Becoming a team lead: a survival guide

Jun 14, 2018 • 26 minute read

This post is a transposition of my Fluent talk Becoming a team lead: a survival guide. It’s been edited to better fit a blog post format. If you prefer to see the original format, you can watch the video (30 minutes + Q&A) or view the slides with speaker notes.

A survival guide is a strange thing to call this post, since survival guides are usually very serious books that prepare you for extreme situations. Building shelter in the wilderness, foraging for food, avoiding being eaten by bears - that sort of thing. I’m never sure when is the right time to read a survival guide, since being lost in the wilderness or being hunted by bears is not something you really plan for. If you read the survival guide too early, you forget most of it. If you read it too late, it’s no use.

Anyway, the reason this is a survival guide is because after spending my entire career as a software engineer, I was thrown into a team lead role without much warning. I had no idea what I was doing and had very little support. This is the survival guide I wish I had. It documents my experiences as an inexperienced team lead –as an engineer transitioning to a team lead– and my learnings & mistakes along the way. Hopefully this can act as a survival guide for you, too.

This is a fairly long guide, so I’ve split it into sections. Feel free to skip sections that aren’t relevant to you.

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