Whose vision are you driving in your tech leadership?

There. Are. So. Many. Opinions. In. Software.

As a tech lead, it often falls to you to set the direction or, at least, resolve a debate. When I was starting out as a tech lead, I had a hard time navigating all the opinions, debates about which turn nasty on Slack. (Ok, this was back in the IRC days.)

For example, one debate I always seemed to lose was trying to minimize as many dependencies as possible. E.g., “Guys. Can we not import yet another Apache Commons library?!?!” (I know I’m dating myself, and, unfortunately, yes they were all guys.) What is it with developers that they don’t want to write code anyway…? (There I go, sparking another debate I’m going to lose.)

There are still so many opinions in software development (and in life), but age and experience taught me that they only way to really do this is to listen more closely to what I believe is the right direction and to be slow to adopt the other opinions. (Not resistant, just cautious.) It helps with step one of my tech leadership framework.

A couple of quotes came across my inbox today illustrating the principle. First from Howard Thurman:

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.

What direction are you getting pulled in? Is the pull from the inside or the outside? Product management that won’t give you time for tech debt? Software engineers who don’t want to participate in code reviews? Design decisions you regret?

Maybe Warren Buffett’s quote will have more traction than Thurman’s:

The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard. I always pose it this way, I say: “Lookit. Would you rather be the world’s greatest lover, but have everyone think you’re the world’s worst lover? Or would you rather be the world’s worst lover but have everyone think you’re the world’s greatest lover? Now that is an interesting question.”

So what choice would you make? What choices are you making?

Photo by Richard Nolan on Unsplash

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