Leading Next vs Now

Leading Next vs Now

As Software Managers, you need to focus on the Now – your team and deliverables. That is where the immediate need is and where your focus should be (i.e., not in the cloud on some esoteric design of some component that may or may not be used by a customer at some point in time because you WANT to work on it).

Living In the Now

If you are taking over an existing team, you are learning all you can about them – who they are, what are they working on, what matters to them, where they need help to grow, what is holding them back, what challenges do they like, etc, etc. You are doing all of this whilst still trying to get software deliveries out on time (remember the adage, changing the transmission while the car is flooring it down the highway).

This is you, this is the magic of any great Software Development Manager is to be making these two things happening in parallel. It’s not enough to arrive at the finish line with a release or product, you need to get the team there, you want them to own it, you want them to feel a part of it, you want them to have grown from it.

If testers are in short supply and your product isn’t getting love, you’re thinking about DevOps and Unit Tests, how can you close the gap, how can you go out the door without taking your team offline to do QA for a few weeks and having nothing to show on the development side?

Living in the Now is a full-time as you focus on the tactics that will make your team a success. Team Leads live in the Now, Day In and Day Out, that is where their focus lies and where they live and breathe.

But you’re a Manager and that means you also need to focus on the Next.

What’s the Next?

The Next is where the scary good Software Development Managers live and breathe because while they are focused on getting the team up and running on the Now, they know what they need to be doing behind the scenes is focusing on the Next at the same time.

The Next is where Software Managers get strategic and think about what comes after the Now.

  • Who on the team is ready to lead? What do I have to do to get them there?
  • Can we handle all these incoming requests? Are we going to need more bodies in a 3 – 4 months?
  • Can our current frameworks scale? Are we on the latest frameworks?
  • Our customers are getting larger, we need to start thinking about performance testing.
  • Do we have the skillset to deliver next generation features?
  • Are we giving Sales and Product Management what they need?
  • What are the threats that are coming our way?
  • What are the growth plans for everyone on my team?

And this is the short list.

The Next is the strategic, it’s the next leap, it’s what takes you from being a Team Lead/Manager to being a Software Development Manager that is managing all the day-to-day tactical while strategically planning for what is coming down the pipe. The Managers that are focused on the Next don’t wait for questions to be asked of them, they present them, they come to the table with information, they lead the agenda (heck they will own it) and they show up with discussions that must begin to take place.

If you are looking to find out more about Leading Software Development teams, check out our workshops and contact us.


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