Wondering Wanderer

Week Notes Vol 200

March 05, 2023

I’ve been thinking a lot about a book I finished a few weeks ago - Engineering Management for the Rest of Us by Sarah Drasner. It was published last year, written during Covid and highlights many principles I believe in.

If we constantly work on tasks without taking the time to think bigger, we risk being tactical rather than strategic. We can end up working in a silo, which can lead to burnout and anxiety. We risk opportunities to spot errors early and to reduce technical debt.

Treat all feedback exchanges, as much as possible, as though they are a partnership. You are not coming down from a mountaintop of perfection to give advice; rather you’re two people working together toward shared goals, and feedback is part of making that partnership healthy and productive.

And perhaps most importantly:

Be accountable. Your new concepts and vision might come under fire. Some things may fail. No innovation comes without some failures. When this happens, you need to be accountable. You can’t blame the team. You can’t blame the process. You have to own the situation, and you have to acknowledge that as the leader you are accountable. The quickest way to lose trust is to send a team out on a journey and not back them up when the going gets tough. If they don’t succeed, that’s on you. Have their backs.


Katrin Valdre

Written by Katrin Valdre who has a permanent address in Portland, OR but does not believe in one physical location. You should follow her on Twitter