3 mins

With so much talk about doing more with less during the month of April, we wanted to help engineers and managers make better use of their time. In no particular order, here are the five articles you need to read on LeadDev.

1. Jakub Svoboda, How to manage your time as a new engineering leader

This one might sound familiar: “If you feel like you are slammed with tasks to complete, activities to oversee, and tons of meetings to attend after becoming an engineering manager, you can rest assured that this is perfectly normal.”

In this article, Jakub Svoboda, a Senior Engineering Manager at the LEGO Group, walks us through his process for creating order in the chaos of new management tasks. His solution, in typical engineer fashion, involves the creation of event loops, which identify important activities and put them into repetitive cycles to help stay on top of things.

2. Maude Lemaire, How to return to work after parental leave

In the second part of a two-part article, Senior Staff Engineer at Slack, Maude Lemaire, lays out her approach to preparing for, and then returning from, parental leave as a software engineer.

“Having spent my entire adult life honing my analytical skills, I found myself trying – and failing – to “debug” my baby. Turns out, babies aren’t debuggable,” she writes.

3. Harry Guinness, The essential tools for software engineering managers

We recognize that the tools you use every day as a software engineer probably differ from those you need to be an effective manager. In this article, Harry Guinness pulls together the key tools you should be using every day to manage your team.

“While your team’s tools will likely keep track of all the important tasks that need to be done on your product, engineering managers can have a whole host of adjacent jobs to do which don’t neatly fit into Jira,” he writes.

4. Nick Means, Three ways to optimize team focus

Regular contributor and VP of Engineering at Sym, Nick Means, identifies what he sees as the three biggest impediments to team focus: scheduling, prioritizing, and context-switching.

“Most engineers are happiest when they’re shipping code. By tweaking calendars, mitigating chat interruptions, and reducing the overall amount of context they’re operating within, you can help your team have more precious focus time to do what they love,” he writes.

5. Matt Newkirk, How to receive a performance review

The dreaded performance review might not need to be that dreaded. That’s the premise of this article by Director of Engineering at Etsy, Matt Newkirk, who lays out some excellent tips to help both sides of a performance review get the most out of the process.

“I hope to outline a more positive approach to receiving reviews for leaders who feel vulnerable during these evaluations or who may find it particularly difficult. Additionally, I hope to help some leaders gain empathy for their reports who struggle with receiving reviews,” he writes.