As A Good Technical Lead

/* DISCLAIMER: This blog post is purely based on my personal observation and experience. The views expressed are mine alone */
Whether you call it Technical Lead or Dev Lead or Team Lead or Lead Programmer, this blog post is about the role and some of the characteristics Good Technical Lead must have.

A Central Role

Trust me, Dear Reader, if you are a technical lead or in a similar role you really have a central and significant position in the overall software development life cycle. Being the owner of the technical solution, your job is to ensure the smooth execution of development activities at least till the project is handed over for production.

 You are not only face to the management but also a bridge between different groups such as software developers, architects, Testers, End users etc. You are also responsible for compliance of standards such as coding and design standards.
However, a reality is that this job role is more towards management and less towards technical.
As a Good Technical Lead…
 
To discuss the must have attributes of a good technical lead, let’s divide the title “Technical Lead” into two areas:
  • Technology
  • Leadership

Technology

Know the every bit of the solution you are working on. Dive deep and understand the big picture of the technical solution and the customers’ need. This will help you contribute not only in the features/functionality proposed but also you will be able to guide developers in a better way.
Okay you neither have time in hand nor cost, the only thing you have in your hand is project/feature scope! Rule it!!!
Act as true mentor. Yes you did well when you was developer, now it’s time to share your knowledge with juniors, try to replicate your knowledge, your experience. Help them in managing themselves and their day to day development tasks.
Embrace new technologies and believe in continuous improvement. As a technical lead, you are required to always look for continuous improvement in software construction. Adapt new tools to improve approach and productivity over time. This will help develop learning agility in the team.
Ensure better design. Try to make good design and coding habit of your team.
Delegate the overall development tasks effectively. However, at times, it is suggested to do some percentage of coding as well. This will add more respect in front of your team.  
Your passion towards technology counts! after all it’s software engineers you are leading.

Leadership

You will be interacting with different set of people with different attitude, different temper and different background. As an good leader you should have strong ability to listen people and listen them very well. Be clam and humble to hear their concerns and resolve them in best possible way.
As a lead developer, your every act should be inspiring for your team members. Also, It is important to walk your talk. We would definitely not like managers who does not act upon his own principles.
Know your team, their interests, their concerns, their strengths, their weaknesses and their growth.
Encourage team work and discourage blame game at least within the team. This will help people focus on the ultimate goal and will forgive each others mistake. Let them realize that they all win together and they all lose together.
Your ability to look in the cloudy future will reflect your proactive approach. Looking ahead of time and think what can go wrong will help you prepare for better execution tomorrow.
Maintain a positive environment and ethics within your team.
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These are some of the attributes I think as a good technical lead one should posses. Please feel free to comment your experience or what you believe a good lead should have?

  • Slick! This is something coming straight from the Development Lead’s heart. 🙂
    And should I try to get some hints when you say “Your ability to look in the *cloudy future*…”, Did I just read Cloud and Future together? 😀 Any scene?

  • Anonymous

    Very Nice article

  • A very informative post. Thank u so much

  • Great Article

  • Touches every point.. Nicely written.. Thanks for sharing this valuable information…