Development Team Leadership : First Steps Part 4

Push Yourself

Don’t be afraid to tackle situations that will push you out of your comfort zone, you’ll always be better for it.  If you’re :

  • nervous about a presentation, do it;
  • putting off an awkward conversation, have it;
  • unfamiliar with a technology, learn it.

…you get the picture.

There are of course limits, be sensible.  Start small, Rome wasn’t built in a day and so on, but each time you tackle something new your horizon has expanded slightly, you’ll be unstoppable.  Have confidence.

Team Lead is whatever Team needs to be

I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be
I’m whatever Gotham needs me to be

Batman reference aside (I couldn’t help myself), sometimes you may need to fill holes and bridge gaps in your team’s arsenal.

Chances are you’ll have been around a while and have a pretty solid grasp of your environment, both technically and otherwise.

From time to time you might need to :

  • be the dev-ops guy and write the build scripts;
  • do a bit of testing;
  • stand in as a Scrum Master and run a sprint planning meeting.

This is a good thing, as above, push yourself.  Knowing a little about a lot may not be desirable if that’s the only knowledge you have, but in conjunction with everything else you have going on day-to-day and the in depth understanding you’ll have picked up, it’s certainly a useful capability in terms of dealing with holidays and sickness in the team and expanding your own skill set.  Don’t be afraid to jump in head first should the need arise.

I'm Batman
I’m Batman

(OK, I’m done with the Batman analogy).

Personal Time Management

It’s very easy to get consumed by helping others out and being too involved in your surroundings.  There’s a very fine line and while I advocate being nosy, try to set time aside to keep yourself on track.

There will be sensible times to do this, (i.e. don’t start filling in your performance plan the day before a deliverable!).  Take advantage of this time, you’ll want to (and probably be expected to) be ahead of the curve and you can only fulfil that if you are taking time out to read books, blogs, listen to podcasts and maybe watch videos on Pluralsight, or YouTube.

You’ll have heard of the work/life balance, you should also be thinking about team/self balance, if you burn out, your team will follow.

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