"As a manager, what is your ideal time spent on coding?"

This question was recently asked in a local engineering slack organization and it got me thinking, what would the ideal amount of time spent on technical contributions be for me? When I first transitioned from a developer to a manager I didn’t know how I provided value. I assumed that being a manager was largely the same as being a developer except now I had to talk to other developers and help them become better somehow....

August 22, 2022 · 5 min · Adam McKerlie

So, you want to become an Engineering Manager?

Most developers at one point or another in their careers have thought about switching to management. Maybe your boss left suddenly and you were the most senior engineer on the team. Maybe you’ve spent a number of years in your current role and are wanting a new challenge. Or, if you’re lucky, your mentor brought up some traits they thought would make you a really good manager. Whatever the reason, you’re here now, trying to figure out whether this is the right move for you....

August 6, 2022 · 4 min · Adam McKerlie

Welcome to mckerlie.com

For the better part of the last decade, I’ve been an Engineering Manager (EM) and Director of Engineering (DoE). I’ve learnt a number of ways that don’t work when it comes to leading people and a few ways that do and I’d like to share them with you. A few weeks ago one of my co-workers asked me what it was like getting into management. As I reflected on that question I realized it was one I’ve answered before....

August 2, 2022 · 2 min · Adam McKerlie

Meetings can be Poisonous

Eight years ago I wrote about how meetings are poisonous . At the time I was the senior developer on my team and I was getting pulled into 4-5 meetings a day. This killed my productivity and made it difficult to get any of my IC work done. I struggled for many months until I realized that I could just say no to meetings. Since then I’ve transitioned from developer to manager , manager to director and then back to manager....

December 22, 2020 · 5 min · Adam McKerlie

7 Musings on Minion Management

So, you’ve just been promoted to the dark side of management but you don’t know how to lead your minions? Here are a few tips on keeping your plebeians in line. Make Your Minions Do the Dirty Work You shouldn’t worry yourself about work that’s underneath you, you get paid way to much. You’ve hired coder monkeys to handle everything from downed servers at 3 am to documentation to those pesky clients....

September 8, 2017 · 3 min · Adam McKerlie

The Lead Developer Conference — Day 2

In this article, I’ll go over the talks delivered on Day 2 of the Lead Developer Conference. Again, this was a fantastic conference that you should think about attending in the future, especially if you’re leading technical teams. You can read about Day 1 here and here. Kevin Goldsmith — Fail Safe, Fail Smart, Succeed Kevin Goldsmith started day two by speaking about how to fail as a team and how we can create environments to learn from failure....

September 6, 2017 · 5 min · Adam McKerlie

The Lead Developer Conference — Day 1 (Part 2)

After lunch, we came back to a number of excellent talks. I always find the afternoons the most difficult to pay attention to since your brain is full from the morning sessions and your stomach is full from lunch but at the Lead Developer Conference I found myself fully engrossed with all of the talks. You can read about the first part of day1 Rob Allen — 5 Features of a Good API This was the first technical talk of the day and it didn’t disappoint....

August 9, 2017 · 4 min · Adam McKerlie

The Lead Developer Conference — Day 1 (Part 1)

One June 8th and 9th I attended the Lead Developer Conference in London England. The two-day conference, geared towards Managers, Directors, VPs and CTOs, was extremely well planned and executed, and all of the speakers were top notch. In this post I’ll be summarizing and highlighting half of the talks from Day 1. If you’re interested in reading the other summaries you can do so for the second half of the first day and the second day....

June 20, 2017 · 5 min · Adam McKerlie

Four Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Career

When I was getting started early on in my career I made a lot of mistakes. I was unhappy, working for people who didn’t respect me and I was lost. I was unsure as to whether or not I wanted to continue being a developer and for a while, I was unsure if I’d ever be able to make it. I was working my butt off and burning myself out for a company I didn’t believe in....

May 22, 2017 · 4 min · Adam McKerlie

The Five Traits I Look For When Hiring

Hiring is hard. It’s a stressful process where you’re trying to find a good fit, both personally and technically, all in a few short hours. Over the last 7 years, I’ve hired many developers and while they haven’t all worked out, I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to work with some excellent people. In every case, as I’m sitting across from them in the interview, I focus on trying to see if the candidate exhibits the following five traits....

January 26, 2017 · 4 min · Adam McKerlie