Andrew Lau – Jellyfish Co-Founder, CEO, and former engineering leader – has spoken of the value of engineering leadership communities and other resources that help leaders navigate the challenges of today. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be shared about how to lead engineering teams through the times we live in. At Jellyfish, we wanted to provide an opportunity for technical leaders to connect with one another, share ideas, and build relationships with like-minded peers. This is why we started our own virtual engineering leadership summit, GLOW.
As we look ahead to GLOW 2023, taking place May 16th – 17th, let’s look back at some of the sessions that made GLOW 2022 so special. Many of the lessons from these sessions are still applicable today, especially when applied during this uncertain economic environment. All of these sessions referenced within this post can be found within our resource center.
A single source of data breeds trust
The question of what teams should be prioritizing has never been more important than it is right now. With fewer resources at a team’s disposal, trade-off discussions are happening all the time. Setting the right priorities could be the difference in a company’s survival, and it means that discussions about priorities among leadership peers need to be productive.
Charlcye Mitchell, former Director of Engineering at Auvik Networks, turned to Allocation as a source of truth regarding engineering prioritization. The Auvik engineering team needed to focus on building a new platform that would become the baseline for Auvik’s business. They needed an objective way to measure the focus toward that common agreed-upon goal. Measuring Allocation enabled their teams to be able to show the work allocation across initiatives. It was invaluable data that allowed Charlcye to visually show the level of focus across the team toward the current vision. With this information, it was possible to have much more effective discussions about the trade-offs that needed to be made in order to focus on top priorities.
You can watch the presentation here where she discusses the team’s overall approach to engineering metrics.
Your data-driven strategy must be balanced
We get asked these questions all the time: “What metrics should we be looking at?” “What KPIs are worth measuring?” At GLOW 2022, we dove into the topic of engineering metrics, the common pitfalls of teams introducing metrics to engineering teams, and what constitutes a solid metrics strategy.
The Illuminate Award-winning team at Hootsuite sat down with Milan Thakker to show customers what they measure and the results they’ve seen in 2021-2022 measuring DORA and sprint completion metrics. They chose their metrics based on the idea that they wanted to ensure that they didn’t incentivize one behavior to the detriment of another. In other words, the most effective engineering metrics strategy in the long term is a balanced one. You cannot incentivize one or two metric types without negatively impacting others. The art of engineering leadership lies in understanding when it’s appropriate to lean into one area for specific outcomes (i.e. moving fast but building up tech debt vs paying it off to ensure a scalable future).
The full presentation can be rewatched here, and it’s a masterclass on measuring what matters most to the business. This also inspired one of our most referenced blog posts, which we still use today in conversations with engineering leaders.
Going from engineering manager to leader
At last year’s GLOW, we assembled a panel of SVPs of Engineering to share their perspectives on their careers in engineering. We asked them to discuss their perspective on becoming the most senior engineering leader, and what’s expected of them by their teams, the business, and others.
They agreed on the following three changes that occur once you become the most senior engineering leader:
- The team you’re responsible for becomes much larger than engineering. Your role becomes aligning the engineering organization to the broader needs of the business.
- You need people around you that can do the job better than you.
- How you measure success drastically changes. More scope does not mean more metrics. The reverse is true; you need to simplify things and get buy-in on only few metrics that matter.
The full presentation can be rewatched here, and it’s lessons are still applicable today, even in a very different economic climate.
We’re excited to bring more insightful sessions like the ones we highlighted above at this year’s GLOW virtual summit. It’s happening on May 16 – 17, 2023 and the event theme will be: “Maximize Engineering Impact.” You can expect distinguished leaders of software and finance teams to share their experiences on how to not only maximize the impact of our engineering teams, but also better articulate this impact to relevant stakeholders.
There will be two tracks full of content led by your peers. Here’s a sneak peak at just some of the different sessions:
- CTOs discussing how to increase alignment across the business
- First look at our future product roadmap
- Panel of directors on how to manage a healthy and productive team
The full agenda will be launched on April 12, 2023, so stay tuned for more exciting announcements soon.
Register today at https://www.jellyfishglowsummit.com/ and we look forward to seeing you there.