October 2020
How I built an
engineering ladder

Around a year and a half ago, we rolled out a career progression for Poll Everywhere engineers.

I’ve organized my reflections about this work into a step-by-step guide to define an Individual Contributor ladder for your engineering team.

Poll Everywhere was founded in 2007 by three engineers with consulting backgrounds. Our Engineering team didn’t put this progression in place until 2018. 11 years is a long time to go without formal levels.

This flat organization was intentionally chosen by the founders. In the early days, each one enjoyed wearing many hats, jumping into the code as needed, and had reservations about implementing the corporate hierarchy they’d seen at large companies that hired their consultancies.

June 2020
How to get great
360° feedback

360° feedback, when done right, leads to some of the most eye-opening insights for self-reflection and personal growth.

This process is different than individual feedback and there are subtle ways it can go wrong. In this article, I’ll break down how you can run great 360° feedback for your team.

I’ve found 360° feedback most effective with a three-party system. The first is the person requesting feedback. The second is a group of people providing feedback. The third is someone who reviews the responses, summarizes the themes, and goes over the feedback with the requestor. This article assumes that you in the position of a reviewer and want to give great feedback to your team.

March 2020
The Five Levels
of Leadership

There is a huge range of skill when it comes to leadership. John C. Maxwell lays out five points of reference for your leadership and skills to practice at each level to advance.

In this short series of articles I’ve summarized the concepts and my key take-aways from the book.

A manager on my team recently suggested The Five Levels of Leadership as her favorite book about expanding influence. To keep up with my 2020 commitment about reading more, I picked it up.

These are the five levels as I’ve internalized them. Level 1: A person follows you because you have the job title. Level 2: A person follows you because you've built a personal relationship together...

January 2020
How I started
skip level 1:1s

Skip level one on ones are a great way to connect with team members that you don’t get a chance to work with often.

I’ve had a hard time setting aside time to schedule these, so I’ve written up a guide to make it simple.

Recently I set up 12 recurring one on ones for the people that are managed by the managers I’m responsible for. I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time but kept putting it off. It was one of those things I couldn't muster the activation energy to start.

Last Friday I finally set aside the time to do some research. There’s a ton of advice about the best way to do this and even huge libraries of all the questions you could or should ask...