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Jayme Edwards πŸƒπŸ’»
Jayme Edwards πŸƒπŸ’»

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Lead Software Developers Better By Letting Go!

Over the years I've had to lead many software developers, and it's become much easier since letting go of being seen as "the expert".

Even if I’m only leading a few people, there’s always too much work and I have to choose really carefully what I do.

If you’ve watched any of my other videos you know I’m a big fan of teams where there’s less management.

But whether someone is officially recognized as a β€œlead developer” or not, most teams usually have people on them who are more experienced.

And people naturally seem to take ownership for areas of the product they’re most interested in.

Soon they can start being seen as a leader around that area or idea.

Maybe that’s you, or maybe you’re considering stepping into a role where you’ll be leading developers to do something with the software.

In my career I’ve found it’s really easy to get overwhelmed when I’m leading other developers.

Meeting with the business, supporting developers, and still trying to get work done on the product myself can feel impossible.

You’ve probably heard the saying β€œgive someone a fish, feed them for a day - but teach someone to fish and feed them for a lifetime”.

But even though I know this, it can be hard to let other developers do more to help if it’s going to take longer than just doing it myself.

In this video, I share how I’ve had more time to support my team when I encourage other developers to have more responsibility, and you can too.

Visit my site to watch the full video (or listen as a podcast):

πŸ“Ί Watch or 🎧 Listen

Skip to points in the video:

01:47 How Leads Get Overwhelmed
04:18 You Can't "Know It All"
05:19 Clarify Your Role As Team Helper
06:30 Delegate Research
07:39 Delegate Information Requests
07:39 Be Forgiving Of Mistakes


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Top comments (6)

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pmbanugo profile image
Peter Mbanugo

I like the perspective. I've had a situation where I had to manage two teams and the business was expecting me to oversee work done by the two teams and also participate in building a different product from what my teams were working on. It was hard to manage these expectations (having time with my team and churning out code for the other product). I think you've shed some light on how I can best approach it in case of a next time.

Thanks!

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jaymeedwards profile image
Jayme Edwards πŸƒπŸ’»

Happy to help, thanks for the feedback!

I think you’re taking a great approach.

I’m learning to take a step back to figure out how much of my time the business is going to need, and dialing back the amount of coding I personally do appropriately.

I used to expect the business to give me enough time - now I try to take more responsibility to set expectations with everyone for how much I can do myself.

It takes courage, but when done right it lets me work at a sustainable pace where I let people down less by helping the team keep ideas flowing.

YMMV

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jaymeedwards profile image
Jayme Edwards πŸƒπŸ’»

Really good point. This strategy certainly doesn’t work in all situations.

I hope some of these ideas can be considered potentially helpful options in the toolbox for leaders if they start feeling overwhelmed.

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perttisoomann profile image
Pert Soomann

Hm, yeah pretty interesting how "lead" or "senior" usually translates to "same, but a lot more" instead of "a bit same, but mainly unlocking other devs potential"

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jaymeedwards profile image
Jayme Edwards πŸƒπŸ’»

Yeah it definitely depends on how a company defines the role. I guess in my experience, how the company defines it doesn't necessarily translate to being successful!

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