Simple rules for how to leverage its full potential as a team.

Photo by Pankaj Patel on Unsplash

Slack is a fantastic communication tool that has become the defacto standard among modern teams working in the tech industry. It has many, many great features that add efficiency, clarity and convenience. But in order to full unlock its potential and prevent the tool itself from becoming an obstacle, it requires a collective code of conduct for everything to run smoothly.

Why and When

Before we begin talking about how to use Slack, let’s talk about why to use it at all and when.

There are often three main communication options available: email, chat (i.e. Slack) and talking in person. Picking the right…

A standard of conduct for building and shipping great software together.

For a team to function well, it’s important to foster an environment where expectations are clear. As a fellow team member, these expectations are like a contract that sets a basic standard of conduct. And as a manager, it’s essential that you and those who report to you share those expectations as a foundation for giving fair and valuable feedback.

From my own experience as software team lead and team member I’ve come up with a set of such expectations and refined them a bit over time. By sharing and committing to these expectations, it ensures that a healthy and…

Why it’s so difficult, plus a proposal for a loosely time-based story point scale.

Accurately estimating the complexity of a proposed software feature and the time necessary to deliver it to customers is an essential part of managing a successful team. There are many ways that a team can calculate estimates that once successfully adopted allow managers to confidently make commitments and reliably deliver on them to stakeholders. By whatever means these estimates are derived, one important factor is that they are normalized—this is, the estimate given by one team member means the same things as the same estimate given by another team member. By mitigating the different interpretations of complexity between team members…

11 pieces of advice for healthy relationships with your fellow human beings

There’s one important question I make sure to ask all software engineers that I interview in order to get an idea of their team experience:

What advice would you give to someone who is working on a team for the first time?

Working successfully with other human beings can easily bring as much complexity and difficulty as working with technology. So in addition to assessing the technical ability of a candidate, I also want to know get to know his or her experience with professional relationships. An experienced teammate will undoubtedly have learned a thing or two—and oftentimes the hard…

10 steps for ensuring that a team is always delivering high-quality software to customers while learning from each other.

When working on a team of software engineers, code review is one of the most important processes for ensuring quality as well as a vehicle for learning and personal growth. Most engineers get started working alone and are not accustomed to reviewing a large chunk of someone else’s code, nor reviewing their own work, for that matter. Like anything, it’s a skill that takes practice and learning by trial and error. However, not every team has the luxury of a consequence-free environment in which to make mistakes that may otherwise put poor-quality software in hands of paying customers. …

Patrick Lynch

Software Engineer

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