A cool team lead will be responsible for the service.

    Who is a tmilid in Yandex? What makes a good difference from a bad one and whether it is worth inviting a person from this position in our interview with Alexei Shagraev ( ashagraev ), who occupies one of the leading positions in Yandex search services.

    - What are you doing and how do you relate to timlid?

    I manage one of the search services development in Yandex - freshly social ranking service. She is engaged in various projects related to news search, interactive elements on the issue, search hints and so on. In other words, I provide management of several search services.

    As for timblids, I myself have never been to them, immediately began to lead the service. But currently, I have about 50 people in total in the group, of which seven are timlides of different specializations: frontend and backend developers, designers, managers, analysts.

    - What role tmlidy play in Yandex?

    As in other companies, we have different Timlides. Accordingly, in various units they play some of their roles. But I will tell you about the one I like the most.

    From my point of view, a good strong team leader is a person who is responsible for the entire service. He is in charge of the processes of development, planning, distribution of tasks, hiring - that is, activities associated with the management of the team. At the same time, this is a person who is in charge of the product development of the service: the choice of good and bad metrics, analytics, development of the service, as well as interaction with accessory companies.

    - To combine all this, do you need any specific qualities? Which ones are more important?

    Yes, it must be cool guys.

    I believe that the most important thing here is the ability for self-reflection. It’s not so much that you can do right now how much how quickly you learn and correct mistakes.

    Another very important feature - to be able not to be upset. When you have a fairly large farm under management, you often feel all sorts of pain: it did not work, you forgot, you scolded, something exploded, and you missed it. This is all terribly upsetting. Many can not feel comfortable in the role of Timlid exactly because they are too upset. This leads to their depression, deprives the ability to do anything. Therefore, it is important to be sustainable.

    If we talk about more specific skills, then, of course, tmlids (and candidates for this position) should, on the one hand, be good at decomposition and delegation, and on the other hand, they should have developed communication skills. Because in any situation there are people who can prompt something, throw new ideas, criticize something, etc. And you need to very well manage these opportunities. Well, with the subcontractors, of course, also communicate.

    - Is Timlid a natural development path for a developer?

    This is one of the possible ways to develop a developer. But there are others.

    - What qualities do not have enough candidates who claim to be the role of the team leader?

    In my experience, they have problems in order to realize which decisions they can take and which they don’t. Many good developers think in terms of tasks: they set tasks for me, I solve them, and I do it well, for which I need to be assessed.

    They lack thinking in the spirit: “I am part of the service, I think about how it should evolve and what problems it has, what happens with users”: such a specific relationship to the service and to myself as part of it. Since they are not trying to go beyond their vision, they have to somehow push them in this direction.

    In addition, there are all sorts of technical stuff. I already mentioned an example: the ability to decompose a task and not get lost, that is, not to replace the final goal with the first point of your plan and assign tasks to the right people: so that they can cope with them and at the same time grow.

    - With such a large-scale view of the problem, does the team leaders not conflict with the product owner's role?

    I think not. The service manager (team leader) and product owner are still different roles. Even if in a team both of them exist in the form of separate people, they conflict extremely weakly. Moreover, the very existence of the product owner does not mean that everyone else needs to wrest brains and not think. It's great when the whole team thinks about the product and helps the product owner to solve his problem well.

    Speaking from the position of the service manager, the product owner is a person who helps him to move the service both tactically and strategically. But the manager must have his own strategic vision of how the service should develop in the future. He gets this vision either through work with the product owner or through interaction with the team. The path is not so important, the main thing is that the vision is still (and it is the head of the service).

    - In Yandex, is a tmlid a management or engineering position?

    This is a balance. But in my picture of the world it is less technical. Because in the team there can be a role of technical support along with team lid. And technid can very seriously participate in making technical decisions. The skills that a team leader needs, such as hiring, evaluating employees, developing strategies, starting a team, and so on, very often do not correlate with the technical skills required by the technical team. Therefore, in my opinion, a team leader is more about managing the team and service, and less so. degrees about technical skills.

    - In Yandex, there are teams, where the roles of team leader, technical leader and product owner are distributed between different people?

    Yes, of course, there is. It is clear that there are also conditionally infrastructural teams, where everything is generally differently arranged. I tell you more about product development, which I do myself.

    - Is there something besides managing people that the team leaders need to know?

    Timlid is the same job as any other. In different situations, services and teams, it is associated with the solution of different tasks. There are many graduations of tmlids - from conventionally super-technical-skills, which make all the decisions, to a manager who steers people rather than technologies. In all this variety of directions, you can be a tmlid no matter what specific vocation you have.

    Timlid in any case will not be able to be able to do everything that needs to be able to be Timlid. He will have to look for an assistant in the team, and maybe outside, for example, in the person of his leader.

    And in the team, as I said, it may well be a very strong technical person who helps in the development of complex solutions. It is more likely that the team leader needs him to move this whole colossus — the team with its projects — ideologically in the right direction. It often happens that the person who has been developing it for a long time becomes the team leader and the service manager, so he is well versed in it. But this is not a prerequisite for success.

    In general, all that is needed is to figure out how your personal skills fall on what kind of team is here and now and what needs are. It is necessary to understand that from this you take upon yourself, and what you give to the team, on the basis of which you and the team have some kind of mutual affection and how do you balance your disadvantages with the advantages of the team. If you do it, you can be a team leader no matter what skills you have in management or in the technical field.

    - Can a team leader come to the team from the side? And what is important for tmlid, where should I start?

    Just a couple of months ago, I had such a castling. We invited a person from another team to become a team leader in one of my teams, which for its own reasons lost it. I decided that it was a better way than to take someone from the inside.

    At this stage it is important for the future team leader to be remembered as a candidate when such a vacancy opens.

    Well, if we talk about skills, then tmlid needs to be ready to quickly switch, join the team, make friends with everyone and understand what kind of product or service is being created there. It will be necessary to quickly understand what this team lacks right now, why it is not happy, how to make all these people more awesome, what low-hanging fruits are right now that can be victoriously picked and immediately make the service much better in order to personally , as in the Timlid, everyone believed.

    Further, using all available means of obtaining knowledge - the old team leader, the new chief, the old team, some of their own research, etc. - you need to collect some strategic development plan.

    In other words, to come to a third-party team, you must be to some extent known, to have some kind of track record. It is better to complete your projects to the end, so that the people know that you have achieved a lot in these projects and they happened precisely because of you. And you need to be super-open so that in a difficult situation, when you are being considered for the position of the Timlid, you can quickly prove to everyone that you can - quickly sink, learn, get to know everyone, etc. That is, it requires maximum openness and energy costs.

    - How do you see the meaning of visiting TeamLead Conf?

    It seems to me that there are several meanings in attending conferences for tmlids and developers.

    First, you understand that not one. Around a lot of the same people, or at least like you. They are sitting nearby, talking about something. It's just cool. You feel that the community really exists. In itself, this feeling is very useful.

    Secondly, the exchange of experience is important. It’s harmful for a manager or a developer to hang out in only one team, to know only how this team works or worked is to stew in its own juice. It is useful to exchange thoughts. The conference is also a way to share ideas with speakers that allow you to achieve something more in life.

    Finally, it's just networking - a way to meet some cool guys who can be useful in different ways. You can communicate with them, they can offer some work or other cool activities. This is useful because it broadens the mind and range of possibilities.

    - What are you going to talk about at the September conference?

    In my life there were a few people whom I raised as tmlids, and then they went on promotion to various divisions of our large company and even beyond its limits. For example, I had a developer who, under my leadership, from Junior became a team leader, and then left the head of the service in another division of Yandex. That is, I went through this path several times with different people, and I went through it with myself. On the other hand, there were also guys who did not pass this path: they ended up somewhere in the middle and do not develop further. And, as it seems to me, I know a certain number of things that distinguish the first from the second. This is what I will try to tell you. so that it is as useful as possible, so that different people can take this knowledge into service, and their careers become more mobile (especially if they have a problem with this).

    Study other reports about timblides and timlids in the schedule of the conference Saint TeamLead Conf.

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