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What resources do you recommend to learn more about engineering management and leadership especially in a startup context?

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CTO at Early-stage startup8 months ago

I recently became CTO of a small early-stage startup where I'm leading all technical efforts, including by still doing some coding, but am mostly managing other engineers and focusing on the broader technical needs of the company. Previously, I was a technical lead and IC at startups where I had led small teams of other software engineers on product development, but was more in the weeds technically/coding a lot and was not responsible for people management. I'd like to learn about resources I can utilize to further develop my engineering leadership and people management skills.

What resources would you recommend to learn more about the following:

  • How to build people management skills as a first time engineering people manager? Are there open source or free trainings or resources that are good for this?
  • The latest engineering leadership topics, especially in a startup environment (e.g. how other leaders are tackling common technical and leadership challenges)
  • How to meet or connect with other engineering managers/leaders (e.g. startup CTOs, VP of engineering, or technical founders) outside my company to learn from their experiences or share lessons or knowledge with each other

Interested in any types of resources including blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, or virtual or in-person communities or meetups (particularly in NYC) etc. I have some favorite resources so far, but it would be great to learn about what resources others in the Taro community find useful. Thanks!

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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    8 months ago

    How to build people management skills as a first time engineering people manager.

    One of the challenges with management is that so much of your value is in understanding the context and relationships in the company.

    I'd be careful with seminars, especially if they bring together managers across company sizes. The way you succeed as a CTO in a small startup is very different from an EM in Big Tech, and I'd imagine almost all the content is geared toward the Big Tech employee. And hearing a lecture becomes ineffective very quickly.

    IMO the most effective way to ramp up is to have a really solid plan when it comes to understanding the people and priorities of the company. That means talking to every person in the company, understanding the priorities, and what has been tried in the past.

    I also like your 3rd bullet point around talking to other eng leaders. Taro is good for this (both connecting to other leaders and talking to more junior folks to understand their perspective). You could also attend an in-person conference. The nuance and back-and-forth you get with an in-person discussion or mastermind group is significantly better than attending a lecture. One that I'm familiar with is ELC.

    Some podcasts I've enjoyed (although honestly these are more for entertainment rather than directed learning):

    I'm curious what are your favorite resources?