Leading software teams with context, not control
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Leading software teams with context, not control

Effective practices for creating alignment and engagement within software teams

About the Book

As a software engineering leader, the scope of your role is extensive. You have many competing responsibilities and priorities that need to be balanced to ensure you and your team are as effective as possible. These can include providing architectural direction, driving peer to peer collaboration, ensuring cross-team alignment, motivating teams with purpose, supporting team members' career progression, or perhaps helping remove blockers and impediments. All of these efforts work to create a specific culture within a software team that aims to improve effectiveness, engagement, and retention.

This book is for software engineering leaders who are responsible for leading teams. It also dives into the unique complexity and challenges that comes with leading, aligning and supporting multiple software teams. This book aspires to provide you with helpful and reusable approaches that can be leveraged to bring about a greater level of efficiency into your role as a leader. There are many books written around leading teams or leading people, this book takes a lens of what specific practices and initiatives you should be investing your time into when leading software engineering teams.

What you will learn:

  • How to baseline a software team
  • How to develop a software engineering roadmap
  • Defining effective software engineering metrics
  • Prioritizing technical uplift work
  • Running effective 1:on:1s
  • Implementing a software team structure that works
  • Defining a career pathway framework for software teams
  • Running engaging team meetings
  • Building a culture of learning
  • Crafting an experimentation culture
  • How to run software engineering working groups
  • Also check out the ToC below for additional learning topics...

The book has been inspired by the many people I have worked with, learnings from practices I have implemented, as well as books and blogs I have read over the years. I see this is a book that leads itself to many iterations and should evolve as I discover new practices and techniques that help me improve the way I lead software teams. Regardless of the size of your software team, if you find yourself needing to better balance both the technical and people aspects of leading teams, or guidance on initiatives you could be running to improve team alignment, effectiveness and engagement then this book is written for you.

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  • Categories

    • Leadership
    • Teamwork
    • Software
    • Engineering Management
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About the Author

Dion Beetson
Dion Beetson

I’ve been working with and leading software engineering teams for the last 2 decades. I focused the first part of my career with all things technical, and still work on many software development projects in my spare time. However, I chose to refocus my career towards leading software teams throughout a range of different organizations including Yahoo, NewsCorp and William Hill. I've led teams with just a few software developers in a single team startup to leading around 150 software developers, testers and architects in many teams across multiple countries. When leading software teams I focus on context, not control, in that I will work hard to ensure my teams have the context they need to own decision making in their entirety within the team without me.

I aspire to be a software leader who has a reputation for building software teams that people positively remember being part of, where they were technically challenged, where they owned their decision making and had an opportunity to progress their career while still adding value to the wider organization.

Check out my manager readme to learn what it's like to work with me:


Also, check out my blog:


Table of Contents

  • Why this book was written
  • About the Author
  • Terminology within the book
  • Part 1: Creating alignment
    • 1. Baselining a software team
    • 2. Defining a software team target state
    • 3. The software engineering roadmaps
    • 4. Effective software team metrics
    • 5. Importance of collaborating on team goals
    • 6. Balancing reactive versus strategic work
    • 7. Balancing technical uplift with product development
    • 8. Introducing a new technology
    • 9. Platform SLAs
  • Part 2: Leading teams
    • 10. Effective 1:on:1s
    • 11. Continuous performance feedback
    • 12. Impactful position descriptions
    • 13. Candidate centric interviews
    • 14. Onboarding effectively
    • 15. Software team structures
    • 16. Career pathway framework for software teams
  • Part 3: Uplifting team culture
    • 17. Context over control
    • 18. Engaging team meetings
    • 19. Team health checks
    • 20. Building a culture of learning
    • 21. Crafting an experimentation culture
    • 22. Software engineering working groups
    • 23. Running a software team hack day
  • Final words
  • Notes

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