TeamLead Conf review: 2 days, 2 tracks, 25 reports, 474 participants, the sore pain is immeasurable



    Let's start the story about team leaders for team leaders with problems, pains, issues that may arise in large and small IT companies. Indeed, if we cannot formulate tasks, then how will we begin to solve them.

    1. Do I need a team lead?
    2. What is a team leader, what are his tasks?
    3. What first: team or team lead?
    4. Does Timlid need technical skills?
    5. Grow or hire?
    6. How to understand whether it is possible and necessary to grow timber from an engineer?
    7. How long does it take to grow a team lead?
    8. Timlid managerial roles, which role is preferable?
    9. How important are emotional intelligence and social skills?
    10. What to do if the manager himself is a technical specialist and is addicted to micromanagement?
    11. Timlid left for an indefinite time (vacation, sick leave, force majeure), what should I do?
    12. What to do if Timlid leaves for good?
    13. What should be the ratio of management and development in the work of team leader?
    14. Is there a way back (and forward)?
    15. What are the prospects for a team lead?
    16. What can prevent you from becoming a team leader?
    17. What is the difference between team lead and techlide?
    18. How to identify an ineffective team lead at an early stage?
    19. How can a beginner team lead a stream of information?
    20. Need a formal or informal leader?
    21. Junior and Senior team leader, what are the differences and how to keep them in one team?

    Such a stream of requests was given by TeamLead Conf participants to the round table. If you have already encountered some of them, then probably the others can catch you, there is something to think about.

    Under the cut - an overview of the best TeamLead Conf reports with videos and presentations.

    Anatoly Stoyanovsky (PricewaterhouseCoopers), Georgy Mogelashvili (Booking.com) and Roman Pavlushko (Avito), with the help of Alexander Ziz, tried to find as many answers as they could in an hour .



    There is a round table and a round table, which is a kind of improvisation and it does not have a clear structure. But we will nevertheless try to single out the most important thoughts from this discussion.

    Naturally, the very concept of team lead in different companies is usually different. First of all, you need to determine exactly what his goals are in your case . The novel called the two most common types: about competency or about the development process as a whole .

    Timlid of the first type in the case of a religious war about choosing a new technology, having the maximum competence, has the opportunity to insert his own weighty word and send the whole team. In the second case, the goal is time-to-market, that is, the full organization of the process, so that the solution to the problem reaches the user as quickly, efficiently, transparently as possible.

    We seriously discussed the need for a technical background for team lead. George said that this is not necessary at booking.com - a designer, copywriter, QA can become a team lead  and so far it works well. For some time, such a team leader will devote to managerial tasks, and some of his original work. Anatoly objected that engineers would not be able to manipulate a specialist in their subject area, although in general, depending on the specific production process, if such a person is able to perform “interlinear translation” and be responsible for the quality of the work of the entire team, then this is possible.
    The results of the round table were widely discussed in our telegram chat called “Timlid Pain”, now the chat works as an expert team of team leaders. Get connected !
    Roman noted that it could be possible in very mature teams, and that he had never seen a team lead without a strong understanding of at least one of the areas of development that could not have decomposed the whole process in his head, including architecture, timing, quality and etc.

    What soft skills are needed and how to develop them we will discuss in more detail further, but, in short, they are very important.

    On the other hand, according to Anatoly, and the rest agreed with him, the team leader should at least in the long run maintain knowledge of his subject area. It can be coding, some kind of own projects, role changes from time to time and so on, but it is very important. We live in an industry where in a couple of years nothing can be done, you can turn into a specialist, and empty space, and coding is a relatively simple way to still maintain your competence.

    But! The leader should have a goal - not to code , he should try to do everything with the wrong hands. Even such a strong thesis sounded:
    Delegate or die.
    The question of what to do if the supervisor himself is such a strong technical specialist, wants to impose his opinion and a fondness for micromanagement, as a whole led to such an unexpected statement by Roman:
    World management is bad, microservices are good.
    Our experts did not give specific mechanisms for identifying team lead. Basically, we have to hope that there will be a person who will be more actively involved in the process and more actively give feedback, and possibly take on some kind of additional responsibility. Booking.com provides a trial period for such employees to test their abilities and desires.

    Avito had the practice of “team credit” for the most competent specialists who could train the team and who followed as technical leaders. But, unfortunately, there were several cases of very fast burn-out and this was abandoned.

    From this we can conclude for those who would like to grow into a team lead - first do it, then they will see you. That is, you do not have to wait until you are clearly formulated and asked to solve the problem, start to notice them yourself.

    As a result, becoming a team leader, you need to ensure that the team works without you for a suspended month. If they can do more, then the team lead is no longer needed, less - the organization is not yet perfect. The traditional advice to think about who will be your receiver, preferably in two versions at once, was also voiced.

    And then a few reports, with videos, but also with annotations, so that you quickly navigate and see the most relevant for you.

    How to build your professional path


    Maxim Tsepkov presented two reports. Now we will consider the self-determination schemes necessary to successfully build your professional path, and the  presentation of the second can be found on the author’s website. In order not to delve into philosophizing, all reasoning will go in the metaphor of a person who floats in the stream of life and rakes in the process in order to get where he needs to. Moreover, not self-determination, but to calmly swim in the flow in such an interpretation is also self-determination .

    Living in an era of change, the task of self-determination arises quite often, by and large, with each new project. And when something needs to be done regularly, we, of course, strive to automate the process and make it technological. Actually about the schemes that can be used for this and there was a report. This will, of course, be about the professional component and self-determination in a company, which is understood at different levels in different ways: from getting used to and sorting out a new unfamiliar place to realizing common values ​​and starting to do common things together and so on.



    First of all, you need to draw an image of the future , but be sure to imagine yourself doing something and acting in this very beautiful future, otherwise it is someone else's future. This is not easy, but the conference participants were offered at least a try in 90 seconds - try you too . There are a lot of books about what to do with this way, and Maxim offers his vision: how to suspend your created images and follow , and when the world opens up opportunities to take a step there, and they usually open up, interestingly, then go. Such an approach is akin to entrepreneurial vigilance , which is rarely used in the key to self-determination.

    And then comes a much more difficult step in introducingyourself in cooperation with what will surround you , and search for answers to questions: what needs to be done, what you are doing, what you will give to others what is required of you. The diagram from the presentation may help you realize your development, because most likely your profile will not completely coincide with what is required.



    By the way, Maxim perfectly recorded the entire conference on  facebook and made a squeeze on his website. We are very grateful to him for this and want to quote at least the beginning:
    Two days, 09/08/02/2018 was at a new conference by Oleg Bunin for team lead TeamLead Conf. 474 participants, and two tracks of very good reports. A very high level in content, in the preparation of reports, in the layout of the program. I have been to many conferences, I know quite a lot in IT, so the situation where the reports in each slot carry valuable information for me is provocative - a rarity. It was just that. And, I hope, further it will not be worse. Because the path from the developer to team lead is a hot topic. By the way, I don’t specifically write “team leader”, because the modern team leader is not a classic leader. In general, team leaders are very different, primarily because companies are different, they have a very different distribution of responsibilities and responsibilities between employees, and, as a result, team members are very different. And this diversity was fully presented at the conference.

    Improving performance review


    One cannot ignore the report of Yegor Tolstoy on how the performance review is arranged in  Avito , what specific practices are used, what are the results of the analysis of many thousands of assessments received, but not only. Of course, it will not have a universal framework that will suit any company with any structure and tasks. The main value of the story is how gradually, in small steps, based on the collected data and feedback, the performance review process was improved. Indeed, the practice of continuous improvement can be applied not only to people, not only to technology, but to any process, and this is very important.



    There is no reason not to believe Egor that the employee productivity measurement tool is correctly called performance review, and that three parties are interested in its application: the employee, the manager, and the entire company . On this we stop the retelling and let you see the performance.


    By the way, Yegor leads a telegram channel ( https://t.me/leadgr ), which lists the most interesting articles, videos and news related to technical management (promises no more than three materials a day).

    Managing a large distributed team


    In his report, Alexei Kataev from  Skyeng primarily speaks about the peculiarities associated with the fact that employees not only rarely go to the office, or sit in buildings across the road, but also live in different cities. Despite the fact that there was a certain evangelism of remote work in the speech , most of the techniques are quite universal and also effective when working in a single office.

    According to Alexey, the main advantages of organizing a remote team in  communication efficiency (and they often take longer than directly writing code), access to a  large pool of highly qualified developers, and a good opportunity to keep them, because there are not so many offers of remote work. It should be noted that since  87% of Skyeng employees are delighted with this format, there are considerable advantages for developers.


    Let us dwell on some points in more detail. Cooperation usually begins with an interview and despite the fact that when conducting a video interview you cannot shake hands with a person, you can look at him, moreover, in a comfortable environment for him. A preserved record will allow you to: if necessary, consult with colleagues, do not conduct a second interview when hiring another team, analyze the interview in case of dismissal of an employee, and  identify errors that should be avoided in the future, review 360  interviewees, which can also be very useful .

    Probably the number one question for the organizers of distributed teams is how to control employees, because they will watch YouTube at home and no one will code. Hmm, as if in offices the access to seals was completely closed. Well, Alexey’s answer is no way . At Skyeng, they are trying to ensure transparency in the work of employees, and have come to the conclusion that we need to maintain a daily worklog. Actual statuses, remaining estimates and backlog are also aimed at this and are not something important exclusively in a remote format.

    The second frequently encountered thesis: experts are sitting on a remote site each at home and just doing assignments in Jira and they have no commonality, but in the office there is certainly a team. Alexey objects, and one can’t disagree with him that, first of all, involvement ensures communication. Therefore, they have a lot of communication in various formats. Using Hangouts (always with a camera - no talking emoticons) they conduct: daily meetings, scheduling and retrospectives, wimboxing and quarterly presentations. And the recent practice is also  the CS championship  - it perfectly develops team spirit regardless of the type of company.

    All types of communication, together with the fact that each ticket is formulated, starting with the problem that it solves, so that the developer immediately understands what it does and what kind of user problem it solves (also a generally applicable scrum practice), allows everyone to be roughly aware of everything you need.

    And when the question has already hung in the air, when do you even work there, you just seem to do what you’re talking, first of all, Alexey gave a clear example of your own time distribution, in which communication takes on average just over an hour a day, but this precisely allocated time, to which endless refinements of the tablemate and conversations in the kitchen are not added.

    Secondly, I noticed that communication in slack is cheap, and live communication is expensive . Of course, online alone does not guarantee that your communication will become effective, but a set of rules, including a clear channel structure on the principle that “only your people should read your message,” and other points of the convention will make it so.

    Below is a slide with recommendations - these tools may come in handy for you.



    The delegates from the Plesk team , who were already four of us at the conference, described Alexey's report in his review as amazing in concentration of information. And here is what they wrote about the conference as a whole:
    In early February, Moscow hosted the Teamlead Conf 2018 conference . The event, one might say, is significant - it was realized that the problems of your position are worthy not only of local mitaps or tracks, but also of an independent large conference.

    The conference was interesting, primarily due to the excellent content. We must pay tribute to the organizers: to gather the right audience and the right speakers, they clearly succeeded.

    I definitely want to categorize this conference when you return to work and disassemble by brick, rethink the reports you have heard, and am ready to try new ideas, experiment and improve development processes. The goal of “gaining experience and inspiration” is 100% achieved.

    We are developing imperial


    The competency matrix , of course, can be perceived by employees as a critical tool for suppression, one of many documents that needs to be completed as soon as possible and forgot to fill out and forget. In  Lazada, they wanted to use it so that no one had the feeling that it was a tool for suppression, but simply to help good people develop themselves .

    A techno-hub in Moscow appeared two and a half years ago and began to grow very quickly, there were many new people who needed to unite and become a single team  - the use of the competency matrix was partly aimed at solving this problem.


    Nina Shcheglova in her report told exactly what skills were included in the matrix for team lead, why there are only soft skills , and what are the rules of the game. To make it clearer, consider an example: flexible thinking is included in the category of “Analysis and Decision Making”.



    The first level of proficiency is characterized by the fact that a person is simply able to look at the problem from the other side , when you are just a junior team leader for you, this is a big step. Being at the second level of development, he  is able to change his own point of view in the presence of arguments and he is very curious. A Timlid with a third, higher, level of flexible thinking is incredibly curious, very easily juggles with ideas , combines them, changes points of view, and so on.

    The resulting matrix serves to outline a development plan by selecting areas in which it would be interesting and useful to develop further. For focus and true development, Nina recommends choosing only three areas for several months . On the one hand, it is not forbidden to change the development vector after some time, and on the other, it helps to justify some corporate training. For example, from Nina’s extremely stylish slides, it’s easy to guess that the Jedi techniques have already been mastered in Lazada.

    Of course, no one denies the subjectivity of this tool, but in a specific example it showed itself well and coped with its tasks. You can try to use it in your work, adding and customizing for yourself and your tasks:


    In the comments to the post of Maxim Tsepkov about this report, some controversy arose around the content of the matrix, and also a discussion of the difference between the soft skill and hard skill of the manager , which we think is appropriate to bring.
    Ekaterina Semenova : We did not intentionally paint a manager’s hard skills - they are very different even within the same company. Somewhere, many, many specific tools, and somewhere - macros and programming in Excel.

    Maxim Tsepkov : Ekaterina, it seems to me that you understand the hard skill of a manager in the IT sense - as the possession of certain IT tools. And I understand them differently, namely, as professional managerial skills. They are there. That is, the division into soft skill and hard skill is not based on whether any technical means are used, but because hard skill is associated with a profession (discipline), and soft skill does not depend on it. Manager is a profession, and management is a discipline and it has its own set of hard skill, which is taught by teaching management.

    Ekaterina Semenova: Now I understand what you mean. With such an interpretation of concepts it turns out quite interesting. On the one hand, the team leader should have hard skills teams (programming / testing). And perhaps you are right when a developer switches to team leads - his skill, for example, communication becomes a hard skill.

    Maxim Tsepkov : It's thin there. Take the analytics. He has a soft communication skill and the ability to write texts, and he has a hard ability to conduct interviews (with fixing the result), in which communication and writing is an important part. Probably something similar here.

    Ekaterina Semenova : Yeah. And you can probably pump both skills.

    1000 and 1 feedback


    The story of Eugenia Goleva from  Lamoda was addressed especially to those who were going to teach team leaders the skill of feedback, but, in fact, was useful to everyone. Even those who confidently raised their hands in response to the question of who gives feedback themselves must have found useful tips for themselves.

    The fact that feedback is needed and important was not discussed - it’s not random people who gathered, they all understand everything. Like the fact that the average engineer often criticizes, rarely praises and judges without understanding . And this is not quite what we would like, because this feedback is not very motivating people, but rather contributes to the emergence of conflicts.

    The lack of positive reviews is interpreted as if the person is not appreciated, and he strives to leave the company.

    The most obvious solution that comes to mind is training. There are such trainings, in Lamoda they tried them a lot and even invented their feedback model, which they called SAME (Situation, Action, Message, Expectation).



    But Eugene came up with this task to wrap up in the club’s project, which, unlike the training, would be at will , and not as an obligation. Secondly, a club is an event that people go to regularly and for a long time , that is, you can pump different skills gradually. The club of speakers became such a project, organized with the filing of company employees who themselves wanted to learn how to speak publicly. And inside this club of speakers there was a part about how to give each other feedback in such a way that it was useful.

    From the very beginning, the participants realized by their own example that when you were preparing for a speech, and as a result there were no questions, no comments, no objections - this is bad, this is unpleasant.

    Nevertheless, some resisted, the very idea that they do not beat feedback , that it is necessary for development, is not very familiar in our culture. And it takes time to get used to the fact that feedback can be useful and you can interact with it, and actually, when you are given feedback correctly - it's very nice and great .


    По ходу дела сформировалось несколько правил, которые можно взять на вооружение. Одно из них велит всегда находить три плюса, но не для того, чтоб подсластить горькую пилюлю. Самое главное для чего нужен позитивный фидбэк, как ни странно, для собственного развития, потому что, чтобы учиться у других, надо уметь смотреть на работу коллег и замечать какие-то вещи, которые тебе самому не приходили в голову, запоминать, а потом использовать.

    С другой стороны, получая обратную связь, все мы зачастую пропускаем мимо ушей плюсы, но, как только нам указали на какой-то недостаток, мы берем огромную лупу и внимательно его разглядываем. Поэтому умение правильно принимать отзывы и не реагировать каждый раз, как на истину в последней инстанции, тоже нужно тренировать.



    А правило трех тарелочек, по сути, то же, что и в плане развития по матрице компетентности — не надо пытаться сразу исправить все, что только можно, для начала, выбери три зоны для развития

    Одним словом, клуб получился эффективнее тренингов, его участники не только научились давать и принимать обратную связь, но и своим примером постепенно заряжают коллег вокруг.
    And as a small digression, we will tell you that Eugene in Lamoda serves as a devrel and is a very active participant in our new series of DevRel Conf events . We discuss who they are in general, what their tasks are, how to solve them, and much more. We have already held three meetings, videos of which are on the site, and we are not going to stop.
    Завершая этот разноплановый обзор, во-первых, хотим упомянуть Management Channel, плейлисты Aletheia Business (конференция по применению психологии в управлении и бизнесе) и Whale Rider (конференция по управлению и предпринимательству), в которых видео более ранних управленческих докладов, которые тоже могу отказаться полезными, и обратить внимание, что презентации всех докладов прошедшей TeamLead Conf, в отличие от самих выступлений, доступны всем желающим.

    А во-вторых, напомнить, что конференции — это совсем не только доклады. This is a live communication, an opportunity: to ask, clarify, get to know, share, find associates and much more. Especially in such a subtle topic, on which Google does not google, but all the same, everything is solved by trial and error. To prove that our event turned out to be very successful in this sense, there are some photos under the spoiler.

    Photos TeamLead Conf






















    Despite all the efforts of the speakers, the topic does not seem to have exhausted itself. Reports on teams and management will be in the nearest RIT ++ and, probably, in Siberian Highload ++ .
    For example, in the list of applications for Whale Rider there is:

    Nikita Bykov from Kodix Automotive with the report “ Timlids: fighters or commanders? "And

    Vladimir Tolokonnikov (SkyDNS / SafeDNS) with the report" We need a project! or How to live if you are now PM? ".

    On Aletheia Business, topics are closer to psychology in management, for example, among applications:

    Georgy Mogelashvili with the topic “Game of Roles: how we playfully solved the problem of employee growth at Booking.com ”and

    Vyacheslav Zlobin promises to tell how to train“ decision makers ” .

    Formulate your own tasks, see applications and come to participate. Moreover, we recommend that you do not put off the decision at the last moment and familiarize yourself with the  ticket offer , because price increases have already been launched.

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