Research software development teams are too important to be managed poorly. But no one teaches us to be good managers — especially in academia.
It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Managing well is not a personality trait; it is a set of practices and skills that can be learned. Excellent practices, and the reasons they work, have been known for decades; they’ve been recently re-“discovered” by big technology companies, such as the re:Work effort that came out of Google’s Project Oxygen.
And the thing is, the more advanced and challenging of those skills and practices are things that our experiences in research (like building and maintaining collegial, multi-institutional collaborations) have already helped us develop. If we take the time and discipline to learn and practice the basics, we can quickly become good-to-great managers: helping our teams be more effective, supporting more research better, and making us all less stressed in and happier with our jobs.
This talk is aimed at research software managers, or research software developers who think they might be interested in being a team lead or manager some day. Using the re:Work effort as a starting point, we’ll cover what good teams have, and four simple but key practices many research software managers need in their toolbox: embracing your new role; weekly one-on-ones; frequent and specific feedback; and delegation.
If this abstract interests you, these resources may too:
- [re:Work] has excellent training materials
- The Manager-Tools podcast basics series is excellent
- Camille Fournier’s book The Manager’s Path is a new classic
- At a more basic level, I maintain a weekly roundup of links relevant to managing research computing teams.
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