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Eran Sakal
Eran Sakal

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List Your Way to Team Leading: Managerial Relationships & Product Interactions

This is the second part of our journey through frontend team leadership. If you've read the first part, you already know we're exploring this through a structured list—a format close to my heart. In this article, we'll delve into managerial relationships, product interactions, and how to work effectively with peer development & QA teams. These are the nuts and bolts that have helped me, and I hope they'll help you too in navigating the complexities of frontend development. So, let's continue listing, shall we?

Managerial Relationships

  • Maintain Open Communication: Keep your managers in the loop with regular updates. The more informed they are, the better they can support the team.
  • Proactively Raise Concerns: Don't hesitate to flag potential issues as early as possible. In the best-case scenario, these concerns may resolve themselves, but early warning allows for better planning.
  • Own Your Decisions, But Strive for Excellence: Do your best and aim for high standards, but understand that perfection is not always attainable. There's no need to apologize for imperfections if you've made a well-considered effort.
  • Embrace Constructive Disagreement and Autonomy: It's okay to have differing opinions on team developments, deadlines, or designs. You're not only expected to lead the team effectively but also empowered to make decisions that may not align with your managers' views. The key is to make well-considered choices without fear of repercussions, as long as those decisions are made in the best interest of the team and project.

Product Interactions

  • Foster a Collaborative Relationship: View the product team as allies in achieving common goals. Instead of keeping a scorecard on changing requirements, focus on how you can adapt and work together for the best outcome.
  • Be Solution-Oriented: You're expected to identify challenges and proactively suggest viable alternatives. This adds value to the product development process.
  • Maintain Regular Communication: Keep the lines of communication open with the product team. Whether it's daily stand-ups or weekly syncs, make sure you're consistently in touch.
  • Share Early and Often: Aim to provide previews of features before they're fully completed. Early feedback can be invaluable.
  • Offer Constructive Feedback: If you see room for improvement, don't hesitate to provide constructive criticism. This helps refine the product and fosters a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Assist in Story Grooming: Encourage the product team to thoroughly groom user stories. Offer yours and the feature leader expertise to help identify edge cases, potential error scenarios, and any conflicts with existing features.

Peer Development & QA Team

  • Anticipate and Plan: Be mindful of other teams' deadlines and pressures. Proactively identify potential bottlenecks, especially when tasks require parallel work from teams with dependencies on each other. Whenever possible, prioritize sequential work to mitigate these challenges.
  • End-to-End Responsibility: Understand that a feature is only considered delivered when it has received end-to-end approval from QA, encompassing both backend and frontend contributions.
  • Timely Deliveries for QA: Avoid the common pitfall of pushing all deliveries to QA near the end of a commitment period. Ensure that QA has ample time to conduct thorough testing.
  • Quality Over Speed: Resist the urge to release medium-quality work just to meet deadlines. Factor in time for bug-fixing cycles and only release features that have received a 'go' from QA. Note that this may require a QA environment that supports pre-releases, allowing for greater flexibility in feature inclusion or exclusion.
  • Celebrate Collective Success: Keep a positive mindset and recognize that successful project deliveries are the result of collaborative efforts from all peers—designers, product managers, delivery managers, QA, and other development teams.

Slide from the first version of our product

The slide above is from a presentation we gave to unveil the first iteration of our next-generation product. It was a moment to celebrate the collective achievements and hard work of the all the peers.

Fostering a Culture of 'Good Enough'

This section is an extension of the 'Good Enough' principle mentioned in Team Dynamics and serves as the cornerstone of our team philosophy.

The Good

  • Empowerment: A safe environment encourages team members to stretch their capabilities and aim beyond the basic requirements.
  • Innovation: A forgiving culture toward imperfection often breeds innovation, as it removes the fear of failure.

The Bad

  • Perfectionism: The binary mindset—something is either perfect or not—can cause undue stress and project delays.
  • Analysis Paralysis: Overthinking due to high standards can result in inaction and missed opportunities.

The Balance

  • Celebrate Achievements: Focus on what's been accomplished. While code may never be perfect, "good enough" often is.
  • Flexible Quality Standards: This guide doesn't set specific quality standards, but the underlying principle is that multiple approaches can lead to stakeholder satisfaction. It's better to deliver a feature with excellent user experience on time than to deliver nothing because you were caught up trying to fulfill every single requirement and missed the QA deadline.
  • Realistic Expectations: Aim for doing your best. If something doesn't get completed on time despite best efforts, that's acceptable. Features can often be rolled out in phases; just ensure that each phase meets quality standards and avoids excessive shortcuts. Any shortcomings can be addressed in future iterations.

In conclusion, leading a frontend team in a dynamic environment is both a challenging and rewarding experience. The guidelines and principles shared here are not just theoretical musings but hard-earned insights from years of hands-on leadership. They aim to foster a culture of collaboration, quality, and continuous improvement. Remember, the journey to a high-performing team is a collective effort, one that requires engagement from every role—be it developers, designers, product managers, or QA. As you navigate the complexities of team leadership, may these insights serve as a compass, guiding you toward collaborative success and professional growth for you and your team.

Top comments (1)

shvekyha profile image

Great stuff Eran!