./mickey.sh --blog

Tech Lead Anti-patterns


Sometime ago I watched a talk on People First Engineering Management @ Monzo. It’s full of really interesting and insightful content but my biggest takeaway was the following the tech lead anti-patterns.

Let’s use Monzo’s definition of a Tech lead first:

  • A fairly experienced engineer
  • Who is still working as an individual contributor and writing code.
  • And wears a hat 👒 (this is not a role or a progression level)

They are expected to:

  • Pair with the product manager on the squad’s success
  • Provide technical context and direction
  • Enable and empower other engineers
  • Foster effective collaboration
  • Won’t necessarily be a tech lead forever

Now that we have this in mind here are the anti-patterns:

  • The Faux PM 👩🏻‍🏫
    • Tries to get involved by prioritising the backlog
    • Doing their own research
    • Writing their own tickets (team’s tickets)
    • Finding features on their own
  • The Dictator 👮🏻‍♂️
    • This is where they define the scope of the project and hand it off to somebody else
    • Over specifying and not doing any implementation themselves
    • Only ever doing the most interesting work
  • The Martyr 🧝🏻‍♀️
    • Tries to do everything, all the small and boring tasks
    • Working late, trying to save the day, so no one else has to
    • Not knowing when to delegate
  • The Over-Empathiser 👩🏽‍⚕️
    • Not giving constructive feedback
    • Not holding people to account
    • Fixing other people’s code themselves