From Coder to Leader: Thriving as a Tech Lead

From Coder to Leader: Thriving as a Tech Lead
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Being a tech lead isn't just about being the best coder in the room anymore and, quite frankly, it's never been.

Being a tech lead is about juggling multiple responsibilities, coordinating teams, and ensuring projects move forward smoothly. If you're finding yourself struggling in this role, here are some tips to help you not only survive but also thrive:

Shift Your Mindset

It's time to let go of the idea that you have to be the one to build everything. Instead of asking, "How can I build this?" start asking, "How can I help others build this?" Recognize that you can't do everything yourself without sacrificing either the project's quality or your own well-being.

Remember, you need to produce as much as possible, just not only with your own hands.

Embrace Collaboration

Instead of diving straight into the code editor, embrace collaboration tools like Slack or Zoom. Your role now involves guiding and supporting your team members to ensure everyone is on the same page and working efficiently towards the project's goals.

Setting up effective communication channels and processes can help you in running a few things in autopilot and just keeping an eye on how the communication flows and encouraging team interactions rather than becoming a bottleneck.

Prioritize Your Tasks

As a tech lead, your time is precious. Focus on tasks that directly contribute to the project's success and maintain your availability for critical tasks, context switching, and answering team questions. Reviewing code, writing code only for critical components, adding tests, performing manual testing, and fixing bugs are all valuable contributions to the team's progress.

It's usually a good idea to stay out of the critical path because we never know when a crisis might happen that will require us to attend many meetings and stop coding for some time, we don't want to leave something half backed and have the team blocked, waiting for that task to be completed.

Focus on Quality

While it may be tempting to rush through tasks to meet deadlines, prioritize quality over speed. Ensure that the code meets standards, add tests to catch potential issues, and perform thorough testing to minimize bugs. By focusing on quality, you'll save time and headaches in the long run.

Implementing DevOps and automating these quality checks as much as possible will save you a lot of time in manual testing and reviews, setup dashboard to accurately show your code and systems metrics and plan time to address issues and technical debt.

Delegate Effectively

You don't have to do everything yourself. Delegate tasks to team members based on their strengths and expertise. Empower your team members to take ownership of their work while providing guidance and support when needed.

Stay Agile

Tech projects are dynamic, and priorities can shift rapidly. Stay agile and adaptable to changes, adjusting your strategies and priorities as needed to keep the project on track.

Being agile doesn't mean blindly saying yes to every change coming your way, don't be shy to push back when the change or the time doesn't make sense to protect your team's time and work pace, always set clear expectations when accepting a change that something else will have to be descoped from the on-going sprint if that's the case.

Remember, being a tech lead is about more than just coding—it's about leadership, collaboration, and ensuring the success of your team and project. By embracing these tips and shifting your mindset, you can not only survive but also thrive in your tech lead role.