Technical Leadership

Technical Leadership

This is the second book by Giulianna Carullo that I have read. I read her book on Code Reviews last year. This book on technical leadership is also quite good. I will say that her sense of humor does not show up as well in this book. It is a little more serious, even though it is a short read at only 100 pages.

The book is about what it takes to be a tech lead on a project. A lot of it is just general leadership ideas. There are no real new ideas on that front, just taking them and applying them to the idea of being a technical leader. There were 2 points that I found interesting.

The first thing I found interesting was a Venn diagram in one of the early chapters.It showed the various aspects of being a technical leader:

  • People Management
  • Project Management
  • Technical Skills.
my colorful version of the Venn diagram on page 25

After I little introspection, I realized that technical skills are really my strong suit. I’m really good at making LabVIEW do what I want it to do and I’ve got pretty solid design skills. I feel like I have more people skills than the average engineer. I certainly have some room to grow there , but I think I am doing all right in the people management category. Project Management Skills are probably my weakness. I can be very organized when I want to be but it is a struggle and certainly not my default state. I thought the Venn Diagram was insightful just to help get an idea of where my strengths and weaknesses are.

The other interesting part was in the section where she talks about managing your brand and reputation. She has a quote from Seth Godin about a brand being “a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships.” I found that interesting. My business coach, Nate, is always talking about how business only exists in language. It’s not a physical thing. You can’t point to your business or touch it. It exists in the conversations that you and others have about it.

Overall it is a good book. Nothing earth shattering. If you have been studying leadership you have likely heard much of the advice before, but it’s always interesting to get a slightly different take on it. Giuliana does a good job of showing how the principles apply specifically to a tech lead.