One of his main points is that a tech lead should always know exactly what everyone is doing on a daily basis.
Whenever I’ve allowed the details of a project to escape me, I’ve failed. […] And I can tell you, whenever the details of a project have slipped from my grasp, the project has started to drift into trouble.
I’ve been the tech lead on many projects over the last 6 years or so but I’ve always stopped short of asking people what they are doing on a daily basis.
It has always struck me as a form of “micro-managing”, which is something that I’ve hated when I’ve been on the receiving end of it.
I should clarify though; I always know who is working in what area on a day to day basis (Jim is working on the email module for these two weeks), but I don’t necessarily know what specific task they are trying to achieve on a particular day (I don’t know if Jim is writing display code today, or back-end logic).
However, after reflecting on how this has worked on my projects, I have to conclude that my approach was wrong.
I should know what people are doing – I just need to find a balance between knowing what they are doing and getting on their nerves.
Clearly a balance can be found.
I make no apologies for now insisting on knowing exactly who, what, where, when, and why. There’s a big difference between being asked to explain your work in detail and being told how to do your job.
I’m not sure of the best way to handle getting to that level of detail though.
Daily meetings where everyone reports progress?
I find these to be a bit of a waste of time (especially in large teams) where you talk for 2 minutes then sit and listen to everyone else for 20 minutes.
Walking around and sitting down next to each person in turn (sort of like a Doctor doing his rounds)?
This is better for the team as they are only interrupted when I am talking to them.
I’ve done this before but never in a “tell me what code you are writing now” way.
I still think this might annoy me if I was on the receiving end of this.
What about other tech lead people reading this, what works for you?
Or, if you’re on the receiving end of this, where exactly does that all-important line sit?