Monthly Archives: March 2013

Even Programmers need to Communicate

Even programmers need to communicate was first written on my old technical blog (Steve’s Software Development Blog) way back in 2009. It received one of the most hits over the years and started a number of discussions on other sites so I’ll repeat that post here as it directly relates to team leadership for technical teams and to this blog.

Few programming teams that I have met really understand how important communication is to their everyday lives. Let me yell this from the highest places I can find – Communication is the most important factor a software team can possess, above technical abilities, above delivery, above project work, above code itself. Without communication, a programming team can die.

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You Can Survive and Thrive in the 4 Team Stages

Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing

The Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing model relates to groups and was first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. Bruce theorised that these four stages are necessary for all groups coming together.

I have seen this in action too many times to discard this as another theory. This relates not only to new groups coming together, but also to groups going through a fundamental change, for example a new powerful senior joining the group – or when you yourself join an already established group as the new Team Leader.

It is important to recognise these stages for what they are in order to understand what is happening and assist the group as much as you can through them all.

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The Five Skills You Will Need as a New Team Leader

penknifeCongratulations. You have impressed everyone with your technical abilities and because you have been the best, you have now been promoted to a leadership role.

Now you find that it’s not as easy as you thought. Suddenly everyone treats you differently and you are wondering if this was a good move or not. I understand.

The good news is that you were not promoted into this position solely on your technical brilliance. Far from it. You were promoted because you showed someone that you had the ability to do the job; the capacity to learn; and the personality to be a real asset to the team and the company.

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Leading Technical Teams

I have been writing blogs for a number of years. This is a new incarnation where a technical blog has moved more into leadership areas, so I started this as a way of learning and assisting others to also learn.

Far too often, the technical lead or senior developer or most respected technician is thrust into a leadership role, stepping them away from the areas of their technical brilliance into another role completely (I’ll go into this in more depth in another posting). This happened to me a number of years ago. I made a name for myself as a lead developer, created and sold some serious applications that became top sellers, and had the respect of fellow developers for technical expertise – then I was placed into a management position and found myself so far into deep water that I almost drowned.

Suddenly, all the expertise that I was known for meant diddly-squat. I was no longer developing but was leading teams doing things that I had no idea how to do. Needless to say, I struggled with some of this, but persisted. The reason I persisted instead of giving up and returning to being a senior developer is that I found the position difficult, but very rewarding. I guarantee you will as well.

There is something wonderful about producing programs, but this pales in comparison to how wonderful it is to see someone “get it” and flourish, even if they can’t accept that you had a hand in that, it’s still rewarding. Perhaps even more rewarding if they think that they’ve done it all themselves.

I’ve since embarked on a series of studies and experiences that I want to share with you.

Being a leader is a unique place especially in front of a highly technical team. You are no longer a team member, no longer “one of them”. Instead,you are a leader, manager, boss, and mentor. So where do you go for that kinship where you can discuss your day and your issues?


I want this blog to be a place where every leader of a technical team can come to ask questions and get answers. I want to share your stories as well as mine. This is a place for us all to help each other, to overcome the inevitable difficulties we face with each of us knowing that you are under the spotlight for your team and sometimes that’s a very uncomfortable place, but other times a very enjoyable one.

I hope and encourage you to contribute and join the forums, answer people’s questions as well as asking your own. I’d love it if you volunteer to post your own articles here on this blog – please contact me with a subject and outline if you do. If you have a blog yourself that talks about leadership, let me know and if it fits with, then I’ll link to it.

Welcome to the LeadingTechnicalTeams blog. I hope to post reasonably regularly but would also enjoy it if you helped.

Steve Peacocke