Skip to main content

Continued Education

A couple of weeks I got done reading “The Hard Thing about Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz.  I received the book as a gift at Box Developer Day (http://www.boxdev2014.com/) and it turned out to be one of the best management books I’ve read in a while. You should definitely spend the $15 to buy the book yourself.  One of the key things that I took away from the book is the emphasis on training:

Almost everyone who builds a technology company knows that people are the most important asset. Properly run startups place a great deal of emphasis on recruiting and the interview process in order to build their talent base. Too often the investment in people stops there.
Horowitz, Ben (2014-03-04). The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Since reading this I started implementing a training program for my engineering team at DocuSign.  We picked out Tuesday mornings at 9AM to have a one-hour class where we can share some of the things that I have learned over the years.  The first class was on the concepts of agile project management.  I took for granted that people knew the concepts and philosophy of Agile and thought that books like “Agile Software Development with Scrum” by Ken Schwaber and Mike Beedle were read by everyone.  It turned out that the majority of the team has not read them.

That was a light bulb moment for me: there are a bunch of basics that I probably think are too basic to teach, but for some people its net new information or at least a refresher.  I encouraged the team to buy and expense the books that I mentioned, and got working on the second class – the basics of the Internet.   In this class I am going to cover the basics of the internet that I feel people never fully dive deep into such as cookies, error codes, DNS, SSL handshakes, HTTP request and response structures and such.

While attending NY Tech Day and meeting with some partners in New York I had a chance to get lunch with Ben Siscovick (@bsiscovick) and he recommended a blog post from a16z.com that talks about progressions of Jeff Jordan through the management ranks at eBay.  The funny thing is that naturally I am following a very similar path and now that I am managing a team of close to 20 people I am turning more into a coach than a player.  I definitely recommend reading the full post here: http://jeff.a16z.com/2014/04/17/leaving-it-all-on-the-field/

The next class is on Tuesday.  I will let you know how it goes!

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

SDET / QA Engineer Interview Checklist

After interviewing and hiring hundreds of engineers over the past 12+  years I have come up with a few checklists.  I wanted to share one of those with you so you could conduct comprehensive interviews of QA Engineers for your team.

I use this checklist when I review incoming resumes and during the interview.  It keeps me from missing areas that ensure a good team and technology fit.  I hope you make good use of them.  If you think there are good questions or topics that I have missed - get in touch with me!


SDE/T or QA Engineer interview checklist from Mike Borozdin
If you like this checklist you might want to check out these posts:
Emotional Intelligence in Software Teams  and Good-bye manual tester, hello crowdsourcing!

Highly Effective Software Teams

A few weeks ago our Board of Directors asked me to present my assessment of the state of software.
 I was hired to organize and grow the software team and the directors wanted to know what kind of a team we needed to build.  I was hoping that I can just reference an article somewhere that would give me the answer, unfortunately I didn’t find anything suitable. During my research I did find some great material that will be helpful if your job is to put together a highly effective software team.
A highly effective software team has the following key characteristics: dependable, committed to shared goals, passionate about technology, respectful and compassionate.  These are not limited to technology industry, it can easily apply to finance, medicine, or sports as well.  Below is the summary and references that I found. Dependable If you are creating a software product, you need to deliver your software to your users.  Your users need to know that you are able to solve their problems on …

Two Critical Questions for Your Next Interview

I’ve interviewed probably over 500 engineering and management candidates over the last several years.  There have been a lot of really smart people who have applied at DocuSign, Microsoft and Tempo Automation. A surprising number of them didn’t have a clear answer to these two essential questions:

Why are you interested in joining our team?Why should we be interested in you? 
If you are an applicant, having a prepared answer for these questions is critical.  If you are a hiring manager, you should ask them and have a clear answer to these questions at the end of the first interaction with your future team mate.

In a field where work is somewhat predictable and static, those questions are less critical, but in software development perseverance, ingenuity and focus make all the difference. These are the two main questions that will separate a subpar and a superb hire.

When I discuss those two questions with an applicant I try to go below the surface.  Generic answers like “it says you ar…