Teamlead Conf 2018 Impressions

    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. We could not miss such an event, and the four of us went from the Plesk Novosibirsk office straight to the capital to absorb the experience of our colleagues.

    Our company has a tradition: upon returning from the conference, conduct a retrospective trip with participants and interested colleagues. Usually we talk about our impressions in general, select reports that we recommend for viewing, discuss ideas and practices that we want to apply in our company. We did the same with TeamLead Conf 2018. It is worth noting that all the reports were at a high level. There were almost none that we did not recommend for viewing. The conference organizers are likely to make a detailed review of the reports, but here we want to share general impressions of the conference and note the most appealing speeches for us. We must say right away that the rest of the reports were at an excellent level (there were almost no reports that received the “I do not recommend viewing” verdict). As a result, we decided to choose the 3 most liked reports and review them. Topics should not be repeated, otherwise the choice would have focused on the report “Managing a Large Distributed Team” by Alexei Kataev - it was painful for us all to enjoy and was quite close in spirit to solving problems.

    Managing a large distributed team


    The report is amazing in its concentration of information: Alexey Kataev covered topics from interviews to building effective communication in a team and the involvement of each engineer in product development, after he provided many useful materials that you can take and use at home. By the way, some time ago Alexei reworked his report a bit and posted it as an article .

    In Plesk, we have 2 development offices in Novosibirsk and 1 office in Cologne. Even with this structure, many tips will come in handy. For example, how to structure communication in Slack to inform all those involved and not spam half the company, as well as how to make our TechTalks more efficient and diverse. I think that the report will be useful to companies that are actively growing, and with the growth of the team they need to maintain the level of awareness of the developers and at the same time not lose time on constant conversations and distractions.

    In general, it is better to look at this report (or even revise it several times) once than retell it. Highly recommended for viewing and use.

    Link to the presentation .

    Evaluate the developer based on objective data


    I think the organizers of the ulterior motive delivered the first lecture on the second day by Sergey Semenov and Alexander Kiselyov (the first lectures of each day were broadcast simultaneously in both halls).

    Self-efficacy is not possible without the use of good tools. Instead of the frank PR of their own startup (GitLean is just developing tools for analyzing developer activity), the guys tried to talk about what metrics to collect, where to draw data, how to draw conclusions from them. Some metrics are quite obvious, and some in combination with each other give interesting observations.

    The report clung primarily to the fact that there were many practical examples. The guys said that they talked with a large number of companies, CTO, team leaders. And you believe them with pleasure, because you look at the slides and it seems that the interview was taken from you: you also thought how to add objectivity to the subjective 1: 1 and performance review, you also wrote scripts that fetch data from git and JIRA, and then he tried to analyze, find a correlation and the reasons for the performance drawdown or problems.

    Of course, they did not forget to mention that metrics are neither a panacea nor a tool for finding the guilty. First of all, it should be a tool for finding problems in the team. For example, only one person (bus factor) has committed a certain area of ​​code for a long time, or the feature turned out to be poorly implemented, because the team morale survey showed very low ratings.

    But enough already spoil. Everyone with a team of more than two or three people must watch.

    Link to the presentation .

    1000 and 1 feedback


    The final report of the conference turned out to be perhaps the most emotionally bright for all two days of the conference.

    As already mentioned in another report by Alexander Ziza, “In search of team lead: long, expensive and no guarantees!”, The fact that for engineers is a soft skill (for example, communication skills, the ability to give feedback), for a manager or team lead is quite hard skill to train and develop. This report of Eugenia is just about how you can and should develop the ability to give feedback. Feedback is very important for employees, and this is not only a 1: 1 meeting.

    In order to develop some kind of ability, you need to practice and try to use it more often in everyday life. Eugene in his report talks about the organization of a conversation club in the company. This initiative has brought positive results in the development of public speaking skills on the one hand, and the skills of providing quality feedback on the other. People regularly trained to give feedback correctly, and Eugene helped them in this process.

    The report is recommended to anyone who understands that in the work of a manager or team leader, an important part of communication is feedback, and who is thinking about how to develop the ability to do this on a qualitatively new level.

    Link to the presentation .

    Summary


    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.

    There were several technical issues that we think we need to work on: visibility of screens (the lower third of the screen was not visible beyond 3-4 rows) and the quality of communication. This can be considered minor nit-picking, since they did not affect the overall impression.

    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.


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