Recap of Lead Developer conference London

Past week I finally attended the Lead Developer Conference in London and what a conference it has been. Everything was provided: from quality talks, good and healthy nourishments to even provide childcare for those requiring so.

There were a lot of sessions about the soft skills involved with being a team lead which gave a lot of insights in what motivates peoples, makes people excell at their job and overall feel welcome at their team.

Some of my personal takeaways and talks which most resonated with me were the following.

Lara Hogan - Navigating team Friction  

Learn to decypher the needs of others and what motivates them. There are lot of ways to do so for instance using active listening, asking open ended questions etc. Use the six axis of core needs (Belonging, Improvement, Choice, Equality, Predictability)

Do not require change of your reports, elaborate to them what needs attention and use facts. Use something like the Feedback Equation to create actionable feedback. People are capable to develop their own ideas how to solve their fallacies so ask them to voice these. "How would you like to approach this?"

Melinda Seckington - Level Up: Developing Developers

The analogy with how you learn to play a game vs how you grow as a developer was very striking. Topics like onboarding, starting small, practice skills, repeat your skills and having a mentor.

Pat Kua - Flavours of technical leadership

Pat argued that anyone can be a leader. All it takes is a single action.

“To demonstrate technical leadership, you don't have to be an expert in a particular technical area. You need to understand enough to be able to facilitate the right conversations.”

There are multiple ways to lead:  

  • Knowledge cultivator (creates a learning environment)
  • The advocate (listens to painpoints, finds buy-in for his vision, creates the community)
  • The Connector (knows who you need to solve your issues)
  • The Storyteller

There are also a lot of ways to share knowledge and let your leadship become visible. Speak at conferences, blog, interviews, book reading clubs, newsletters, meetups etc.

The last interesting thing which he discussed was career growth and the three paths you can grow towards:

You can read more on his own blog about the trident model of career development.

Neha Batra - Facilitation techniques 202

Neha shared a lot of practical experience how to facilitate sessions:

  • Have a clear agenda with the goals, timeline, expectations when to speak & when you can have a break (recharge);
  • Engage the group with pairing activities, sharing of input and creating individual contributions;
  • Make sure every personality can make their voice heard (Steam Rollers vs Quiet Folks);
  • Finish with a positive bang!
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