I’ve seen this happen at so many companies I’ve worked out. Someone is spectacular as an individual contributor, so they’re promoted to a managerial position, yet not given the training or support to learn new skills. They’re reluctant to share they’re struggling, because they were promoted because they were a superstar. I love that the company mentioned in the original article supports developers turned managers to return to developers, rewarding them for the skills that led to their promotion in the first place.
Originally posted on Pete's blog:
Team leads are different. Your job, should you accept it, is to become what I’ve lovingly dubbed Shit Umbrella. Your goal is to find all of the peripheral stuff involved in getting the product out the door—important stuff, such as making sure the delivery schedule for the new servers makes sense for when you want to ship the product that needs them, or taking customer calls at 11 PM on a Sunday because their account quit working and they want to know why they should keep paying you, or figuring out when doing features the sales and support teams want makes financial sense—and then coming back and presenting a focused direction to all the developers so that they can get the features written without worrying about how they actually ship.
Benjamin Pollack writing about his experiences of being promoted to a team lead. It’s one of the best first-hand accounts that I’ve read of what it means to lead product and engineering teams.
I’ve seen this happen in software companies, but elsewhere too. It was one of the major reasons for my leaving the BBC: I loved being a journalist, I didn’t even slightly envy the people in the jobs above me; they were great journalists being asked to be great managers, and that’s hard — especially without support and training.