Technical Leadership Masterclass

What is it?

This Technical Leadership workshop is a course for Technical Leaders from an experienced Technical Leader. This course focuses on technical leadership skills​ through discussion, theory and practical exercises opposed to general leadership skills​ for Technical Leaders. We explore the unique combination of skills and experiences that make a “Technical Leader” successful.

Who’s it for?

A combination between a developer about to lead their first development team, or a Technical Leader for an existing team. Your title might be a Lead Developer, Tech Lead, Engineering Manager, Staff Engineer or Software Architect. This course will be most useful for those with the opportunity to apply their learnings immediately, or to experiences they can relate to.

What will participants learn?

  • The breadth of Technical Leadership roles
  • Why Technical Leaders are necessary
  • What makes Technical Leaders unique from other leadership roles
  • What a Technical Vision is and how to shepherd a team towards a Technical Vision
  • Why Cross Functional Requirements matter
  • How to identify and manage Cross Functional Requirements
  • How to manage path to production tasks and resources
  • How to manage technical risks
  • Why relationships matter and how a Technical Leader builds and maintains good relationships with technical and non-technical people
  • Different influencing styles
  • How to navigate conflict and find a way forward

Participants will leave the course with a clearer understanding of the role, new tools and mental models for handling Technical Leadership responsibilities, experience applying some of these tools with feedback and a network of other Technical Leaders to connect with.

What background should participants have?

Participants will have had some experience working on a variety of teams, possibly tried facilitating several meetings and has had some experience with different parts of the software lifecycle (e.g. story writing, build and release infrastructure, development and test, release and/or iteration planning and production support). Ideally, they have played a leadership role for at least one team, however, even experienced Technical Leaders will learn something from this course.

What past participants said about it?

  • “Information was very relevant and useful” – QCon Tutorial Attendee, San Francisco
  • “The course really helped me develop in my role as a Tech Lead” – J. Thoenes, EU4T Attendee
  • “I found you and your course both engaging and inspiring, and I would recommend any potential – or current – tech lead to grab the opportunity to attend if it becomes available to them.” – G. Crawford, Glasgow Attendee
  • “It was great to attend the session and some of the tips shared are very helpful and I use it during my regular work” – P. Fernandes, London Attendee
  • “The training together gave me a better understanding of the role.” – L. Minudel London Attendee
  • “The positive for me was meeting and connecting with people [in a similar role].” – J Gumbley, Attendee
  • “Today was as awesome as expected!” – C. Cintra, Head of Learning and Development, Brazil

How it will be delivered?

The course runs over two full days using a combination of training techniques that includes presentation, discussion, video, interactive exercises and storytelling. It is assumed all participants will be co-located to maximise the discussion, storytelling and relationship building opportunities and learning experience.

Alternative formats are also possible in consultation including a shorter/less comprehensive 1-day session, or a half-day (over actual days) format​.

Below is an indicative timetable of how the course runs.

Day 1Day 2
Hopes & Concerns
Exploring Technical Leadership
Technical Leadership Models
Learnings from Day 1
Path to Production
Technical Risk Management
13:30Cross Functional Requirements (CFRs)
Technical Vision
Conflict Resolution
Action Plan Exercise
Hopes and Concerns Recap
17:00Wrap UpWrap Up

What do you require to run the course?

The course requires a training room complete with:

  • Projector + Screen or Large TV/Monitor
  • Sound system (e.g. Portable Speaker or Stereo System)
  • (Per Group of 4-5 people) 1 x Flip charts per 5 participants + 1 for the Trainer (with at least 30 pages – 3M sticky flipcharts preferred)
  • (Per Group of 4-5 people) 5 fresh packs of sticky notes (3M brand preferred) + marker pens (e.g. Sharpies) and ballpoint pens (enough per person)
  • Space to hang flip charts around the wall
  • Moveable tables/chairs (ideally Cabaret-style table seating to facilitate group discussion and group work) or as shown below
Cabaret Style Room Layout for 15 people

Anything else I should know?

  • Size – This course is best run with 12-20 people. 10 people recommended minimum due to its interactive and discussion format. 30 people is absolute maximum. Group work, discussion and role play form part of the training, and is less effective when the group is too small or too large.
  • Background – A mix of experiences is best to share lots of different stories (inexperienced + semi-experienced Technical Leaders). Even those who have been a Tech Lead for a long time has been very useful for them because they rarely get to think and reflect on this
  • Project – People from the same/different project/company doesn’t make a really big difference between to the course – both options brings different perspectives.

I’m interested. What next?

Right now, this course is offered to companies who are interested in having this training run on-site. If you are an individual, looking for this content, please raise this with your management and HR/People team to see if you can organise this for your company.

If you’re looking at organising this for your team/organisation, please get in contact with me, tell me more about your situation and what you’re looking for.

Can I join as an individual or small group?

This workshop includes many discussions and exercises that require a minimum number of people. Most courses are organised on-demand for a particular company. However a modified version is sometimes offered as a public workshop where individuals or a small group can join in.