61 episodes

Great technical leadership requires more than just great coding skills. It requires a variety of other skills that are not well-defined, and they are not something that we can fully learn in any school or book. Hear from experienced technical leaders sharing their journey and philosophy for building great technical teams and achieving technical excellence. Find out what makes them great and how to apply those lessons to your work and team.

Tech Lead Journal Henry Suryawirawan

    • Technology
    • 4.4 • 5 Ratings

Great technical leadership requires more than just great coding skills. It requires a variety of other skills that are not well-defined, and they are not something that we can fully learn in any school or book. Hear from experienced technical leaders sharing their journey and philosophy for building great technical teams and achieving technical excellence. Find out what makes them great and how to apply those lessons to your work and team.

    #60 - Software Tradeoffs and How to Make Good Programming Decisions - Tomasz Lelek

    #60 - Software Tradeoffs and How to Make Good Programming Decisions - Tomasz Lelek

    “Software engineering involves a lot of decisions, and that decision has some trade-offs. We have pros and cons. It’s not like one decision is always better than the other."

    Tomasz Lelek is the author of “Software Mistakes and Tradeoffs”. In this episode, Tomasz shared what led him to write his book and one of the past software mistakes from his career experience. He also gave advice on how software developers should approach the potential software mistakes and explained some typical trade-offs when making software engineering design decisions, such as code duplication vs flexibility, premature optimization vs optimizing hot-path, data locality and memory, and finally delivery semantics in distributed systems.

    Listen out for:


    Career Journey - [00:05:00]
    Why Write about Software Mistakes and Trade-offs - [00:07:42]
    Software Mistake Experience - [00:10:16]
    Tips for Software Developers - [00:13:08]
    Trade-off 1: Code Duplication vs Flexibility - [00:15:24]
    Trade-off 2: Premature Optimization vs Optimizing Hot-Path - [00:20:08]
    Trade-off 3: Data Locality and Memory - [00:25:02]
    Trade-off 4: Delivery Semantics in Distributed Systems - [00:33:01]
    3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:40:28]

    _____

    Tomasz Lelek’s Bio
    Tomasz currently works at Datastax, building products around one of the world’s favorite distributed databases - Cassandra. He contributes to Java-Driver, Cassandra-Quarkus, Cassandra-Kafka connector, and Stargate. He previously worked at Allegro, an e-commerce website in Poland, working on streaming, batch, and online systems serving millions of users. He is also a published author of “Software Mistakes and Tradeoffs: Making good programming decisions” that is focusing on real-world problems you may encounter in your production systems.

    Follow Tomasz:


    LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomaszlelek/
    Twitter – @tomekl007
    GitHub – https://github.com/tomekl007



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    • 44 min
    #59 - DevOps Solutions to Operations Anti-Patterns - Jeffery Smith

    #59 - DevOps Solutions to Operations Anti-Patterns - Jeffery Smith

    “DevOps is about creating a collaborative environment between the development team and the operations team, and aligning goals and incentives between those two teams. Because so many of the problems that we encounter in life, not just even in technology, are due to misalignment of goals."

    Jeffery Smith is the author of “Operations Anti-Patterns, DevOps Solutions” and the Director of Production Operations at Centro. In this episode, Jeffery described DevOps essentials and emphasized what DevOps is not. He also explained about CAMS, a framework that outlines the core components required for successful DevOps transformation. We then discussed three anti-patterns taken from his book: paternalist syndrome, alert fatigue, and wasting perfectly good incident; and he explained how to recognize those anti-patterns in order to avoid them on our DevOps journey. Finally, Jeffery also talked about postmortem and shared tips on how to cultivate a good postmortem culture.

    Listen out for:


    Career Journey - [00:04:47]
    DevOps - [00:09:13]
    CAMS - [00:12:42]
    Why DevOps Anti-Patterns - [00:16:48]
    Anti-Pattern 1: Paternalist Syndrome - [00:19:55]
    Anti-Pattern 2: Alert Fatigue - [00:27:20]
    Anti-Pattern 3: Wasting a Perfectly Good Incident - [00:34:33]
    Postmortem - [00:39:59]
    4 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:45:57]

    _____

    Jeffery Smith’s Bio
    Jeffery Smith has been in the technology industry for over 15 years, oscillating between management and individual contributor. Jeff currently serves as the Director of Production Operations for Centro, a media services and technology company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Before that he served as the Manager of Site Reliability Engineering at Grubhub.

    Jeff is passionate about DevOps transformations in organizations large and small, with a particular interest in the psychological aspects of problems in companies. He lives in Chicago with his wife Stephanie and their two kids Ella and Xander.

    Follow Jeffery:


    Website – https://attainabledevops.com/
    Twitter – @DarkAndNerdy
    LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffery-smith-devops



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    • 52 min
    #58 - Principles for Writing Valuable Unit Tests - Vladimir Khorikov

    #58 - Principles for Writing Valuable Unit Tests - Vladimir Khorikov

    “The main goal of unit testing is to enable sustainable growth of your software project that enables you to move faster with a more quality code base."

    Vladimir Khorikov is the author of “Unit Testing: Principles, Practices, and Patterns” and the founder of Enterprise Craftsmanship blog. In this episode, we discussed in-depth about unit testing. Vladimir broke down the four pillars of unit testing and the anatomy of a good unit test, as well as mentioned a couple of common unit testing anti-patterns. We also discussed topics such as test-driven development, code coverage and other unit testing metrics, test mocks and how to use it properly, and how to be pragmatic when writing unit tests.

    Listen out for:


    Career Journey - [00:05:32]
    Unit Testing - [00:08:20]
    The Goal of Unit Testing - [00:11:34]
    Test-Driven Development - [00:12:55]
    Code Coverage & Other Successful Metrics - [00:17:35]
    Pragmatic Unit Tests - [00:21:04]
    4 Pillars of Unit Testing - [00:23:40]
    Anatomy of a Good Unit Test - [00:34:01]
    Test Mocks - [00:38:16]
    Unit Testing Anti-Patterns - [00:47:05]
    Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:49:56]

    _____

    Vladimir Khorikov’s Bio
    Vladimir Khorikov is the author of the book “Unit Testing: Principles, Practices, and Patterns”. He has been professionally involved in software development for over 15 years, including mentoring teams on the ins and outs of unit testing. He’s also the founder of the Enterprise Craftsmanship blog, where he reaches 500 thousand software developers yearly.

    Follow Vladimir:


    LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/vladimir-khorikov-bb482653
    Twitter – https://twitter.com/vkhorikov
    Enterprise Craftsmanship – https://enterprisecraftsmanship.com/
    Pluralsight – https://app.pluralsight.com/profile/author/vladimir-khorikov



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    Check out all the cool swags by visiting https://techleadjournal.dev/shop.



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    For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/58.

    • 53 min
    #57 - Observing Your Production Systems and Yourself - Jamie Riedesel

    #57 - Observing Your Production Systems and Yourself - Jamie Riedesel

    “Software telemetry is what you use to figure out what your production systems are doing. It’s all about shortening that feedback loop between the user experience and the engineers who are writing the user experience."

    Jamie Riedesel is a Staff Engineer at Dropbox working on the HelloSign product and also the author of “Software Telemetry”. In this episode, Jamie shared an overview of software telemetry and explained why it is important for us to understand how our production systems are behaving by using those telemetry data. She also explained different software telemetry types, concepts such as observability and cardinality, and shared some software telemetry best practices.

    In the second part of our conversation, Jamie opened up and shared her own personal experience dealing with toxic work environments. She emphasized the importance of self-awareness and psychological safety, as well as went through the five key dynamics to a successful team based on Google’s re:Work blog post.

    Listen out for:


    Career Journey - [00:05:15]
    Software Telemetry - [00:07:22]
    Knowing Your Production System - [00:12:13]
    Types of Software Telemetry - [00:16:45]
    High Cardinality - [00:22:34]
    Observability & Buzzwords - [00:27:08]
    In-House vs. SaaS - [00:30:04]
    Some Telemetry Best Practices - [00:32:35]
    Toxic Workplace - [00:38:45]
    Identifying Your Toxicity - [00:44:18]
    Psychological Safety - [00:49:02]
    Identifying a Person’s Baggage - [00:53:52]
    Who is On The Team Matters Less - [00:58:09]
    3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [01:01:49]

    _____

    Jamie Riedesel’s Bio
    Jamie Riedesel has over twenty years of experience in the tech industry, and has spent her time as a System Administrator, Systems Engineer, DevOps Engineer, and Platform Engineer. She is currently a Staff Engineer at Dropbox, working on their HelloSign product. Jamie’s blog at sysadmin1138.net has been there since 2004 and survived the apocalypse of Google Reader shutting down. Jamie is the author of “Software Telemetry” through Manning Publications, and also has a deep interest in reforming team cultures to be less toxic.

    Follow Jamie:


    Blog – https://sysadmin1138.net/mt/blog/
    Twitter – https://twitter.com/sysadm1138
    LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamie-riedesel-983773b



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    • 1 hr 6 min
    #56 - Refactoring–The Discipline for Writing Good Code - Christian Clausen

    #56 - Refactoring–The Discipline for Writing Good Code - Christian Clausen

    “Good code should be resilient to bugs. It should make it easier to do the changes that you want to the system. Some refactoring could make it harder to make changes. So, if you guess wrongly the direction of the software, then it can have a negative effect."

    Christian Clausen is a Technical Agile Coach specializing in teaching teams on how to refactor their code properly. He is also the author of “Five Lines of Code”. In this episode, Christian explained in-depth about refactoring, when and how we should do refactoring, the components, workflow, and pillars of refactoring. Christian also shared about a few important architectural refactoring, such as composition over inheritance and changing by addition instead of modification. Finally, Christian also shared a few tips for writing quality software, such as the five lines of code rule, the habit of deleting code, and avoiding optimization and generality.

    Listen out for:


    Career Journey - [00:04:20]
    Refactoring & Good Code - [00:06:58]
    Refactoring & Testing - [00:10:07]
    Components of Refactoring - [00:14:36]
    Advice to Start Refactoring - [00:16:17]
    Refactoring Workflow - [00:18:21]
    Pillars of Refactoring - [00:22:07]
    Five Lines of Code - [00:25:51]
    Composition Over Inheritance - [00:30:00]
    Changing by Addition Instead of Modification - [00:34:12]
    Love Deleting Code - [00:37:01]
    Avoid Optimizations and Generality - [00:39:38]
    Favorite Refactoring Strategies - [00:43:28]
    3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:45:17]

    _____

    Christian Clausen’s Bio
    Christian Clausen works as a Technical Agile Coach teaching teams how to properly refactor their code. He has previously worked as a software engineer on the Coccinelle semantic patching project, an automated refactoring tool. He holds an MSc degree in Computer Science and has taught software quality at a university level for five years.

    Follow Christian:


    Twitter – https://twitter.com/thedrlambda
    GitHub – https://github.com/thedrlambda
    Medium – https://thedrlambda.medium.com/



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    Check out all the cool swags by visiting https://techleadjournal.dev/shop.



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    For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/56.

    • 50 min
    #55 - It's Time to Own Your Tech Career - Don Jones

    #55 - It's Time to Own Your Tech Career - Don Jones

    “Decide where it is you’re going and what kind of career you need to live the life you want and aim for that really deliberately. Because if you don’t know where you’re going, then you never will get there."

    Don Jones is the author of “Own Your Tech Career” and the VP of Developer Skills at Pluralsight. In this episode, Don explained why it is important for us to understand the career we want and aim to build that career deliberately, instead of keep chasing promotion and more money continuously, and thus winding up in a rat race. He emphasized a few important things as part of owning our career, such as the importance of soft skills, showing yourself as a professional, building a personal brand, and being a better decision-maker. Do not miss a couple of showing up as professional tips that Don adopted from Disney!

    Listen out for:


    Career Journey - [00:05:52]
    Owning Our Tech Career - [00:07:11]
    On Money - [00:11:18]
    Importance of Soft Skills - [00:13:24]
    Showcasing Strong Profile - [00:16:28]
    Showing as Professional: Be Your Word - [00:20:14]
    Be Detailed and Precise - [00:23:15]
    Cut Your Losses When The Time is Right - [00:25:21]
    Let Blue Sky Mode Happen - [00:29:28]
    Draw a Yellow Line - [00:31:38]
    Building a Personal Brand - [00:34:45]
    What to Contribute and Finding Time - [00:40:24]
    RAPID Decision Making - [00:43:46]
    Deciding What’s Enough - [00:45:29]
    Deciding What to Believe - [00:47:55]
    3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:51:23]

    _____

    Don Jones’s Bio
    Don Jones has been in the IT industry since the mid-1990s, and has worked in roles ranging from software developer to network engineer. He’s most well-known for his work with Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell, and he’s written literally dozens of books on other IT topics. Today, much of Don’s focus is on helping technology professionals become owners of their careers, through books like How to Own Your Tech Career and projects like his Ampere.Club website. You can view Don’s full bibliography at DonJones.com.

    Follow Don:


    Website – https://donjones.com/
    LinkedIn – https://linkedin.com/in/concentrateddon/
    Twitter – https://twitter.com/concentrateddon
    Ampere Club – https://ampere.club



    Our Sponsor

    This episode is proudly sponsored by Emergence, the journal of business agility. This quarterly publication brings you inspiring stories from the most innovative companies and explores themes of new ways of working, reclaiming management, and humanizing business. Each issue is hand illustrated and 100% content. Use the promo code “techlead” to get a 10% discount on your annual subscription. Visit businessagility.institute/emergence to get your edition and support the publication supporting your podcast.



    Like this episode?
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    For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/55.

    • 55 min

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