Bonus: Additional Resources

A Curated Guide to Leadership Resources

Embarking on a journey to become a better leader requires guidance and a well-structured approach. Here’s a collection of resources that have been thoughtfully curated to assist you in developing your leadership skills. These resources are a combination of original creations and carefully selected items from the wider community.

Explore and Discover

The resources are categorised to facilitate ease of access, but it’s strongly encouraged to explore many of them and take a close look at each one. You’ll find material that resonates with you, inspiring you to think, “This is amazing!” Conversely, some resources may not seem as relevant to your particular needs, and that’s completely normal. Everyone’s leadership style is unique, and what works for one individual may not necessarily work for another.

Tailoring to Your Needs

Leadership is an ever-evolving field, and personalisation is key. As you delve into these resources, some may strike a chord with you, while others may not. And that’s absolutely fine. Embrace the diversity of content and allow yourself the flexibility to choose what best aligns with your journey.

Contribute to the Community

The collection of resources is not set in stone. If you come across something valuable that you believe should be included in this list, your input is highly welcomed. Sharing additional tools, methods, or perspectives can enrich the guide and provide new avenues for growth.

Leadership is an individual journey, but you don’t have to walk it alone. Whether you find inspiration in the listed resources or have something to add to the collection, your path to becoming a better leader is supported here. The resources are here for you to explore, learn, and grow, and they are tailored to meet various needs. Happy leading!

Books

The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change

My favourite book on Tech Leadership! Managing people is difficult wherever you work. But in the tech industry, where management is also a technical discipline, the learning curve can be brutal―especially when there are few tools, texts, and frameworks to help you. In this practical guide, author Camille Fournier (tech lead turned CTO) takes you through each stage in the journey from engineer to technical manager.

Amazon

Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World

Forget what you know about the world of work You crave feedback. Your organization’s culture is the key to its success. Strategic planning is essential. Your competencies should be measured and your weaknesses shored up. Leadership is a thing. These may sound like basic truths of our work lives today. But actually, they’re lies. As strengths guru and bestselling author Marcus Buckingham and Cisco Leadership and Team Intelligence head Ashley Goodall show in this provocative, inspiring book, there are some big lies–distortions, faulty assumptions, wrong thinking–that we encounter every time we show up for work. Nine lies, to be exact. 

Amazon

Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track

At most technology companies, you’ll reach Senior software engineer, the career level for software engineers, in five to eight years. At the career level, your company’s career ladder won’t require that you work towards the next promotion; being promoted further is an exception rather than expected. This is also when many engineers are first given an opportunity to move into engineering management. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a flurry of books unlocking the engineering management career path, like Camille Fournier’s The Manager’s Path, Julie Zhuo’s The Making of a Manager, Lara Hogan’s Resilient Management, and even my own An Elegant Puzzle. The engineering management career isn’t an easy one, but there are maps available to help navigate it. What if you want to advance your career without becoming an engineering manager? The technical leadership path remains relatively undocumented, hard to navigate, and inconsistent across companies. Staff Engineer is your guide to building your career towards a Staff engineering role, receiving the title, and succeeding within the role.

Amazon

Engineering Management for the Rest of Us

Sarah Drasner wrote this book to share insights and lessons she wished she had known about Engineering Management, a field often overshadowed by programming resources. Addressing both managers and individual contributors, the book offers guidance on navigating the non-deterministic nature of people processes, stressing the importance of continuous learning in leadership roles. From the macro to the micro, Drasner covers various topics to help foster healthy working relationships and strong connections within the business, inviting everyone to the conversation regardless of their role.

Amazon

Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness

From beloved performance expert, executive coach, and coauthor of Peak Performance Steve Magness comes a radical rethinking of how we perceive toughness and what it means to achieve our high ambitions in the face of hard things.

Toughness has long been held as the key to overcoming a challenge and achieving greatness, whether it is on the sports field, at a boardroom, or at the dining room table. Yet, the prevailing model has promoted a mentality based on fear, false bravado, and hiding any sign of weakness. In other words, the old model of toughness has failed us.

Amazon

Modern Software Engineering: Doing What Works to Build Better Software Faster

In Modern Software Engineering, continuous delivery pioneer David Farley helps software professionals think about their work more effectively, manage it more successfully, and genuinely improve the quality of their applications, their lives, and the lives of their colleagues.

Writing for programmers, managers, and technical leads at all levels of experience, Farley illuminates durable principles at the heart of effective software development. He distills the discipline into two core exercises: learning and exploration and managing complexity. For each, he defines principles that can help you improve everything from your mindset to the quality of your code, and describes approaches proven to promote success.

Amazon

Articles

DevEx: What Actually Drives Productivity

Engineering leaders have long sought to improve the productivity of their developers, but knowing how to measure or even define developer productivity has remained elusive.5 Past approaches, such as measuring the output of developers or the time it takes them to complete tasks, have failed to account for the complex and diverse activities that developers perform. Thus, the question remains: What should leaders measure and focus on to improve developer productivity?

Today, many organizations aiming to improve developer productivity are finding that a new developer-centric approach focused on developer experience (also known as DevEx) unlocks valuable insights and opportunities. Gartner Inc. reports that 78 percent of surveyed organizations have a formal DevEx initiative either established or planned.7 Accordingly, there has been a continued rise in dedicated DevEx and platform teams being formed to help improve developer experience within their organizations.

Developer experience focuses on the lived experience of developers and the points of friction they encounter in their everyday work. In addition to improving productivity, DevEx drives business performance through increased efficiency, product quality, and employee retention. A 2020 McKinsey study found that companies with better work environments for their developers achieved revenue growth four to five times greater than that of their competitors.13

This paper provides a practical framework for understanding DevEx, and presents a measurement framework that combines feedback from developers with data about the engineering systems they interact with. These two frameworks provide leaders with clear, actionable insights into what to measure and where to focus in order to improve developer productivity.

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The Next Larger Context

Camille Fournier expands on her great book “The Managers Path” with this article about how moving into leadership doesn’t mean handling more challenging technical problems

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Manage your priorities and energy.

Will Larson (Author of “Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track” discusses how to handle your own energy as a leader

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Strategy for Engineering Managers

You might think that being an Engineering Manager (EM) means you only worry about execution, not strategy. Francisco Trindade has an excellent article on what it means to create a strategy as an EM – when it’s important and how to do it.

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