerk).
Obviously, I’m not perfect in any of these things. I do find that having the philosophy helps point me in the right direction. I hope it helps you as well. If you’d like to read more on this topic, I wrote a follow-up article in 2017 about Influence vs Authority on Agile Teams.
Interested in technical leadership and not sure where to start? Lead some coding katas for your team.
As always, hit me up on Twitter with questions or comments. Until next time.